Adding the cost of an electrical inspection on top of all of the other costs of buying a home can feel intimidating. However, having every possible inspection run can end up saving you money. Work with an experienced local agent to find out how you could offset the costs of repair.
Whether it’s due to age or neglect, more than half of U.S. homes are in need of updates and one of the first places to check is in the electrical system. Overloading an electrical system can not only be frustrating, leading to failure, but it can be dangerous and lead to fires. Any experienced local realtor would recommend getting a thorough inspection of every major system but it’s reasonable for buyers to take pause when it comes to costs.
If you’re unclear of the purpose of an electrical inspection, you’re going to get hung up on cost. Here’s everything that buyers need to know about electrical inspections and their cost.
A Home Inspection vs. an Electrical Inspection
Whether you’re having your home inspected in advance of putting it on the market, getting a routine check, or inspection before you buy, a general home inspection is always a good idea. The job of the home inspector is to look at the structural elements and the exterior to make sure the building is sound and secure. They also look at electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other elements of your home, but not in very deep detail.
The average home inspector is just going to look at your grounding, electrical panels, and your circuit breakers. They might check some appliances and light fixtures, but it’s unlikely they’re going to go much deeper than this.
When you get an electrical inspection, you get a more thorough and focused inspection on the system in your home. While the home inspector might just take a quick look at your panels, an electrical inspection is going to dive deeper. Walk through the inspection with your realtor so that you have a strong idea of what the issues are.
What an Electrical System Inspection Involves
Electrical inspectors are certified with the requirements that they examine several specific elements of your home’s electrical system. When they look at a service panel or fuse box, they’re going to check that you’re using the right gauge wires for your breaker. If your main breaker can’t handle the amperage of your home, they’ll recommend that you have it replaced.
They’ll go to an electrical outlet in every section of your home to ensure that they’re working properly. With a handheld device, they’ll check the voltage and that the ground wire is properly connected.
Electrical inspectors will check any circuits that might be causing an electrical arc. They’ll look for circuit interrupters that will keep you from producing an overcurrent.
They’ll even check your wiring to ensure that it’s consistent through the home. Any loose or exposed wire will need to be repaired or replaced.
If you’ve upgraded your circuit to accommodate an electric dryer, AC unit, or stove, they’ll check that 240-volt circuit as well as any other changes or upgrades you’ve made.
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Understanding the Pricing
When you call for an inspection, most electrical inspectors are going to quote you a flat rate. Rather than charging per hour, the average inspector can predict the work that is going to be required by the size of your home.
The building size is going to come into play when figuring out how much that flat rate is. The larger a building is the more outlets, switches, and circuits it will have. Going from one to the next will take more time if the electrical home inspection is performed thoroughly.
Inspectors tend to work within a defined service range. In rural or remote areas, it can be hard to get in touch with an inspector so there could be a travel fee tacked on. It’s standard to charge $1 per mile outside of the travel area on top of the flat rate.
What Will It Cost to Repair?
As a home buyer, it’s reasonable to worry about the costs that follow an inspection. If your inspector finds problems with your home, you might have to invest money before it’s safe to live in.
If you’ve discovered problems with the electrical system before finalizing the purchase, it’s possible for you to be able to get some seller credits to supplement the cost of repairs. If you’re working with an experienced, local realtor, you can get them to negotiate on your behalf.
Electrical problems pose a risk to health and safety, so it’s important to fix any problems you come across. Every wire that gets replaced, any time the polarity on an outlet needs to get fixed, or if you need to have a breaker replaced, it’s going to cost you. However, knowing that issues need to be dealt with and leaving them in disrepair means that you won’t be covered by insurance, so it’s better to have issues dealt with now.
An Electrical Inspection is Worth the Cost
While an electrical inspection could lead to high costs in repairs and upgrades, that doesn’t have to come out of your pocket as a home buyer. If inspections are done with the supervision of an experienced local agent in your corner, they can help to negotiate seller credits to cover the costs.
Working with a Clever Partner Agent gives you the chance to work with a top-rated agent from right in your backyard who has the negotiation skills to get the job done. Plus, in qualifying states, our Partner Agents offer a Home Buyer Rebate that can help offset the costs of an electrical inspection.