Buying a New Home: What to Ask About the Electrical System

Purchasing a new home is exciting. However, with so much to consider, it can also be an overwhelming process. Not only do you have to compete with other home buyers, but you also want to ensure you know what you’re getting into when you put your offer in. In particular, we recommend that homebuyers spend some time asking questions about the electrical systems of the homes they are considering.

Electrical problems and upgrades can be costly. That said, electrical issues don’t always disqualify a home in a buyer’s eyes. For example, if you are purchasing a property that you plan to remodel or one that has already been partially renovated, a little extra work may not be a problem for you. Still, it is always best to go into a home purchase with a clear understanding of what you are getting.

Keep reading to learn what you should know about the electrical systems in different types of homes.

New Construction vs. a Renovated Home

Many people dream of owning a new construction home. New builds are usually associated with quality materials, modern conveniences, and state-of-the-art electrical systems. A well-done new construction home should be all these things, and you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Yet, with rising materials costs and supply chain issues, some builders have had to adapt and use different products and materials than you may expect. Therefore, we recommend you don’t assume that you know what is going on with a new construction home’s electrical system and ask a few questions.

Things to ask about the electrical system in a new construction home:

  • Where is the service panel?
  • How are the circuits organized throughout the home
  • Do all garages, patios, and alternative dwelling units have power?
  • Are areas without power set up to receive power in the future?
  • Were all aspects of the electrical system completed?
  • Are there any outstanding electrical issues or projects that require attention?
  • Are all lighting fixtures, outlets, and switches connected to power?

As with new construction projects, renovated homes may also suffer from recent supply chain issues and rising inflation. Consequently, it is not uncommon to find developer homes or remodeled homes appearing on the market before the planned work is completed. Property owners may find it more economical to put their renovation project on the market as is, even if it’s not 100% complete.

Renovated homes may also have a range of quality, safety, and code issues regarding the work completed over the years. For example, suppose electrical work was completed by a homeowner or other individual who is not a licensed electrical contractor. In that case, the work may not be up to code, faulty, or associated with other issues.

Things to ask about the electrical system in a renovated home:

  • What electrical work has been done?
  • Who performed the electrical work?
  • Were all necessary permits acquired?
  • Is the electrical system up to code?
  • Has the service panel ever been upgraded?

Fixer-Uppers & Their Electrical Systems

We all love a good project. But when it comes to a fixer-upper, you want to ensure you aren’t buying a money pit. In particular, electrical issues can be incredibly costly. For example, an older home may have an unsafe, out-of-date system that requires you to rewire the entire house. This can cost you thousands.

Unfortunately, many homebuyers focus on the cosmetics of the property they are looking at. You may see a fixer-upper sold at a great price, but you should ask some questions before jumping in.

Things to consider before buying a fixer-upper:

  • When was the house constructed?
  • When was the electrical system last upgraded?
  • What type of wiring does the house have?
  • What is the house’s renovation history?
  • Are there any known problems with the home’s electrical system?

We also recommend that if you purchase a fixer-upper, you schedule an inspection with an experienced, licensed contractor, like Lightning Bug Electric, during the inspection period. The last thing you want is to purchase a home and be surprised by major electrical issues.

Are you buying a new home and need to schedule an electrical inspection? Call the licensed electrical contractors at Lightning Bug Electric to schedule an appointment. Our team is here to help you, no matter what type of house you are buying.