What to Look for in Your 4 Major Systems: Electrical
Last Week In Things Overlooked When Looking for an Investment Property, I broke down all of the different things you want to look out for when scouting a new investment property BEFORE you actually get to see the inside of the home.
There are 4 major systems in a home that you want to inspect before purchasing new real estate. The 4 systems are electrical, plumbing, roofing/structure, and HVAC/hot water tanks.
If the neighborhood passes my test and I make it inside of the home, one of the first things I do is check out the electrical.
Checking electrical consist of the following:
Checking the service cable coming into the meter box. You want to make sure that it is not worn out or frayed. If the cable is damaged it will have to be replaced. You cannot pass inspection with a damaged service cable.
My next step after that is checking the panel box to ensure it is not at its full capacity. You want to do this because you may have to add additional lines during the rehab process and if you don't have any extra space in your panel box adding an additional line is usually out of the question.
When you're at the panel box you also want to look at the wires going into it. If they're black they are most likely going to be knob and tube, which means they are old and may require attention in the future. If the wires are yellow or white, they are probably 14-2 and 12-2. These wires are more modern and a lot easier to work with.
Now that we've checked the foundation of electrical it's time to check out the little details that can easily be overlooked.
Always check the outlets. You want to see if they are 2-prong or 3-prong outlets. If it's a 3 prong outlet you want to insert your outlet tester to see if it is properly grounded and installed. Sometimes when checking out a house on the market the electricity may be off so doing this test may not be possible.
Another thing you want to look out for is your GFCI outlets which should be installed whenever the outlet is within 6 feet of water. You should find these outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, and near the washer and dryer hook-ups.
Lastly, check for light switches to see if there are center lights in the bedrooms. This is usually an indicator if the electrical is outdated and will need to be upgraded.
Taking these steps will help you create an educated electrical budget. The last thing you want to do is create a budget without doing a proper inspection. The unforeseen usually cost extra money, and when it comes to electrical a rewire for a home can run you up to $10k. Do your due diligence!