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Old 11-16-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


Inspector said: A short electrical extension cord is connected to the attic roof venting fan with open wire nuts, this extension cord is connected to another extension cord laying in the attic insulation, which is not connected to an open electrical outlet with no vocer installed and laying in the attic insultaion. This wiring is installed as permanent wiring system for the attic roof venting fan assembly!

Wow! So would this be a quick, easy, not too expensive fix for an electrician? Also the basement was refinished without pulling a city permit and it needs more outlets in places and some of the current outlets have "reverse polarity". And the main electrical service entrance mast on the outside of the house needs to be properly fastened.

I'm not asking for quotes I am just checking if this is an expensive fix or inexpensive??? I have no idea what to expect?


Last edited by Homebuyer12; 11-16-2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:36 PM   #2
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


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Originally Posted by Homebuyer12
Inspector said: A short electrical extension cord is connected to the attic roof venting fan with open wire nuts, this extension cord is connected to another extension cord laying in the attic insulation, which is not connected to an open electrical outlet with no vocer installed and laying in the attic insultaion. This wiring is installed as permanent wiring system for the attic roof venting fan assembly!

Wow! So would this be a quick, easy, not too expensive fix for an electrician? Also the basement was refinished without pulling a city permit and it needs more outlets in places and some of the current outlets have "reverse polarity". And the main electrical service entrance mast on the outside of the house needs to be properly fastened.

So what price range would fixing all the electrical outlets and the attic problem and the mast problem be running a person?
Call city hall.

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Old 11-16-2010, 07:01 PM   #3
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


If you are the buyer, it isn't your problem. The seller is the one responsible to fix this. The seller and agent established a market value to list this property and the market value is based on things being correct.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


I would say those issues are minor, I would deftinely get the attic problem fixed as quick as possible. Depeninding on where power comes from it should not be to big of a fix.

The reverse polarity is a quick fix as well, turn the breaker off pull the plug out and make sure the white wire is on the silver screw and the black is on the brass screw.

I'm not sure what to say about the lack of permit, alot of basements are done without permits. If your worried, get an electrician to look through things to make sure it is safe. I wouldn't worry about the lack of plugs unless you have to start running extension cords to plug your stuff in.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:06 PM   #5
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


This would be a fairly easy fix depending on how accessible the attic is. Some attics can be very hard to work in. Just need to run new approved wire to the fan from a known good electrical source such as a junction box.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


If I call city hall will they come take a look and request that it be fixed?
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:13 PM   #7
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


DIY Chatroom is not a place to seek financial information regarding contractors' charges to do work. It is a how-to site. Seek estimates from local electricians to get the cost info.

Reversed polarity on the receptacles in the unpermitted basement finish would really raise a red flag with me if I were the buyer. Reversing the polarity of the receptacles means that someone has little or no understanding of what they were doing when they wired it or changed the devices out, and there's no way to say how bad they screwed up the stuff behind the walls. I'd make certain that you have your electrician look it over before signing the dotted line.

Running a circuit to the attic fan shouldn't be too much of a challenge for a competent electrician. The extension cords setup isn't a good thing.

Adding additional receptacles in the basement is a code-related issue, but may not necessarily be something that has to happen to make or break the sale.

Personally I'd be really hesitant to buy a property where the previous owner didn't care to have their work checked by professionals and things were done without permits. In my experience there is often a reason they don't want inspections.
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:20 PM   #8
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


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Also the basement was refinished without pulling a city permit
If you buy the house without this being corrected, you buy the problem as well. That means the building department can require you to purchase a permit and fine you whatever they fine people that build without permits. It also means they can require you to raze the illegal improvements.

If they allow it to remain, they can require you to do things like open up walls so they can inspect what should have been inspected.

Of course, this is with the idea that the improvements can be legally installed. There are rules to building in a basement and if you have not or cannot comply with those requirements, they can refuse to allow the improvements.


Get the seller to make the corrections before you buy. I would make it a contingency of your offer.
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:45 PM   #9
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So could I call the city and let them know that I am interested in this house but I see on the assessment/county beacon page that this house has not reported their work and ask them what I need to do prior to purchasing the house to get this problem fixed?
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:07 PM   #10
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


I would definitely find out
When I bought my last house I went in & talked to the building inspector about the house 1st
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:07 PM   #11
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


or you can simply tell the seller they must provide proof of permits and sign offs of any work done during their tenure as owners.

I tend to try to not get a seller in hot water with the government folks, especially if you may not actually buy the house. As a buyer, you can demand that all work be verified it is legal as part of your offer though.

If you have a real estate agent, they should know how to do this without getting the seller in trouble unnecessarily.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:15 AM   #12
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


Probably the best choice is to walk away from this house.

Other alternatives: Make an offer subject to the seller's proving that everything passes inspection. Yes this can get the seller in trouble because he has to get the inspector in.

Make an offer including being "subject to a thorough inspection by my legal representative* ". After the house fails your private inspection with/without private inspectors you hire, and you got some estimates, revise your offer to be substantially lower because you took into account a reasonable worst case of getting it fixed yourself with someone else besides yourself doing the labor (use the higher estimate).

You may and should set the dates in the contract allowing you to dilly dally on starting the financing until the final price and who will do the electrical work is agreed upon. This is important if you have to pay an application fee or lock fee.

If the seller agrees to do the work there should be a provision in the finalized purchase and sales agreement+ that if the work is not completed to pass inspection, then closing will occur punctually and part of the purchase price will be withheld until the work is completed.

Realtors must submit all offers. If you wish to you can insist that the broker give you some feedback even if the seller ignores the offer altogether.

Be aware that the broker (or all brokers if more than one) represent(s) the seller unless you specifically signed a buyers broker agreement involving your paying part of the commission. However any broker must get answers to all of your questions or you should walk away from that house.

Once you have decided you will buy the house if the combined price and repairs you must do yourself is favorable, you don't have to worry about getting the seller in hot water.

*Do not name or describe this person. You specifically want the privilege of letting DH or DW be that person and that you can back out of the deal on his/her word.

+ In some states the offer itself is the purchase and sales agreemtn; in other states the P&SA is a separate document signed a little later.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-17-2010 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:35 AM   #13
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Call city hall.
And this will help, HOW?
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:42 AM   #14
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


I inspect in several communities with many 100+ year old homes, many in the 1M+ price range, and 80% or more of them show evidence of un-permitted work, let alone defects such as open neutrals or reversed polarity at receptacle outlets. Some buyers are not going to be satisfied with any but the other 20%, and they are certainly entitled to set that standard. The rest are going to by buying properties with evidence of un-permitted work or (for example) electrical defects. IMO, what they need to understand ia: 1) The health and safety implications of what they are buying. 2) The financial implications of what they are buying. 3) The likelihood that the known defects they are buying suggest the possibility of additional unknown defects.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:41 PM   #15
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Electrical Issues with home inspection


The attic should be an easy fix but the basement concerns me, because if permits were not pulled there could be issues with other systems there (e.g., plumbing, HVAC) or building code violations, e.g., lack of egress windows. May or may not kill a deal, I would do more investigating as others on this forum suggest. Robert

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