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        posted
        We are downsizing and have found a 23 year old home in pristine condition with all of the old woodwork and so much character. We had a professional "Home Inspection" and what was found that the breaker panel is overloaded and there was DIY wiring done to connect to an outside shed that is also not up to code. There is also a hole in the soffit on the front of the house, closed off with a piece of screen and our inspector said he saw a little water damage and we also want that professionally repaired, which was estimated around $300+ to repair and the present homeowners don't want to have this repaired, just want to settle with a dollar amount and we want it fixed now, to make sure there are no other issues with the porch roof and water damage.
        We have said that all of the electrical and panel box needs to be correct by a licensed electrician and re-inspected at the present home owner's cost. They have balked at this and offered a dollar amount of $1000 when the inspector stated it would probably cost around $1500+. We are standing strong and our only option that we will accept is that a licensed Master Electrician complete the work before we purchase the house, as we feel it is a huge safety concern and to make sure there are no other electrical issues with the house.
        Please share your professional advice, as this is not settling well with me. If it was my house, I would surely have it corrected!
        I watch LOTS of DIY shows and learned so much from watching Mike Holmes...Holmes on Homes!
        jmy
         
        Posts: 1 | Registered: Aug 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of CommonwealthSparky
        posted Hide Post
        Well it looks like you are caught between a rock and a hard place. The present homeowners must feel that the price they are willing to work with is fair. {And that you are very interested in this home}. They have lived in the house with those problems and all is fine. They may or may have not known about the electrical issues. Hard to believe, but you never know.
        While getting an home inspection report is a good start on the home buying process, it is only just a start. Most if not all services will contain in the fine print they are not libel in any way for the results of the report they produce. Not worth the paper the report is printed on. But that is my opinion.
        Nor do I trust an inspection service to judge whether an electrical system is up to NEC standards. It is just one trade of many that inspection services have to deal with. And they tend to offer general advice at best. As well as ball park figures in regards to electricians rates. Dig out a phone book and start dialing. Find a talented electrician will to do a walk though of the home. He or she can then quote a price to bring the homes electrical problems out of the Handyman era.
        The present homeowners may come around to understand the problems present and become more flexible with the offers they have presented. But you never know.
        PS, others on board will also provide quality advice on this matter. Good luck.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,


        Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
         
        Posts: 1389 | Location: Central Pennsylvania | Registered: Jun 02, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Its good to have these things covered/resolved in the purchase contract. Have you considered a home warranty and if this would cover it?

        I would imagine that if things were not up to code, the seller needs to bring them up to code before closing.

        I bet the homeowner knew it wasn't up to code...so what else is hidden and waiting to be discovered???
         
        Posts: 8 | Registered: Jul 08, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        But what is 'up to code'? It might be up to code to the standard when the work was done -- just not up to todays standard of code. And so the grandfather clause kicks in. A homeowner is not responsible to constantly be changing their home to respond to new code regulations.
         
        Posts: 868 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        that depends on the local jurisdiction. some require that before a certificate of occupancy can be issued, the house have no significant defects. FHA financing goes so far now as to require no flaking paint or cracked windows.

        as far as "what is code now..." as I understand it, existing work is grandfathered in place if the structure "works." as soon as you touch it, all that section has to meet current code. code compliance is generally backed up by permit and inspection. if you have a 60 amp 120 volt service, knob and tube wiring, and loose outlets that won't hold a plug, bad bad news, my friend. you are in for a large bill and a big mess of patching. that is a deficient house that is going to have to be redone before a certificate is transferred.

        as I wrote, depends on local jurisdiction, some places are as lax as a hillbilly shack in a holler. other places demand EMT throughout.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5475 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        I also think it’s worthwhile to have a qualified electrician(s) estimate the safety factor and the cost. He/she should have more detailed insight into the issue than the home inspector (no slight intended, just that the electrician specializes on this aspect).

        Are the amounts in question and as proposed by the seller in counteroffers, or just in the discussion stage?

        If the electrician's estimate supports your concerns and the inspector’s estimated cost, you can either have your realtor present it to the seller, or make a counteroffer reducing the price in the amount of the electrical estimate. That keeps the issue subject to time constraints, so it can't be dragged out by the seller.

        Has the house been on the market long? Perhaps the sellers think they can do better and are unwilling to be flexible. Or maybe there are other issues related to the water damage and electrical system and they don’t want those discovered.

        Have the sellers made any disclosures of “known defects”?

        As to the code issues, (1) determine if the community in which the house is located will require the electrical to meet current code to be sold, and if so, that’s your justification for requiring the seller to fix it. (2) If not, ask the community’s electrical inspector about the safety issue. This can buttress your own intents about fixing the electrical issues now. Backing up your position with documentation might make the sellers realize the need to rethink their strategy.

        I wouldn’t back down on the soffit hole either though, as the water damage could be more extensive than was observable just from the home inspection.

        Another option is if the seller would be willing to escrow the highest amount of estimated repairs for the water damage and the electrical, receiving only any estimated overage after you’ve closed on the house and had the repairs done by your choice of contractors. This leaves open, however, the possibility that the repairs will cost more than estimated. And it also sounds as if the seller isn't that flexible.

        I think you have two potential deal-killer issues here. Better to find out now if there are more serious problems and resolve them than purchase the dream home which could have some nightmarish implications. The fact that the sellers are balking makes me wonder if there are in fact more issues, unless you live in an area where the housing market is very strong and the sellers think they can do better. Do you know if yours is the first offer?

        In terms of sale price, I don’t think you’re talking about a lot of money ($500 for the electrical estimate) so it may be that there are more issues that the sellers don’t want to address.

        Good luck.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
         
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        My best advice would be to repeat word for word what ComonwealthSparky said. But to repeat the high points:

        1. Most home inspectors don't know very much. They are working from a checklist that will point them to an area that doesn't conform. Weather it is a problem or not needs to be determined by a professional.

        2. You are also into a negotiating situation. You are not buying a new house, you are buying an old house. If the current owners have priced it based on it's condition, then it's doubtful that they will move on the price just so they can give you credit for something they have already allowed for in the original pricing. Note that this logic only applies to things that are not a safety issue. It is the responsibility for the current owner to repair any safety concerns (like your overloaded panel) OR they are responsible for paying whatever negotiated price you and they come up with for those repairs. Here too - you cannot go on the words of the home inspector, you need to have an electrician come in and make an assessment and give you an estimate if any work is needed.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10088 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        you should also check the realtor's comps carefully to be sure they are actually underpricing the market due to the deficiencies. look carefully at that inspector's report, there could be more to all the "iffy" checkboxes in the middle than he's qualified to research.

        you've got two red flags already on the basis of a home inspector. can you get a walkthrough with a contractor friend as well to get a possibly more informed opinion, and perhaps estimates. buy them and the sig other a nice dinner for their trouble.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5475 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        swschrad -- here in California, we have no Certificates of Occupancy. Aren't those used only when the house is new, and not on a resale case, or is it used for all permits???? Or all resales???
         
        Posts: 868 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Around here you get a CO for any project that requires a permit. On remodels though, it's more of a token document to show that as far as the code department is concerned, the project is completed. For example, we recently completed a room addition and had a final inspection. Our part is good to go but our homeowner is adding a deck that is accessed via a door in the new addition - so no CO will be issued until the deck passes it's final inspection. However, the inspector had no problem with the new addition being used.

        I don't think there is any kind of CO for a resale, at least, not around here.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10088 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of CommonwealthSparky
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by Re-mdlr:
        swschrad -- here in California, we have no Certificates of Occupancy. Aren't those used only when the house is new, and not on a resale case, or is it used for all permits???? Or all resales???

        Basically the same definition here in the commonwealth as well. A certificate is issued by an inspector after a walk through of a NEW structure. Odd but true fact is that you can actually live in a newly constructed home without one here as well. The problem that arises is buying homeowners insurance without that piece of paper. Coverage is next to impossible to acquire, from what I have been told.


        Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
         
        Posts: 1389 | Location: Central Pennsylvania | Registered: Jun 02, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        around here, you buy a house, you don't see any Certificate of Occupation. down the road in Minneapolis, and possibly in St. Paul, you should be getting a copy. the biggest use of the certificate is to deny it to somebody if, for whatever reason, the inspectors come around and soil themselves... they they deny it, and you have to leave the house. as I said, varies by jurisdiction, but they all have it on the books.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5475 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I notice it will be expensive cause like you said it is old,i am not electrician by the way but i know a little bit about it.In Finland where i live i also experience having a overload stuff which i decided to divide it and now i am saving a sähkönmyynti or electricity and i feel safe about it however i spend lot of money because of it.
         
        Posts: 8 | Location: Philippines | Registered: Sep 09, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by andrewoneal:
        I notice it will be expensive cause like you said it is old,i am not electrician by the way but i know a little bit about it.In Finland where i live i also experience having a overload stuff which i decided to divide it and now i am saving a sähkönmyynti or electricity and i feel safe about it however i spend lot of money because of it.


        And once again the geographically challenged spammer offers his words of wisdom, including a link to what seems to be translated as electrical sales.

        He's been reported as a spammer and hopefully will disappear quickly so he can spend time determining where he really is, whether it's in the Asian or European realm.

        And he's the second spammer to suffer from this confusion. Maybe something in the winds blowing between the continents?

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
         
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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