Whether you know your house has electrical issues, suspect it does, or had the shock of finding out it does during your buyer’s house inspection, the prospect of selling a home with electrical issues is a daunting one.
Electrical issues are one of the leading causes of house fires in the U.S. – in fact, there are an average of 44,880 electrically-caused house fires each year. Understandably, this is a concern for any homeowner and any potential buyer, and it will stop the majority of house sales in their tracks.
It’s not just an issue of cost, either – insurance companies will usually refuse to cover a home with faulty or old wiring until it’s been fixed. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as you can sell a home with electrical issues, you just need to understand what it takes and what it’s going to cost you.
How to Sell a House with Electrical Issues
1) Get a home inspection (or electrical system inspection)
Your first step if you suspect you have electrical issues or know you have, is to get an assessment of the issue to find out what’s wrong and what needs to be done to put things right. While finding out that your home isn’t in as good condition as you hoped is the last thing anyone wants, you’ll be better off knowing the full extent of the damage than trying to sell it with a problem you aren’t sure about.
In some cases, the home inspection will reveal that it’s a minor issue you can put right with only a little investment, saving you from selling your home for less than it’s worth.
If you find out that your home needs extensive work, such as complete rewiring, you can go into the sale with the information any potential buyer will want to know, and you won’t have to worry that a buyer is getting more or less than they bargained for (which can give you legal trouble later, if you’re not upfront about potential issues).
If it’s already had an inspection, make sure you have a copy of it.
2) Make minor repairs, if possible
There’s no point putting a bandaid on a gaping wound, so this advice only goes if your home needs minor electrical repairs and not complete rewiring. For example, if one of the biggest issues with your home is a hazardous service panel, that’s a relatively easy and inexpensive fix. An electrician can replace your service panel (also called a breaker panel) for between $1,300 and $3,000, which isn’t a huge amount from the perspective of most house sales. If you’ve already got a potential buyer, you may be able to split the cost with them. The same goes for other minor repairs that will only set you back a few thousand dollars.
This also goes for upgrades your house may need to be up to modern standards, such as circuit breakers and ground fault circuit interrupters in the outlets.
If you know your home needs rewiring, don’t invest in a new service box in the hopes it will improve the chances of your home selling – you’ll almost certainly be wasting your money.
3) Consider rewiring
Rewiring your home prior to sale won’t be for everyone, but it’s worth considering. If your home is in move-in condition everywhere else, and you have the cash, a complete rewire will cost about $4,000 per 1,500sqft, plus up to $900 in permits to do the work, depending on your area. Most rewiring jobs take 3-10 days to complete, so you’ll need to factor in that time plus how long it takes to get an electrician on-site to do the work.
That means that for the average home, a complete rewire can come in at less than $10,000. For homes in good condition, the difference between what your house could sell for with new wiring versus what it would sell for without it will almost certainly be more than $10,000, so do your math, consider what resources you have available to you (time and money), and then decide whether to do the work or move on and sell your home as-is. If you’re not sure about the value of your home with and without the work, reach out to a trusted local realtor or get an independent valuation.
What if I can’t afford a home inspection or the necessary repairs?
Home inspections are likely more inexpensive than you think – they cost an average of $337, but can be as little as $150. That said, if it’s truly out of your budget, or you need to sell your home in as-is condition, consider selling your home to a cash home buying company.
Cash home buying companies (like us!) buy homes in as-is condition, which means you don’t need to worry about the condition it’s in. We regularly buy homes from family members who have discovered a recently deceased loved one had a hoarding problem, and deal with the mess they left behind. We also buy homes in great condition from motivated buyers that need to move as soon as possible – in both situations, we buy the home as we see it.
We make it fast and easy to sell your home – just call, text, or message us about your home, we’ll take a quick look around the property (no in-depth inspection needed), and then give you our best no-obligation cash offer.
If you accept, we’ll get the ball rolling and the sale can be complete in under two weeks! Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health is to skip the stress of a traditional sale and move on with your life as soon as possible. If you’d like to find out more or to contact us about selling your Massachusetts home, click here.