Buying a house is a large undertaking, regardless of your reasons for doing so. Whether it be a new home to live in or an investment, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account to ensure the property is a sound purchase.
Many of these are commonly known such as local searches and surveys of the structure and building works. However, one which can be overlooked is the status of the electrical installations. Some building surveys will recommend a full review of the electrics as well as necessary remedial and maintenance works. Even if your survey does not recommend it, at Hexo Services, we believe it is critical in the decision-making process when buying a house, so we always advise an electric test for home buyers. From a safety point of view an electrical survey should always be an essential part of the house purchase and selling process.
How can the electrics affect the value of the property?
The state of the property will of course have a large bearing on the value of the property and depending on the state, can even put some house buyers off. For example, if there is a great deal of work to do before the property can become habitable, it will deter those who are unable or unwilling to complete it as a project. What all house buyers want at the very least is a true picture of the status of the home in order that they can make an informed decision. For example, if the house needs a full rewire or other major electrical works, this should be disclosed in the buying process so that it can be factored into the agreed selling price. A re-wiring job can cost new owners thousands and that might need to be taken off the asking price.
What will your electrical survey reveal?
An electrical survey such as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (or EICR), will reveal to you the true state of all the electrical systems, the fuse board, wiring, sockets, everything connected to the mains supply. You’ll find out what is safe, what is not, where any weak points are, if there is any wear and tear that needs addressing, and any suggested maintenance or remedial work. All notifiable works will be disclosed as part of a comprehensive report.
A full EICR will give you a holistic view of the health of the electrics and will inform you as to what problems may occur in the near to distant future. Any issues with compliance regarding the latest regulations and government guidelines will also be revealed, letting you know what needs to happen for the electrics to be made good in compliance with those rules.
The following questions will also be answered, which will help to paint an overall picture for potential residents or landlords of the property:
- Are fittings fire-rated where they need to be?
- Are fittings correctly specified for bathrooms and shower rooms?
- Is re-wiring needed? A new fuse box or consumer unit? Is earthing and RCD protection in place?
- Is there adequate heat and smoke detection already in place?
If you are planning extensive works to the house after purchase, the investigation you have done will be able to give you a clear indication as to whether the electrics will support it. For example, if you are planning a loft conversion or an extension, you will need to know if the current set up supports this. We can tell you where there might be additional costs to factor in to improve the electrics to ensure they will cope with planned expansion.
As the seller of the house, you could either have the work completed before exchanging, or pass the information on to the prospective buyer. If you are the buyer and you have the EICR conducted, you will get a quotation for how much the work will cost and then use that as part of your price negotiations.
What are the potential problems if you don’t review the electrics before a purchase or sale?
It is of course entirely at the buyer’s discretion whether they require a review of the electrical installations within the property they are buying. Circumstances such as buying a house at auction might negate such a requirement, or for example if the house were a new build. However, in most cases it is strongly advised for there to be an assessment made. There are different levels of investigation which can be offered. Some of which might be recommended by your building surveyor. Failing to follow up on these could, in fact, result in the solicitor not allowing the sale as there could be huge implications if issues were found at a later stage. If the house is in a significant state of disrepair which could if course include the electrics, the mortgage lender might not provide their loan.
An EICR or other type of electrical inspection pre-sale or pre-purchase is just as important as a gas check and in safety terms far more important than an EPC (Insulation report). A huge proportion of house fires are caused by issues with the electrics and as such, there are health and safety risks for the people who might be resident and a financial risk for the building itself. As a result of this, insurance might be difficult to secure or might be invalidated if a poor state of electrics is revealed after a house fire.
Every key area of the house should be reviewed before a sale or a purchase so that all goes through in good faith without expensive work required afterwards.
Overlooking the electrics during a house sale or purchase can be a grave mistake and both parties should take responsibility to ensure these are thoroughly assessed before any price is agreed. The state of the electrics could result in danger or expense which you do not want to incur if you are the buyer. Equally as a seller, you have a responsibility to sell the house in a good, safe condition.
Two levels of service
At Hexo we offer two different services for home buyers and sellers.
This is a standard Electrical Installation Condition Report which will highlight any faults and their severity.
We will also give a quotation for any remedial works required.
Enhanced Survey Report:
This includes a standard EICR, but on top of that a 100% check of all sockets, switches and other fittings. Plus a detailed report on the following:
- Evaluation of the capacity for extension
- Recommendations on smoke and heat detection
- Summary of the findings on wiring condition
- Findings on sockets/fittings
- Fire Safety issues
- Detailed quotation for the remedials
What will it cost you to get the electrics in the home straight -and safe- for you and your family?
Whichever side of the selling / buying process you are on, Hexo Services are able to assist with a comprehensive review of the property’s electrics. We can advise you of how in-depth it needs to be, conduct the report and complete any necessary repairs or improvement works to give you complete peace of mind. Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.