Construction isn’t cheap

Have you ever hired a contractor for something you thought was simple, and it turned out to be much more of a money pit than you originally thought? Yeah, I thought so. Even if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, it’s not hard to imagine the cost once you factor in supplies, and labor.

The high (but many times appropriate) pricing of contractors, is often a big incentive for sellers to do projects on their home that probably should have been done by a professional.

The average homebuyer wouldn’t be able to tell if (say) a sub panel that was installed, was installed by the owner, and not an electrician. Home inspectors, though they can’t always determine past work “qualifications,” can often spot shoddy work in a heart beat. In this case, why does it matter? It seems to be working, right? Sure, it may be working, but here are a few reasons to be concerned:

  1. Electrical wiring is complicated, and there are books of codes put in place for safety reasons. Electricians have spent hours studying these codes and how electricity works. Homeowners typically have not, and though they may have wired something to the point that it “works,” it can often be a far cry from safe.
  2. Though in many jurisdictions it’s legal to work on your own home’s electrical, if you ever in the future had to pull a permit for certain types of renovations (many times having little to do with electrical), you may find yourself having to bring the wiring of the house up to code in order to legally do the addition or renovation. As we all know, electricians aren’t cheap, and this can add thousands of dollars in additional costs.
  3. As a buyer, if the seller was confident enough to do his own electrical, there’s a fair chance that there is more work not done by a professional in the home. This isn’t to say that a homeowner isn’t capable of doing his or her own repairs, it’s just something to be cautious or aware of if you notice that the owner is a DIYer.

Now, I know all of this makes me sound like a negative Nancy, but really, being able to find this kind of work that can or should be done can save you thousands when negotiated with the seller (far surpassing the cost of the inspection fee).

Many times, we find that all the major systems such as the Furnace, A/C, or roof are “nearing the end of their life expectancy,” but are technically still doing their job well. This can be a huge negotiation factor with the seller, whether they decide to provide a new furnace (thousands of dollars), or drop the price of the home (thousands of dollars).

Construction costs can be offset. Whether that is through the seller, doing it yourself (cautiously), or tax credits offered by different states for upgrading to more energy efficient systems (yes, they do this!).


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