Electrical Outlets

While shopping for a home, you may see a house that still has two-pronged electrical outlets instead of modern three-pronged grounded outlets. And in case you love this house, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

These days it’s becoming less common to find electrical equipment with only two-prong cables, since the ground wire acts as a failsafe in case of shortage. The “convenient“ solution is to buy 3-into-2 prong adapters for electronics and power strips. But because the home’s wiring doesn’t have a ground wire, using these adapters do nothing to prevent electric shock or damage to electronics.

You could request the home be rewired before purchase, but it is very important to have a professional verify the work. We’ve seen instances of sellers simply replacing old two prong outlets for three prong but leaving the house’s wiring completely unchanged. A cosmetic change like this does nothing to prevent injury from an electrical shortage.

If you have any reason to suspect a prospective home may have faulty or deceptive wiring, seek out a professional inspection to be absolutely certain.

The Flipped House

Buying houses, fixing them up a bit and re-selling them for profit has become pretty popular in the last decade. From amateurs to pros, a lot of people are renovating houses with the sole intention of flipping them.

Here’s the issue, though, not everyone that’s flipping houses has the knowledge or the skill to be doing major construction work. But how do you pick out the good work from the rushed and sloppy?

Think about what would easily increase the value of the home: new flooring, molding or doors, kitchen & bathroom fixtures, wall & floor tile, some areas of drywall or new coats of paint.

Check these areas for signs of low quality work. Hardwood with excessive gaps, uneven floor tile, leaky fixtures. These are clear indicators of sloppy work; and if these elements were rushed, what would a professional inspector find about the complex building systems like the HVAC system, the plumbing or electrical wiring?

Be Wary of Fresh Paint

Sadly, sometimes you just can’t trust people; so letting your guard down when buying a home is a sure way to get stuck with a lemon with a 30 year mortgage.

That’s not to say everyone selling a house is a crook, just that it’s important to be skeptical when viewing a home. If every room has an air freshener and all the walls have been freshly painted, there might be cause to worry.

We’ve seen instances of sellers painting sections of a wall to cover mold growth, or loading the home with fragrances to mask a moldy smell. Don’t leave all the investigative work to a home inspector, there are lots of small clues that reveal big problems if you just keep your eyes peeled.

Never be afraid to ask questions or dig for the truth! You’re the one who is going to be making the purchase, never be ashamed for trying to be informed about a home.
Asking questions and being cautious can save you a lot of time, money and headache.

This series is not intended to replace the need for a professional inspection, just providing general guidance for home buyers.