Buyer Beware

There were nearly 2.5 million residential sales in the UK in 2014-15. However, research carried out by Electrical Safety First found that only 37% of buyers had the electrics checked before purchase. One in five believed that electrical checks were included in the recommended home survey report and just under half were unaware that checks were needed at all.

Over a third of home buyers then went on to discover electrical problems that they were not aware of before purchase – something that could easily be avoided by getting a registered electrician to inspect the electrics and issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Sean’s Story

Sean bought his first house last year and was thrilled to get onto the property ladder. However, he explains that his excitement was short-lived:

“A few months after moving in my fusebox started sparking so once I had managed to switch it off I called an electrician over for some advice. I’ve now had to fork out almost £10,000 to cover the cost of the damage and to rewire the entire house. I can’t help thinking that all this could have been avoided if I had just had an Electrical Installation Condition Report done before buying my home”

The average cost to fix an electrical problem identified after moving into a property is £1,704. But as Sean’s story shows, it could be much higher. And as around 70 people die and 350,000 are seriously injured as a result of electricity each year, you could be saving more than just money by getting the electrics checked.

Top Tips for Home Buyers

Martin Roberts, property expert and presenter of Homes Under the Hammer, offers some simple advice to help you through the home buying process:

  1. Make sure you know what you can afford – Speak to the bank first. It’s easy to get carried away looking for that dream property but make sure you can afford it first by getting an ‘Agreement in Principle’ from your bank
  2. Check out the neighbourhood – Make sure you investigate where you are buying thoroughly, you can find out crime levels to school results simply by punching in the postcode but nothing beats visiting the neighbourhood on foot to get a feel for the area
  3. Budget, budget, budget – there are lots of additional costs a first time buyer might not be aware of such as legal fees, stamp duty, surveys and other technical reports such as an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Don’t get tripped up by not being prepared!
  4. Don’t be fooled by staging – Cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, manicured gardens and fresh paint are all ways sellers are able to make their home seem more appealing
  5. The devil is in the detail – When viewing a property, make sure you check for any obvious issues such as damp, mould or cracks in the walls but don’t overlook potential hidden dangers like old or faulty wiring which can be dangerous and expensive to repair. Download Electrical Safety First’s ‘Home electrical safety check’ app to help you identify any visible electrical issues
  6. Don’t save on safety – Once an offer has been made, make sure you have a survey done of the property to uncover any issues you may not have spotted yourself but which could come with significant costs; the survey can often give you ammunition to negotiate the price of a property
  7. Check the electrics – A survey will not inspect the state of the electrics, so make sure you have an Electrical Installation Condition Report done to ensure your new home is safe and you aren’t left holding the bill; a full rewiring can run into thousands of pounds content from the electrical safety register