Buying a home is an exciting and overwhelming experience, especially if it’s your first time. However, before buying a home, you must plan how to pay the mortgage as you save up for the deposit. As such, you must ensure that your hard work does not go down the drain by planning and carrying out all the inspections. Electrical inspection should be at the top of your checklist as it ensures your family is safe and exempts you from paying hefty repair bills later. We’ve taken up the painstaking effort of researching by talking with electrical inspectors and homeowners and compiled a checklist for buying the house of your dreams.

What is an Electrical Inspection?

A professional electrical inspector conducts an electrical inspection. It’s a comprehensive examination and evaluation of a property’s electrical system, including checking components such as wiring, outlets, switches, circuit breakers, lighting fixtures, and more. An electrical inspection aims to ensure that everything is up-to-date and functional.

Why Should You Conduct an Electrical Inspection Before Buying a Home?

You should never skip an electrical inspection when purchasing a new home for several reasons.


Faulty wiring or outdated systems can be hazardous and potentially lead to electric shocks or fires. Conducting the checks helps the buyer request repairs for the obsolete wiring systems, switches, outlets, and the lighting system.


An inspection can uncover any issues, allowing you to negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller. It also helps you avoid repair bills shortly after your home purchase.

Peace of mind

Knowing that your new home’s electrical system is in good condition gives you peace of mind, knowing that your family is safe.

Meet insurance requirements

It’s vital to insure your home against risks, with fire and nature the most destructive. So, ensuring that your electrical system is up-to-date and functional will ensure that your insurance premium will not be exaggerated.

Electrical Inspection Checklist for Home Buyers

A licensed electrician or a certified electrical inspector can conduct an electrical inspection. You can find a seasoned professional anywhere, whether you are looking for an electrician in Columbia, SC, or in Chicago, IL.Below are some checklist items they must check off before writing their report.

Electrical Meter

This should be their first stop. A majority of electric meters are found outside.  The electrical inspector must closely examine the meter to ensure that the seal is not broken, no wear & tear, no signs of rust, and no loose connection.

Electric Panel and Circuit Breakers

The electrician should ensure that the electric panel is not outdated and that there are no signs of tampering or degradation. The next step is to test the amperage, AFCI, and circuit breakers and tighten all the loose connections.

The electrician must also ensure that the circuit breakers are adequately supplied, especially in older homes. This leads to electricity short-circuits and flickering lights. Therefore, a house with many rooms and appliances should have several circuit breakers to avoid overloading. And they must be appropriately labeled.

Age of the Electrical System

Find out when the property’s electrical system was last updated. Most older homes have outdated systems that do not meet safety standards and might require costly upgrades.

Switches and Outlets

The electrician should walk through the house while testing all the switches and outlets. They mainly look for discoloration, looseness, ungrounded circuits, and reversed polarity.

They should pay more attention to the sockets in the wet areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor switches, and ensure they are outfitted with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) for safety. The GFCIs prevent electric shocks or electrocution by shutting when the circuit is overloaded.

What are GFCIs?

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets are crucial safety features in areas where water may come into contact with electricity. Ensure these outlets function correctly in wet areas like the bathroom, basement, and kitchen.

Cable and Wires

The electrician also inspects all the cables and wires for any signs of wear and tear, such as fraying or cracking insulation. They will also check if the house owner used outdated cables, such as aluminum wires, which easily catch fires. They also ensure that electrical wires and cables rest on heat ducts and that all wires are covered.

Presence of Aluminum Wiring

Most homes built between 1960-1970 used aluminum wiring instead of copper. The aluminum wiring system has a reputation for overheating and causing fires. Therefore, if you are buying an old home, this should be a crucial inspection area.

And if it’s found that they have aluminum wires, you can negotiate for the seller to replace them or for a lower price and replace them yourself later.

Lighting Fixtures Safety

Check all lighting fixtures in your home to ensure they are safely installed and have no exposed wires or loose parts that could pose a risk. Check for flickering lights resulting from loose wiring or overloading.

Ensure that the bulbs used are of the correct wattage. Above all, they should recommend using energy-efficient LED lighting to save money and conserve the environment.

Presence of AFCI

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) protect against electrical fires by detecting faulty arcs caused by damaged wiring or appliances. The electrician should check if your potential home has these devices installed, especially in bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and laundry rooms.

Surge Protection

Electrical surges increase the voltage in the wiring system, mostly during storms when the power grid is unstable. Electrical surges and dips can be detrimental to the safety of your home and appliances. As such, you must ensure all appliances have suitable surge protectors, or you can outfit one to your electric panel to protect your whole house.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in the home and functioning correctly. These devices are crucial for the safety of your family.

What to Do If the Inspector Uncovers Electrical Problems

If the inspector uncovers any electrical problems during their inspection, don’t panic. Take note of these issues and discuss them with your real estate agent or seller. You can negotiate repairs or request a reduction in the property’s price to cover the costs of fixing these problems.

Final Thoughts

From the above discussion, it’s apparent that conducting an electrical inspection on a home you intend to buy is vital. It helps you save money and guarantees your family’s and assets’ safety. Therefore, before buying a house, you must subcontract the services of an electrical inspector and use the above checklist to ensure your home is free of electrical issues.

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