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  1. #1
    Sale Jovic's Avatar
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    Question Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    We recently placed an offer on REO Fannie Mae property and our offer was accepted (initially price was lowered, and once we increased our offer a bit our offer was accepted).

    During home inspection which was already done, we noticed there was multiple light bulbs missing therefore we could not check if only bulbs were missing or if it works at all... about 6-7 bulbs was missing inside/outside.

    When inspector checked Basement he noticed that labeling was incorrect (not sure on what he based this conclusion cuz I have not seen him test anything)... but besides that statement, he noticed one 14 gauge wire in 30amp breaker (a HUGE NO NO) which (IF we get the house) we plan to address immediately.
    Other wires were proper and had no apparent issues like what I just mentioned.
    He did mention in his report that ground should be checked and overall certified electrician should come in and inspect for further evaluation.
    All receptacles worked which he tested with little tester with lights; one fan had no light bulb but fan was working Ok. He also mentioned in the report that furnace, water heater, dryer, range and refrigerator should have dedicated circuit breakers... at no point he mentioned whether this was or was not the case inside the house he inspected... almost sounds he used sort of a template to create a report...

    What do you think I should do? I plan to ask an electrician to come out and just check out house - not to do inspection, but to sneak peak for like 20-30 minutes... I understand this may not be enough time, but I do not want agent to know I am bringing an electrician but family friend to see the house.

    We gave $1000 earnest money which would remain at sellers hand if we gave-up... on another hand, I really do not care about $1000 if electrical work is going to cost me 10-20k USD...

    House is in good condition, no foundation issues, no traces of mold, little bit of ghosting due to weak insulation, dishwasher / garbage disposal not working - but all smaller issues are fixable... ONLY thing I am worried about is electrical work...

    What do you suggest I do?

    Note: Currently mortgage broker is working on a loan application and closing should take place on February 15, 2013... We like the house, but if there are no hidden ticket items that will have 20k price tag :/

    Thanks All!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Knowing the age of the house would help a lot.

    What you describe is somewhat hard to follow but it doesn't sound much different from every REO house I see. I'd say there's a good chance you don't have major problems with the electrical system from what you describe but it's hard to say. Missing light bulbs are hardly a major problem.

    If the inspector's verbage in the report is as you say I agree it's not really helpful. If you have a family friend who is an electrician I think 20 minutes at the house would help A LOT.

    Also, I don't know about earnest money where you are but around here a buyer can get their money back for just about anything as long as they are in their inspection period. Don't be too quick to just give on teh $1,000 if you decide to walk.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    I'd start by asking your inspector for clarification on any and all items or concerns. Perhaps he can direct you to the answers, or provide more details.

    ONLY thing I am worried about is electrical work...
    I would suggest you have an electrician read the report, and quote the repairs for you in advance. He may want to actually look at the house first, of course.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    ...Also, I don't know about earnest money where you are but around here a buyer can get their money back for just about anything as long as they are in their inspection period. ...
    My experience with foreclosure property is, the buyer can have an inspection but only before an offer is made. Once an offer is made and accepted, it's yours.
    Different mortgage company's may have different policies.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    I agree that you should get with the home inspector and have a few things cleared up. Just about every REO purchase I have seen has a contingency written in it pending the home inspection that will allow you to get out of the contract.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Scott and Dom gave you the first step - get details from your inspector. Show us a picture of the inside of the electrical panel, including a picture of the entire panel with the cover off.

    Number 2 - any inspectors reading this - use your voltage sniffer to test empty sockets. What could be so hard about that?

    Depending on the age of the house, changes to the kitchen wiring may not be required. For example, a 1940's house might have the fridge on a light circuit, so the lights flicker every time the fridge starts up. Not acceptable today but common enough back then.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    I carry light bulbs for this purpose.


  8. #8
    Sale Jovic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    House was built in 1994 and it was found to be in really good shape. Foreclosure on this was due to previous owner suddenly passing away and estate went into foreclosure since the owner lived alone with two kids.

    I followed up with the inspector and he explained everything what needed to be addressed (30amp with thin wire going into it) and he did state that certified electrician should probably check it out and recommend best solution to address 30amp major and couple other minor issues he was able to find.

    He mentioned that labels were off and electrician should have them tested and reorganized to ensure proper list. He added that if he inspected 10 houses in that neighborhood he would probably find all of them to be very similar or the same since the initial builder was the same in that subdivision.

    I guess just being a REO Foreclosure (FMae) makes me overly suspicious which I would rather be instead of going smooth and waiting a disaster to happen once we get the house.

    Thanks everyone for responding!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    What was the 30 amp circuit with the #14 conductors feeding? For something like an AC unit this may be perfectly code complaint.
    Huh? Maybe I am still asleep this morning, but I can't think of any way that that is code compliant.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Huh? Maybe I am still asleep this morning, but I can't think of any way that that is code compliant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    The NEC allows an OCPD to sized larger (to allow the motor to start) than the conductor size in several different types of installations. One type would be AC units, some motors would be another. The reason being that the OCPD is only there to protect the conductors from short circuit or ground fault conditions. Thermal overloads are used to protect the conductors from overcurrent and in the case of AC units they're typically integral to the compressor motor. Having said that it would possibly have been code compliant in 1994 to have a AC unit with #14 conductors and a 30 OCPD.
    I doubt that the #14 conductors would have been allowed on a 30 amp overcurrent device, but what matters MOST (it is all that matters with regard to the NEC) is "whatever is shown on the nameplate is what is allowed", and that is why I doubt that #14 conductors would be allowed on a 30 amp overcurrent device - I doubt the nameplate shows that ... HOWEVER ... if the nameplate does show that, then it would be code compliant as it would be in accordance with the nameplate, which is listing and labeling, and 110.3(B) requires it to be installed and used in accordance with its listing and labeling. It is that simple and does not matter if I think that #14 conductor would not be on a 30 amp overcurrent device or not (the nameplate does not care what I think ).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    My point was to show that a simple blanket statement of #14 not ever being on a 30 amp circuit is false since it may be permitted in the NEC just not under 240.4(D).
    I understood your point, which is why I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    what matters MOST (it is all that matters with regard to the NEC) is "whatever is shown on the nameplate is what is allowed"

    and

    (the nameplate does not care what I think ).
    The nameplate does not care what any of us think.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Question about electrical wiring, etc.

    And I appreciate the explanations from both of your. I have never seen a tag or situation allowing for 14g wire with a 30amp breaker, but like you say, if allowed then so be it.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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