Selling House Electrical question

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On Tuesday, March 4, 2014 3:35:04 PM UTC-5, dgk wrote:

What's required for new construction doesn't apply to what's already there. If it complied with the code at the time, then it's almost certainly legal and doesn't need to be upgraded. That's how it would work in the vast majority of places. But NYC could have it's own rules.
I've hardly ever blown a fuse but can do so by running

No, that's exactly what a 100 amp service has, ie, two 100 amp fuses. If it's an old row house with fuses, it's almost certainly not a 200 amp service.
As to whether it's "needed" to upgrade the electric service, I'd say that depends on a lot of factors. Unless there is some unique NYC position on the code, the answer is that you aren't required to do so. Whether it might make sense to do it, that's another issue. How's the real estate situation? A house with a new upgraded electric system that you can use as a marketing plus might help it sell faster, get a better a higher price, etc. Any experience with neighbors you can learn from? What shape is the rest of the house in? Sometimes new owners are going to want to do a lot of renovation, gut the kitchen, etc and if that's the case, then it makes more sense to upgrade the electric system at that point.
If it were me, unless the electric system was the only thing wrong and clearly out of line with the rest of the house, I wouldn't upgrade it. I'd sell it like it is and see what happens. A home inspector will have something to say about the electric service. And if the buyer makes that an issue, you can negotiate and give them a discount to help pay for any work that needs to be done. If I was a buyer, I'd rather do it that way anyhow. But some buyers might get turned off and walk away too. Which raises another question, ie do you need to sell it quick, or if a sale falls through because of this, are you OK with finding another buyer, etc?
I'd make sure to read the portion of the sales contract that pertains to inspection. If what is there is code compliant, but a buyer wants to insist that you put in a new electric service, you want to make sure there is nothing there that says you *have* to do it. That whole area is an interesting one. Plenty of buyers back out over something like that. It would be interesting to see any contracts cases where the seller said, "screw you, it's code compliant, it works, it's not broken, I'm not upgrading it and you have to go through with the purchase. But for practical reasons, ie the buyers can manage to not get a mortgage, tie you up for a year while it's litigated, etc, I've never heard of that being done.
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On Tue, 4 Mar 2014 13:46:26 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

In about a year I'm likely to buy a house from an old family friend in Florida; it's a block away from my aging mother in the same development, and we'll likely have pretty flexible purchase terms. After all, I bought my current house from her when she moved to Florida 25 years ago!
So, it's likely that I'll have a few months to sell my current house and can pretty much move whenever it gets sold. The only downside is having to pay maintenance on the Florida house and that's less than $400 a month.
As for the current house, it's not in great shape. I haven't renovated the kitchen or bath since I moved in and they both really need it although everything works fine. So the electric is pretty much in keeping with the rest of the place. But as I wrote in another post, most of the houses sold in this neighborhood are illegally converted to multiple apartments and even furnished rooms. I think renovating prior to sale is likely unnecessary. I'll get somewhat less than the top but they can do what they want.
I will look at the contract very carefully - thanks for the warning.
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Ask for your real estate agent's recommendation. Most buyers wouldn't know a fuse from their elbow and cannot conceive of a place where you can run a toaster and microwave at the same time. Replacing the door knocker may make a bigger difference to them.
There's often a big compulsion to fix something up, just before we let it go, to how we wish it had been while we had it. Don't fall for it. Save the energy for your new place.
Chip C Toronto
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On Tuesday, March 4, 2014 4:51:32 PM UTC-5, Chip C wrote:

That may be true, but probably 90%+ of home sales today involve having the home inspected and the inspector knows the difference between a fuse and his elbow, that's where the problem will come from, if there is a problem.

I agree. There are two extremes. Some people want to make everything perfect. Others would sell a car knowing that a mechanic told them the transmission is shot and they'd lie about it.
In the case of this house, there is important information missing, ie what the true electrical load is. Electric range? Ovens? WH? Furnace? Is that one AC sufficient for the whole house or are there 3 other 120V window units, etc.
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On Tue, 4 Mar 2014 14:07:12 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

One 240 unit does the entire main floor - very well. The three bedrooms (large, small, tiny) each have A/C. I'm not sure all three have ever been on at the same time but they're on different circuits.
Dryer, water heater, range, and boiler are gas.
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wrote:

I agree but the problem is, your real estate agent may say to do just the opposite. Fix it up!
Read my friend's bad experience with trusting the agent's advice.
I would though, ask anyone who looked at the house and didn't buy it, Why not. if you ask nicely, they'll tell you. Especially in NYC.

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You've made two contradicting statements:
"I haven't had any issues with the power" and "I've hardly ever blown a fuse but can do so by running the toaster oven at the same time as the microwave."
If I had to pick and choose which appliance I could use at any given time, I'd consider it an issue with my power. In fact, when I had that exact issue, I ran a new circuit to the kitchen so that I would never have that "issue" again.
Of course, I've popped a breaker or two in my day by doing things like plugging in 2 heaters at the same time or other one-offs like that, but to not be able to use multiple "permanent" appliances at the same time would be an issue, at least to me.
What I see happening is a potential buyer getting an inspection, having it pointed out that the fuses and service are "minimal" and either asking for a reduced price or walking away unless there is some compelling reason to continue negotiations.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Hi, When it comes to selling a house, no matter what the condition of the house, there will be a buyer if priced right. That is my experience. I had 5 houses built and sold old houses. Always first looker bought it. Being reasonable I had it priced wee bit below going price. Often times seller thinks, his house deserves certain price.(emotional sentiment thing, I guess) If the OP's place has older electrical wiring, right off the bat, price should be adjusted accordingly. Most important and valuable leverage on selling a house is it's location. I always owned a house with an unobstructed frontal view, like far away mountains, river, park,etc.
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There is nothing wrong with fuses. In fact I could build a house tomorrow morning with a 100 amp fuse box as long as I put S type adapters in each socket. Your real issue is that you only seem to have one 15 amp circuit feeding the kitchen. That is far more than simply swapping out the panel. If you are in an old neighborhood with a lot of houses wired like yours, list it and see how it goes. If you need to upgrade to sell the house, think about it or just discount the house based on a couple of estimates that you lay on top of the deal. Most people think they can beat an estimate if they shop around.
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On Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:43:37 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The funny thing is that husband in the family that owned the house before me (childhood friends of mine) was an electrical engineer and didn't trust circuit breakers!
Next stop is to clean the place up and invite a broker in for a chat.
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Actually there is a lot of logic in not trusting circuit breakers. Fuses can only fail in the open condition. Breakers may fail "closed" and then you have zero protection. Google up "Federal Pacific breaker" sometime and see what I mean.
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On 3/5/2014 8:59 AM, dgk wrote:

If you actually get a broker as opposed to simply a salesperson you will be damn lucky. If you do get a broker you will be in a much better position to negotiate the commission. And yes, in most locations it is normally negotiable. Don't let them tell you that if they lower the commission that no other brokers or salespeople will show the property because that is BS! These people, especially the salespeople, are hungry and will show it no matter what the commission is if they think that they can make a sale.
If you interview more than one firm remember that if a firm offers to list the property at a significantly higher price than the others he/she is simply trying to get the listing and probably will come back in about thirty days and suggest that you lower the price. Do NOT tell them what you are expecting to get for the property but rather let them suggest a price based on similar sales and then go from there.
Don (who formerly owned a very successful real estate brokerage firm).
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On Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:43:37 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I know what those are, but apparently there is more than one meaning, since images for s-type adapter electric shows not a one like we mean.
https://www.google.com/search?q=s-type+adapter+electric&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=k9sXU6nOJcrH0AHDq4HADQ&ved JkBELAE&biw52&bihg1
Here's a better page. http://epb.apogee.net/foe/fsgotsf.asp
Would you put these in even if you were living in the house yourself?
Maybe for your 8-year old son?

Darn right.
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wrote:

The new house I bought in 1971 had a 200a fuse panel and it had the type S adapters. It is certainly a good idea since there is really no way to know what size wire you have without pulling the cover off the panel.
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None of the regular posters here says he is from NYC. OTOH, getting the skinny in NYC should be easy, about what is required. The Dept. of Buildings will know. It's probably on their webpage, but they have a phone too. .
I wouldnt' take the word of an electrical contractor unless he was my husband.

I had a 6 or 6 1/2 room 2 1/2 bath apartment in Brooklyn with only 20 amps for the whole thing and I only blew about one fuse a year. Even with 3 roommates.
That incuded the last couple years a small AC window unit. I never used the toaster and the microwave at the same time, but that's because I don't like toast.
There was a 20 amp fuse in the basement, supplying two 15-amp fuses in my apartment. I blew one of the 15-amp fuses maybe 4 times in 10 years.
If I can get by on 20 your new owners can get by on 100. And I have a feeling that 200 is not required, for that very reason.
Don't be like friends of mine here in Baltimore. Their house needed some work, I agree, some painting, redoing the hardwood floors, etc. but I told them they should put it on the market right away and if they got the work done, it would sell quicker or maybe they could even raise the asking price. But the real estate agent told them to fix it first. and that took them months, and then the real estate bubble burst and they couldnt sell it at all, let alone for the asking price. And it needn't have taken months for the repairs, just add the time for repairs, the advertising and finding a buyer, and it only needs one day longer than the bubble lasted. NYC isn't in a bubble afaik, but other things can go wrong. A fire that makes the next two houses vacant. Not likely, but I think one should start trying to sell the house as soon as he's sure he's moving. Or as soon as he has another place to live, if that will be hard to find. But not waiting to do repairs, if indeed you do this one.

I just came across this webpage. I don't think the questions apply to you but the address lookup gives a Property Profile Overview that will be interesting http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/codes_and_reference_materials/code_interpre2011.shtml
If you move to some address in NYC, I'd defintiely look it up. Anyone considering buying your house should do so too, if he knows about it. And you don't want him to learn things you don't even know about.
http://www.lamorteelectric.com/electric-code-changes-in-new-york.html
"Existing houses are "grandfathered" for the most part. The thing is, any changes you make are required to meet the new standard. "
That is, if you do make a change for whatever reason, your new work has to meet the new code even though it was acceptable that it didn't meet it before you started.
"The upside of the new change is a whole new level of safety when it comes to fire prevention. It also requires the use of child-proof receptacles. The new receptacles actually work really well, in fact they work so well it is hard for me to get a tester into them. At the same time, plugs slide in as easily as ever.
Also most of the circuit breakers in your house need to be "Arc fault circuit interrupters". They are very high tech, and dramatically reduce the chance of an electrical fire. They are required on all 110 volt circuits aside from your, kitchen, bathrooms, unfinished basements, and outdoors. [Where GFI's are still required, I assume, except maybe unfinished basements.] The downside of the new changes is cost. Old breakers started at $3.00, and the new ones START at $35.00. This adds up to $600-$800 more to wire up a whole new house. "
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wrote:

Thanks!
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call some homeowners insurance companies like state farm and ask about a new policy
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wrote:

I doubt any insurance company you have ever heard of even writes policies in Florida, at least not within 20-30 miles of a coast.
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On Thu, 06 Mar 2014 02:15:23 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yes, policies are tough in Florida and I will be within 10 miles of the coast.
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The new flood insurance risk ratings are really going to make insurance expensive, even if you don't think you are anywhere near the water.
We also see an insurance inspector walking around every couple of years but they don't come in the house. They are looking at your roof, pool slides, pool fences and other obvious risks outside.
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