An inspection of a 1957 California ranch/rambler we're interesting in
buying has revealed that several of the electrical outlets do not
appear to be grounded. We've asked the sellers to address this issue,
but if they decline we will have to pay to have it done ourselves if
we want the house. This typical ranch-style brick home sits on a
cement slab and has a low-pitched roof. Could having the outlets
grounded be costly to us?
Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions,
Grounding was not used for recepts in 1957, so the sellers
don't appear to have any responsibility in this.
Grounding *was* required of metal switch boxes in kitchens
and baths, so you may find grounding conductors inside them.
Ask your self what recepts *need* to be grounded. Not many,
only those where 3-prong cord sets are in use.
If you have to add grounding conductors, an electrician
can do it via the attic, if it's accessible.
I would concentrate on installing GFCI recepts in the
kitchen and bath, garage and exterior.
I don't want to "flame" you, but what exactly do you find wrong with finding a
home, built in 1957, wired to the standards of the time?
Realistically, did you expect that everyone who owns a home upgrades to the
latest codes every 3 years?
I think you're the victim of typical know-little-and-can do-even-less "Home
inspectors" who point out the obvious - that is, this house is perfectly normal
(By 1957 standards) but throw you a bone to chew on so you don't feel you've
been ripped off.
The question here is, how ever did the occupants survive over the past 47
the explanation is very simple. for example, we bought a house built in the
50's. obviously there's no ground wire in the outlets.
the outlets were old and looked crappy so we replaced them with new ones.
new outlets have 3 prongs. would you honestly expect us to rip out every
existing wire to add a ground to every outlet?
From a broader viewpoint, I wouldn't find anything "wrong" with a house
built to 1957 standards. The point being, however, that there's equally
nothing "wrong" with a potential buyer putting in a purchase condition
that something be upgraded or changed whether or not it has anything to
do with current or past codes.
The vendor is free to accept. Or not.
Heck, when we bought our house, we put in a condition that they include
their tractor in the sale.
Having a tractor is hardly a code requirement ;-)
Nice tractor too.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
in southern california, such a condition would likely be laughed at. there
are people out here making bids 10% over market price for houses in "As-is"
condition, and still getting out bidded.
where theyre coming up with the $350k for a fixer-upper, i dunno.
For the buyer, the simple solution is to accept the condition or not.
For the seller, the simple solution is to say: "Yes, we know that and it's
already been factored into the asking price."
After my Great Aunt & Uncle passed I had the "pleasure" of handling the sale of
their 1920's 2-family home in Queens, New York. 3 buyers each had inspectors
draw up reports, all of which concluded pretty much the same things:
Need new asphalt roof. So does the detached garage.
2nd fl. apartment need service & circuit upgrage. (2 bedroom apt. on 1 15a
fuse, no Idea what size the service is but I believe it's 110v)
1st fl. apartment need service and circuit upgrade. (2 bedroom apt. on 2 15a
and 2 20a fuses, but detached garage was on 1 20a and the other 20a was an
added a/c outlet in the livingroom. Original wiring was entire apartment on 1
15a fuse and the boiler and most of the basement on the other.)
Serious shortage of receptacles. What do you want? In 1920 there wasn't much to
Firestops, wall & attic insulation, and attic windows were never upgraded.
Plaster cracks in walls (which weren't wallpapered to hide them) and ceilings
(where ceiling tiles weren't installed to hide them, or cut down on the
tennant's footsteps upstairs) was also mentioned.
The asking price for the house was 375,000.00 and each offer was around
It sold for 420,000.- after the 3 got into a bidding war. At least the "winner"
knows what they're up against. Inspectors reports are at best comfort food for
a buyer about to make a serious financial committment, but as far as using them
as bargianing tools - not in this market.
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