Nasty shocks lurking for home buyers - Mary Holm

Friday 20 February 2004

Q. A visit to a country town takeaway provided me with a copy of your column in the Herald dated August 16, 2003, where one of your readers referred to the insurance issue affecting intending home buyers.

By The Landlord

As an electrician I have frequently been asked to check switchboards and wiring in old (and sometimes not so old) houses that have already been bought, only to have the unpleasant task of telling the proud new owners that they need to have serious work done.

Recently a family was told by the real estate agent that the house "had been re-wired". So it had - about 40 years ago. Besides which, someone had been doing a bit of "home wiring" since then that could have been a fire hazard.

I suggest that, in addition to the clauses "subject to finance" and "subject to insurance", prospective buyers include in their contract a clause "subject to building inspection, and electrical inspection by an independent registered electrical inspector".

This will avoid nasty surprises at a later date. Better to spend $100 or even $200 at this stage than $300 or even thousands later.

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