If purchasing a home in Oakland, Berkeley or Piedmont look at the elctrical panel

October 18th, 2009

Most of the homes that I sell in Oakland, Berkeley or Piedmont were built quite a long time ago.  A major component of any home is the electrical system.  Only a professional electrician can tell you the condition of an electrical system but here are a few things “red flags” to look for yourself. 

The standard back in the 1930’s was around 25 to 30 amps.  With all of the electronics in use today, new homes are being built with 125 to 200 amp services.  Find the main electrical panel and see what the MAIN breaker is rated for.  This is generally (but not always) the amperage of the service.  Also look to see if any of the breakers say SUB PANEL.  If there is a sub panel you should also check to see if it has been upgraded to circuit breakers from the twist fuse type.  Only an electrician or a licensed home inspector should remove an electrical panel cover but when they do, a lot can be learned about the age, quality and condition of the service panel.  If you need to upgrade or increase amperage, the cost can range from $2,000 up to $4,000 or more.  If you need to run new circuits throughout the home the price will go up from there. 

When buying a home in Oakland, Berkeley or Piedmont there are lots of red flags that you should look for before writing an offer.  Once you get your offer accepted by the home seller it is time to do your home inspections.  Inspecting a home from top to bottom will cost you in the neighborhood of $1,000-$1,500 dollars.  Spotting red flags before you are in contract will help prevent you from spending a lot of money on home inspections that will go to waste if you decide not to move forward and close on the property.

Brian Santilena has been representing home buyers and home sellers in the Oakland Hills, Berkeley Hills and Piedmont California marketplace since 1998.  He is a Realtor, CRS Certified Residential Specialist, liscened contractor and Sr. Sales Associate with Pacific Union Real Estate.  He is highly knowledgeable in the Oakland Hills premier neighborhoods such as Haddon Hill, Rockridge, Montclair, Glenview, Trestle Glen, Crocker Highlands, Oakmore, Laurel District and Redwood Heights.  Berkeley Hills neighborhoods such as Northbrea, Westbrea, North Berkeley Hills, Berkeley Flats, Thousand Oaks, South Berkeley, Gourmet Ghetto, Elmwood, Uplands, Claremont, LeConte.  City of Piedmont, City of Kensington, City of Albany.  Please feel free to CONTACT BRIAN if you have any real estate needs in Oakland, Berkeley or Piedmont CA.

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