Missing Circuit Breakers in House for sale


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Old 01-04-09, 12:46 PM
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Missing Circuit Breakers in House for sale

Hello,

I am looking at buying a house that has been foreclosed on. One of the problems we noticed when doing a quick inspection was that some of the circuit breakers were missing, not all but quite a few. Then I found a previous inspection report done at the foreclosing, it stated that alot of the electrical had not been tested because of missing circuit breakers. My question is, is this indicative of very big problems? Why would there be missing circuit breakers? Would somebody take these out to hide huge problems in the wiring or something? I am only asking so I know if I should even proceed with paying for a real inspection or making a bid on the house, or scrap the idea all together. I just don't want to shell out $500-$1000 to proceed with the loan process if yall have seen this before and think there may be something bad here. Or maybe the previous owners just took everything they could when they left? Thanks.
 
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Old 01-04-09, 12:55 PM
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My question is, is this indicative of very big problems?
Maybe, maybe not.

Why would there be missing circuit breakers?
Could be they just wanted to steal the circuit breakers. Could be they were mad at the bank and engaged in senseless vandalism. Could be they removed the breakers to conceal enormous problems from being evident.

Have a thorough inspection, not just by a home inspector, but by an electrician, before proceeding. A home inspector will not reinstall the breakers to test, but you should get the electrician to do so so that the system can be adequately inspected.

If you decide to forgo the inspection and take the risk, then you'll just accept the fact that this could be a $30 problem, or it could be a $3000 problem.
 
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Old 01-04-09, 12:55 PM
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Are there wires that used to be hooked to breakers or just breakers have been removed and just need to have the holes plugged?
For example, there could've been baseboard heat in the house and changed to central air which would free them up and the breakers were removed and blanks weren't installed.

If everything is working in the house lights/receptacles, etc., I wouldn't worry about that too much.
 
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Old 01-04-09, 02:19 PM
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Ive saw a house where angry tenants before leaving cut off the wires entering the breaker box and squeezed glue in the receptacles so be sure to check things out carefully.
 
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Old 01-04-09, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Have a thorough inspection, not just by a home inspector, but by an electrician, before proceeding. A home inspector will not reinstall the breakers to test, but you should get the electrician to do so so that the system can be adequately inspected.

If you decide to forgo the inspection and take the risk, then you'll just accept the fact that this could be a $30 problem, or it could be a $3000 problem.

No, I wasn't going to forego the inspection at all, just was wondering if yall had ever heard of this before to cover up major problems since I know very little about electrical work, and if yall had heard of being used to cover up BIG problems then I might just move on and not even worry about throwing any money into moving forward. Thanks for the advice of calling an electrician out there to look at that, I thought home inspectors did ALL of that, live and learn.......



Originally Posted by wirenut1110 View Post
Are there wires that used to be hooked to breakers or just breakers have been removed and just need to have the holes plugged?
For example, there could've been baseboard heat in the house and changed to central air which would free them up and the breakers were removed and blanks weren't installed.

If everything is working in the house lights/receptacles, etc., I wouldn't worry about that too much.
We just went and looked at it again and I can't really tell if there even used to be one there, they were at the very end of all the other circuit breakers, so maybe just the inserts were removed? I didn't see any lose wires. The power is off to the house so we couldn't tell if anything worked.



Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Ive saw a house where angry tenants before leaving cut off the wires entering the breaker box and squeezed glue in the receptacles so be sure to check things out carefully.
Yikes!!!!! We have been through it a few times and it does not look like anything was maliciously torn up in it at all, except maybe the paint colors they chose. But since this house is being sold at about 50% of what it is worth, maybe the financing company knows something I don't.......




I really appreciate all yalls help!
 
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Old 01-04-09, 04:37 PM
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Most of the Home Inspectors will make a note and will useally recmoned a electrician come out and do more deeper testing to make sure the system is safe or need to bring up to the code or repairs as required.

As few other memebers here have few good points here so it possiblty it can be combined few of it.


Myself I will recomened have a electrician come out and do this in safe manner if you are going to get the house due the safey issuse and other surprise along the way.

It may be a couple hundred dollars for few repairs all the way to 3,000 + dollars for major repairs including the service entrance as well.

Once you get the electrical side inspected by electrician and I will really suggest that you get a HVAC contractor to check the heating / Air condtioning unit if your building have it { there are some repairs it will be behond of DIY scope }

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 01-04-09, 05:32 PM
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Ray, I've had them steal the cover plates, light bulbs in the refrigerator and stove, stove eyes, HVAC registers, thermostats, of course, break their keys off in the door locks, but not the glue thing, yet. Life is long.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 09:38 AM
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Sorry so late in my reply... I Don't get to these forums near as often as I'd like to.

I'm a licensed real estate agent in Texas and although you've asked about electrical issues, your questions indicate that you may really be unsure of your rights and options as a buyer.

If you aren't already working with an agent, I suggest that you seek one who is experienced with Repos to help you with this. There should be no additional cost to you as a buyer. Repos can be very advanced real estate transactions. It's Great when they go smoothly, but they OFTEN don't.

Good Luck!
Doug M.

PS. It's rare that a person who has been forclosed on would care to HIDE any problem with the house. It's common for one to want to MAKE a problem with the house.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 09:54 AM
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I agree with Doug -- usually when the tenant leaves he's just interested in vandalism not in covering anything up. Most of the damage I've seen in repos is from people having stolen some copper wiring and bus bars (though the plumbers and HVAC guys usually have a bigger mess to clean up). If all of that is intact, I can't image why the breakers would be gone other than petty theft or that the breakers weren't actually being used.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Ray, I've had them steal the cover plates, light bulbs in the refrigerator and stove, stove eyes, HVAC registers, thermostats, of course, break their keys off in the door locks, but not the glue thing, yet. Life is long.
I've heard of people who were foreclosed on putting raw hamburger behind switch and outlet plates. I'd personally be very, very careful about buying any foreclosed property.
 
 

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