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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    1

    Red face Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    I'm looking at buying a 1901 Victorian home. The seller is offering it "as is, where is, etc....The electricity was turned of in this home a year ago. I'm told that it needs to be brought up to code. All of the wiring is running through conduit pipe. The house is about 3700 square feet w/3 stories. The owner (who is an electrician that lives in another state) says it can be replaced for about $3000. I've talked to some contractors....they say at the very least $16,000, but probably closer to $30,000. My question is...Who is taking me for a ride? The owner or the contractor? Is anyone out there that has faced similiar problems?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    I'm guessing the service panel will likely need replacing as well and there's no indication as to the condition of the mast and meter box and if the service will be upgraded from 60 -100 or 200 amp service.

    It's impossible to tell over the internet what's involved for your home.

    However .... I would have to say if the entire home needs to be rewired then ask the seller to do it and you will give him $3000 more for the home.

    I would have to guess it will be closer to the $16k + mark than the $3k mark if the entire house has to be redone.
    It would probably be about a weeks worth with 2 guys doing 3 floors ... 4 if you have a basement.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    I also think the price would have to be closer to $16k rather than $3k for a whole house rewire. I would suggest someone local do it rather than getting the owner who lives in a different state (even though he is an electrician). Obviously there are many other issues (roof, plumbing, heating, insulation, foundation, etc, etc.) to consider when buying a house like this, but I would make this upgrade part of the current contract and figure the cost as a negotiation to the current price of the house. That way it gets done to code and inspected, but you don't have to be the one GC'ing the work. Make sure you know what condition the walls will be in when they are done. Adding the additional circuits & fixtures(i.e. hardwired smoke & CO detectors) to bring it up to code will probably mean cutting into the walls. That could figure into the cost adder you would be willing to pay.

    One thing to double check, if you haven't already, see if any permits for work have been pulled for this "as is" house and if the permits/inspections match up with any improvements already done.

    Also, ask if there is a domino effect on improvements. What I mean by that is some municipalities will say that if you improve 50% (or fill in the percentage) of a house than all systems and construction must be brought up to code. They get to determine what is meant by 50% and that could change based on which inspector is on the job. A flip we did once taught me this the hard way after the initial AHJ left the municipality and the replacement didn't quite agree on his predecessors decisions. This caused me to have to reconstruct a pre existing set of steps to give an extra 2" of headroom. This happened at the end of a remodel which made a new header necessary in a room that already had all new paint and carpet. I ate some Tums the day I found that out!

    GL on the project.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Binghamton, NY
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    Nice response BP..this is some great information. Im looking into doing some rewiring also. Good luck as well!
    New homeowner in need of Hidden Content assistance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    There is no way the cost will be $3,000 unless you are doing it yourself. You will pay at least $3,000 in materials cost. Even at $16,000+ it is worth it though. I would do it in a heartbeat, since you have everything running in conduit. That's an electrician's dream!

    Blessings on your project!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    Before you say everything is in conduit I would suggest you check that out. What I have found is that when old homes in that time frame had gas light fixtures. When the house was wired the first time the gas pipe was used to pull wires to the new lights. What you might have is old gas pipe. The fittings in gas pipe are close 90 degree bends. almost impossible to pull wires through. Besides to bring it up to code it would be illegal to use it. 16k does not seem out of line to rewire an old large house like yours

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    There's a lot of unknowns here .

    The mention of conduit seems to indicate the wiring is somewhat modern vintage.... granted could be two conductor.

    The seller may be indicating for $3000 to bring it up to code might only be a new service panel and 2 or 3 GFCI plugs.

    The mention of quotes from other contractors may have been sight unseen thinking because of the age of the home requires rewiring.

    The original point I made about having the seller do it was to see if he was simply bluffing and to call him on it .... there are plenty of sellers that will say anything for the sale.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    There's a lot of unknowns here .

    The mention of conduit seems to indicate the wiring is somewhat modern vintage.... granted could be two conductor.

    The seller may be indicating for $3000 to bring it up to code might only be a new service panel and 2 or 3 GFCI plugs.

    The mention of quotes from other contractors may have been sight unseen thinking because of the age of the home requires rewiring.

    The original point I made about having the seller do it was to see if he was simply bluffing and to call him on it .... there are plenty of sellers that will say anything for the sale.

    Canuk
    We seem to always agree!! Good call

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by jt_macks View Post
    The house is about 3700 square feet w/3 stories. The owner (who is an electrician that lives in another state) says it can be replaced for about $3000. I've talked to some contractors....they say at the very least $16,000, but probably closer to $30,000. My question is...Who is taking me for a ride? The owner or the contractor? Is anyone out there that has faced similiar problems?
    I own an electrical contracting company in Los Angeles that specializes in rouse re-wiring. If this house has electrical conduit, our price for a complete re-wire would be $4 per square foot X 3,700 feet = $14,800. At 3,700 sq feet, if it doesn't already have one already, this house will need a 200 amp main electrical service. That will cost an additional $2,300. So the total will come to $17,100. Also, be sure you know what condition the plumbing is in - has it already been re-piped with copper?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Cost to completely rewire an old house?? Is it worth it?

    i have an old house,its wireing is 2 wire ,strung on insulators
    is that still in code??

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