Q. We have purchased an old home that needs some serious updating. Because the market is so hot and there are so few properties in our price range, we opted to not make the offer conditional on a house inspection. Our bid was accepted and we are currently narrowing in on our closing. On one of our visits, we had a home inspector attend and he noticed that we had old knob and tube wiring running throughout the house. We mentioned this to our lawyer and he stated that we needed to divulge this to our insurance company. When we did this, the insurer refused to insure the house due to fire hazard. What should we do?
A. You are in a bit of a pickle because without home insurance, you can’t get a mortgage. Not to worry though.
You need to shop around with different insurers as some will still insure a home (who are the present owners using as an insurer?). Usually what happens is that the insurance company will extend a policy upon the condition that you immediately replace the wiring to more up to date electrical. They will typically put a time limit on this renovation of 30 or 60 days.
That may mean that your fixer upper will have its first facelift with new wiring. This can be an expensive proposition but you probably won’t have any choice. So, the drywalling, new windows or new roof may have to wait while you address your insurance company’s concerns that your electrical is not a fire hazard.
Best of luck.