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Electricians rewiring old house. SAM Conveyancing's answer to do I need to rewire my house to sell it

Do I Need To Rewire My House To Sell It?

(Last Updated: 09/04/2024)
10 min read
Key Takeaways
  • You can sell your house without getting a rewire electrician in. This might mean having to accept a lower offer.
  • A domestic house rewire must comply with building regulations and be carried out by a competent person. This is to ensure the work meets electrical safety standards.
  • If you choose to do a house rewiring project by yourself, you might not be able to get the proper sign-off compliance certificates.

If you own a home which isn't modern, you may wonder: do I need to rewire my house to sell it? If you do decide to go that route, you might be interested in doing it yourself to save on expenses, but you might end up saving more by getting a certified electrician to do it. In other words, does a certified electrician need to rewire a house?

The following applies to residential electrical work only - for business units, rewiring a house involves different regulations, and you should consult appropriate authorities. You can access HM Government's Planning Portal to get information about relevant HM Government building regs

Can I sell a house that needs rewiring?

You can sell a house without rewiring it, but it might affect your asking price, as potential buyers would have to consider the costs of getting the old wiring replaced. So although you are under no legal obligation to rewire a property before selling it, doing so might attract more buyers and could potentially increase the offers you receive.

Is it worth rewiring a house before selling?

  • If a property has not already been rewired within the last 25-30 years, the chances are it will need new wiring, at least in part, to bring it up to current standards. The old wiring may be potentially dangerous and unable to cope with the demands of modern living.
  • If you plan major remodelling work that constitutes a material alteration as defined by the Building Regs, it is likely that you will need to rewire a house in part, or in full, including upgrading to a modern consumer unit (fuse box).
  • If you are extending your home or converting an attic or garage, this will constitute new work; therefore, all of the new wiring will have to conform to Part P, and all original wiring will have to be improved to ensure that it can carry the additional loads safely, it is earthed to current requirements, and that cross bonding is satisfactory. Where you are extending or remodelling, the rest of the existing wiring does not have to be upgraded, except where upgrading is required by the energy efficiency requirements of the Building Regs, i.e. central heating controls.

Can I rewire my own house?

As a homeowner or landlord in England and Wales, you must ensure that all new electrical work carried out in your dwelling is compliant with the requirements set down in Approved Document Part P of the Building Regs. If you do not, you are committing a criminal offence, and local authorities can make you remove or alter the work.

For the house rewiring work to be compliant with current regulations, it's easiest for the work to be carried out by a registered competent person. As long as you are registered, you can get the house rewired by yourself. If you are not registered, you will need to inform your local Building Control office and get them to carry out inspections throughout the entire process.

Part P states the following:

'all electrical work, no matter how minor, should follow the rules in BS 7671 for (the) design, installation, inspection, testing and certification.'

If you are carrying out what is defined as notifiable work, you must also have a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, or you are committing an additional offence. The list of notifiable work always applies to complete rewires.

If you rewire a house yourself, how can you follow building regulations?

Part P states the following:

'An installer who is not a registered competent person may use a registered third party to certify notifiable electrical installation work as an alternative to using a building control body.'

So, you can either get a building control body or a registered third party to certify your work.

  • a registered competent person,(a qualified electrician), or
  • a registered third party, or
  • a building control inspector.

Who counts as a qualified electrician?

The person you get to self-certify your rewiring has to be a member of a recognised, registered 3rd party certification scheme for electrical installation contracting.

These schemes were introduced initially on 6 April 2014. Any registered third party certifier has to comply with many professional standards to join a scheme and to pay to join and to keep up membership of that scheme.

Additionally, there are minimum technical competence requirements which notably include that all certifiers must have at least 2 years experience in electrical installation and have to have their work tested by inspectors.

Will rewiring my house add value?

Rewiring will not directly affect the value of your property, but it might make it easier for you to sell. After a survey, the buyers might try to negotiate their offer to justify any extra costs they might have to pay when renovating the property. An old electrical system might force you to accept a lower offer.

What happens if you don't rewire a house?

This depends on how old the electrical system is. An old fuse box and faulty wiring could constantly cause electric shocks, or you could have problems with the circuit breaker tripping. Not only can this be dangerous and a fire hazard, but potential buyers might be deterred from making an offer or they could try to negotiate the price. A periodic inspection will ensure you can decide whether you need a partial or full rewire or if you can sell without rewiring.

Can you sell a house without an electrical certificate?

You should be aware that the Property Information Form (TA6) which you must fill out as truthfully and fully as possible when you come to sell your property asks you to give details of any rewiring you've done in your house.

You are specifically asked to supply one of the following:

  • a copy of the signed BS7671 Electrical Safety Certificate; or
  • a copy of the installer's Building Reg Compliance Certificate; or the Building Control Completion Certificate.

If you cannot provide one of these, it could seriously disrupt your ability to sell your property because any prospective buyer will have to get your work retrospectively checked and approved - this is called getting a Letter of Regularisation for unauthorised building works (click to find out more)

Once again, this is likely to cost, on average, around £500, but the very fact that you don't provide this documentation could lose you the sale.

In theory, a buyer could take another route and ask you to take out Building Regulations Indemnity Insurance. This is likely to be cheaper - perhaps £200 - £250 - but any prospective buyer is likely to be less than happy about the fact that there could be a potential problem with the electrical installation; electricity, after all, can kill, and it's a moot point as to whether any insurance company might take a very dim view of the situation and refuse to underwrite it in the first place.

So in sum, although you CAN rewire a house yourself, we strongly recommend that you get a professional (and correctly publicly indemnified) electrician to do so, given that you might only stand to save yourself up to £500.
If you choose to start rewiring a house yourself, we strongly recommend you apply correctly to your local council, submit your plans and schedule your inspections.
Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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