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What Charlotte Homebuyers Need to Know: Circuit Breakers

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Homebuyers in the Charlotte housing market are fighting through a tough seller’s market, scouring Zillow listings, receiving every notification they can from Realtor.com and are fighting tooth and nail to find their dream home. 

It’s no surprise that the Charlotte housing market has such fierce competition. In 2018 Charlotte was ranked the fourth-hottest U.S. housing market and is one of the fastest-growing cities, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the Charlotte Observer, the number of homes for sale in the Charlotte area has dropped to its lowest level in 17 years. Pre-pandemic, Charlotte was already an exciting city where many people were moving to, but especially after the pandemic, many people from larger cities are choosing to move and call Charlotte home. 

In February of 2021, new listings were down 6.2% in comparison to February of 2020 as some home sellers are waiting until the price of buying a home becomes more affordable and when they won’t have to navigate around at homeschooling and working from home to show their house. 

All of this to say, when Charlotte homebuyers finally have the chance to submit an offer, it can be tempting to buy as-is, to forgo the inspections, and to not press the sellers on details of the home’s maintenance, but these inspections are of the utmost importance. KUTV reports that the “percentage of successful offers between September 2020 and February 2021 that waived the inspection almost doubled from a year before.”

Home inspections are critical to uncovering any potential electrical hazards before signing on the bottom line. One of the potential electrical hazards you’ll want to investigate is whether or not the home has Federal Pacific Electric’s “Stab Lok” circuit breakers. 

The Problem With Federal Pacific Electric’s “Stab Lok” Circuit Breakers

If you are looking to buy a Charlotte home that was built between 1960-1985, it’s important that you have a home inspection and look for the “Stab Lok” circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are supposed to trip when wires are overloaded so as to not cause an electrical fire. But, FPE Stab Lok circuit breakers aren’t doing their job.

One study found that 51% of Stab Lok circuit breakers failed to trip when overloaded. A peer-reviewed paper estimated that FPE Stab-Lok breakers may be responsible for 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage annually. 

The Washington Post reports that FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers have been investigated several times over the last few decades and many professional electricians recommend replacing any FPE Stab-Lok breakers to avoid potential hazards.

What Charlotte Homebuyers Need To Know

Although the Charlotte housing market is as competitive as ever and it may be tempting to forgo a home inspection so that you can have the home of your dreams, it’s critical to take the necessary precautions and make sure that your home is safe for your family. 

The certified and insured electricians at Viva Electric are ready to help with any of your home electrical needs. From replacing aluminum wiring to replacing your circuit breaker, our team of expert electricians can help you make sure that your new Charlotte home is safe and up to code. 

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