We are so used to having good electrical service that we take it for granted, and sometimes to our peril, particularly with older homes. Many of those homes have great locations and a good many of the amenities we want for enjoyable living. It is also true that professional home inspectors report that 1 in 3 of those same homes have serious electrical problems that usually go undetected without a thorough inspection of the electrical panel.
Significant problems can remain even after a thorough and competent home inspection, and that is why signs of amateur electrical work should always trigger concerns about what remains unseen. It is also true that certain electrical panels and some wiring types have been targeted as fire hazards. In many cases, the home owner is completely oblivious to a potential threat to the lives of their family, let alone the house itself.
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This is certainly amateur workmanship and very incomplete, at that. When things like this are found in homes, it is a huge warning that amateurs have been at work. This is of concern but a greater concern is what you do not see. Much of the electrical work will be hidden by finish materials, junction boxes in walls and ceilings, connections made at receptacles, switches, light fixtures, appliances, etc. All of those connections are important, as well as the integrity and continuity of the various circuitry.
Intelligent home buyers who discover things like this will automatically budget for the services of a professional to come on site, make an extensive survey, and provide an estimate for repairs. Such estimates are likely to be large and open ended, in that they are subject to increase based on discoveries made while repairs are underway.