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When the time comes to sell your house you will find there are dozens of projects that will need taking care of before you are ready to list your home.

For the big issues like a new roof or air conditioning, you will definitely need to enlist the aid of trained professionals.  They have the tools and expertise to ensure the job is done correctly, saving you time and wasted effort if not a liability claim later down the road.

Then there are smaller things you can take care of on your own. You can clean the place up and put on a fresh coat of paint without much problem if you have the time.

Finally, there are those things that fall in between the two extremes. Things like electrical work.

Before you sell your house you really need to make sure that the electrical system is working well. Electricity can be scary.

Step One: Turn on all the lights.

Every light in the house should be working. You don’t want a potential home buyer to flip a switch and nothing happens.  It sends a bad signal. 

If a light isn’t working check the obvious.  Is it plugged in? If the bulb isn’t working then change it.

When you have checked all the lights make note of the ones that aren’t. Are they grouped in one room or along one wall?  It could be a circuit breaker issue and you can fix it by flipping a switch.

Try mixing and matching lamps and outlets to determine if the fault is in the lamp or the house’s electrical system.  If it’s the outlet, mark it with some blue tape so you can remember where the issues are for later. Unless you have the skills to wire an outlet, leave it for a professional, there is plenty more you can do on your own.

Step Two: Repair and Replace

After you have determined which lights or outlets work and which don’t, you can start to work on some more of the aesthetic areas of your house’s electrical system. Take a look at the fixtures and wall plates.

Wall switches get touched dozens of times a day sometimes and they gradually start to show their age. They can get dirty and cracked over time and you might not have even noticed. It should be quick work with a screwdriver to replace them with a fresh look. Just make sure that all of the plates in a room match.

Now you can go room to room and look at the light fixtures. At the very least they can probably use a good dusting but there might be some cracks that you haven’t noticed or they might simply be outdated. If you are simply changing the shade or replacing a cracked globe go for it!  If the entire fixture needs to be replaced you might want to go ahead and purchase a new one, and have it ready for an electrician to take care of the electrical wiring.

Step 3: The little things

Here are a couple of things that may seem small but might stick in a home buyer’s mind.  

Does the doorbell actually work? You may have lived in the house for years and only rarely used your front door. Go push that button and check it out.

Do you have any mystery switches? Either part of a multi-switch plate or standing alone on the wall, these are switches that seem to do nothing at all. It may not have bothered you but no one likes a mystery when they are buying a house.  Have the electrician check them out and if they actually do nothing, remove them.

Step Four: Call in the electrician

When you have done everything you are comfortable with you will want to call in a professional.  Don’t push this too far. You might think you will save some money but you will pay in the long run if the wiring isn’t done properly and inspected.

Before you call, make a list.  Jot down all those outlets that were not working.  List the new fixtures you want to be installed and have them in the rooms you want them installed in.

Make note of any questions you have about switches or circuit breakers or the like. Now you have your plan of attack.  Call in the Pro.  Make sure they understand the list and let them go to work!

Step 5: Light her up!

When you are showing your house, turn on every light in the place.  Dazzle them with the brilliance of clean fixtures, new switches, and efficient energy. Even the lights in the closets. 

Don’t leave any dark corners.  You want the place as light and inviting as possible for your open house.


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