Although the real estate market has cooled a bit compared to a couple of years ago, experts agree that the spring and summer remain the “hottest” times to sell a home. If you’re considering making a move in the coming months, now is the time to prepare.
One particular element of home selling prep that most folks overlook is the home’s electrical system and how much it can affect; from attracting potential buyers to making sure everything goes smoothly on settlement day.
Here’s why it’s crucial to take a second look at the state of your home’s electrical system before putting it on the market, as well as some residential electrical upgrades you can make to maximize the selling price.
Does your home follow the rules?
Before your real estate agent plants that sign out front, and before you can even start scheduling open houses and negotiating with potential buyers, you need to make sure that the house is up to code. Building codes exist to keep families and property safe, and there are national as well as local codes (Maryland, City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, etc.) keeping everything in check.
Because electricity can be particularly hazardous, electrical codes take on added importance no matter where you live. Your selling agent will be able to offer some general code guidance as they evaluate and prepare to list your residence, however, it’s wise to consult with a professional local electrician, too. There are several signs that your home isn’t up to electrical code that only someone with the proper knowledge will be able to spot.
What to double check, and why it’s worth it
Bring in a trusted electrician—preferably a local one who knows the codes and electrical issues common to homes in the area—to take a good look at any home improvement work that was done while you lived in your home. Yep, this means even the small stuff.
Common projects that fall into this category are “simple” things like new appliance installations, workshop setups, lighting upgrades and fan installations. Or if things got a bit more involved and you opted to renovate the main bathroom, did you or the contractor replace the old outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCIs?
Plus, if your residence is more than 50 years old, there’s a good chance that it has either aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring. Builders commonly used that type of wiring in homes built in the Baltimore area decades ago. Its presence is now considered a fire risk and it causes code compliance headaches in some cases as well. And while they’re rich with charm and character, many older homes lack the proper GFCI outlets in “wet” spaces such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and unfinished basements.
Why is all of this so important? Most banks and insurance companies won’t offer their services (mortgage loans and homeowner’s insurance) to residences that aren’t up to code. Offering a noncompliant property also severely shrinks the pool of potential buyers—or just eliminates it altogether. On the outside chance that you find a cash buyer for a noncompliant or “as-is” residence, it’ll likely come with a lower selling price.
An even if you sell your house “as-is,” it doesn’t mean you can skip code compliance. If you know of potential electrical issues and fail to disclose them to the buyer, Maryland law stipulates that you’re liable for accidents or injuries caused by a noncompliant electrical system. Selling a home is stressful enough, and nobody wants a lawsuit!
Boost curb appeal (and sale price) with these home electrical upgrades
With compliance out of the way, you can focus on a variety of small and medium-sized projects that will make your residence brighter, trendier and more valuable. Such as:
- Outdoor lighting. Boost curb appeal in a big way by illuminating your residence’s front entryway or landscaping around the property. Plus, trendy patio lighting can have prospective buyers instantly picturing themselves enjoying the outdoors in that space.
- Indoor lighting. Kitchens are known to be the “heart” of the home, and they’re also where lots of a home’s value comes from. Electrical upgrades for kitchens such as under-cabinet lighting and pantry/closet lights automatically give a premium and cozy feel that will make prospective buyers fall in love with the heart of your house.
- Modern tech. Contemporary electrical and wiring upgrades like EV charger installation, occupancy sensors and proper hardwiring for advanced networking give prospective buyers the features they want in a “forever home.”
Regardless of which residential electrical upgrades you want to make prior to selling your house, remember that it’s best to hire an experienced electrician for any electrical work!
Fortunately, Milton Electric is standing by ready to help. Their experienced and friendly team will evaluate the readiness of your home for today’s market from a safety and code perspective, and will take care of any electrical upgrades you have in mind.
Before you call your real estate agent—and before the market heats up this spring and summer—get in touch with the Milton team. Simply call 410-680-3002 or click here today.
At Milton Electric, we have the skills to handle various electrical tasks, from installing ceiling fans to wiring new homes. With our expertise and years of experience, we are committed to delivering top-notch electrical services that meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Trust us to get the job done right.