There are many repair issues that realtors will encounter throughout their career. Here are a couple of the most popular, along with the quick fixes to keep your client thinking that you know everything about your business.

“I Don’t Have Any Power In My Bathroom!”

This is one of the most common calls I get, and it really is difficult to get people to believe that they can solve this problem by themselves. Typically, all you need is your index finger.

There are safety features in your home’s electrical system. If you have electrical outlets near wet locations (bathrooms, kitchen, garage, exterior of the house), you should have Ground FaultProtection.

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety tool that protects against electrical shock caused by a faulty plug, cord or appliance. It senses small changes in electrical current and can shut off the power faster than you can blink your eyes. But all kidding aside, a GFCI could save you from a potentially deadly shock.The GFCI receptacle has two buttons in the middle to periodically test that it is functioning properly. One button is labeled “test” and the other is labeled “reset.” When you press the test button, the power to that receptacle should shut off immediately. To restore the power, depress the reset button. The power to additional receptacles may also shut off if they are downstream of that GFCI. In this case, those additional outlets should be labeled “GFCI protected outlet,” but this is not always the case.

So, the fix here is to reset the GFCI outlet by depressing the “reset” button. Realize that the GFCI outlet in question may not even be located in the bathroom, but rather in the garage, the kitchen, on an exterior wall, etc…so look around until you find it. You may have GFCI protection even though you don’t see a GFCI outlet. In your home’s main electrical panel, there may be a GFCI circuit breaker. This breaker has a test switch on it to ensure that the outlets in the circuit are operating properly. If this is the case at your home, the circuit breaker will trip to a middle position. Just turn it off and then turn it back on.

You will have to figure out why the GFCI outlet tripped. You may want to unplug whatever you have plugged in to the circuit and then eliminate possible sources.

“My Garbage Disposal Is Broken And It Needs To Be Replaced!”

Another very popular call is that the garbage disposal has stopped working. If it is leaking, then you should prepare yourself fo replacing it as the disposal may have corroded and developed a leak. However, usually the disposal has stopped working because it is jammed with last night’s potato peels, or remnants of a broken glass, or…

Once again, prepare your trusty index finger for a quick remedy.

When you flip the switch for your disposal and it doesn’t make any noise, it may just be jammed. When the motor overheats or is overloaded, the motor will shut off and trip a “reset” button. This little red button will be located on the bottom of your disposal (sometimes this button is located on the side of the disposal and may be black). With the switch in the off position, just press the reset button. Pressing the button back in will re-start the motor (you should also test the outlet tomake sure there is power getting to the disposal and, if not, check the breaker).

Now turn the switch on. You will probably hear a humming noise, which means you get to clear the obstruction. This will take just a little bit more than just your pointer finger.

If the disposal makes a humming noise, but doesn’t grind food, it is jammed. Most disposals come with a tool to clear a jam. If you have lost yours, you can use an Allen wrench. Take the tool and insert it in the hole at the underside of the disposal. As you push and pull the tool, you will hear and feel the obstruction. Keep moving the tool back-and-forth until the blades move freely. If you still can’t budge the blades, you may need to remove the disposal and manually clean out the obstruction.

Some “builder-specials” (very inexpensive units) won’t have a reset button to depress, and so really your only option to clear the obstruction will be your trusty broom handle. Take the handle and place it into the top of the disposal and try to get the blades to turn (you obviously want the power turned off to the disposal while you do this). Be gentle though, some cheap stainless sinks may flex if you put too much elbow grease into it.