The list for things you should do to your home is endless—change furnace filter, clean gutters, leave a faucet running when it’s freezing out—but there are likewise many things you shouldn’t do. Of course, “set it on fire,” “paint it all black,” and “take off the roof” are obvious, but we’ve come up with the top 8 items to be avoided that many people already do. Our apologies if you’ve already done one of these—or several.
1. Don’t do your own plumbing
If you already know how to do it, then this is just a list of the top 7 things you shouldn’t do. But even if you are an ambitious and skilled DIYer, just leave this one to the pros. It’s not so much that homeowners can’t do this or can’t learn, but most homeowners are not familiar with the safety requirements laid out in the Uniform Building Code (UBC). Plus, if you mess something up, water gets everywhere and might ruin many things. The risk versus reward of this does not play to your favor.
2. Don’t park in the yard
We know what you’re saying: anyone who cares enough about their home to read an article about things you shouldn’t do to them already knows not to do this. But you’d be surprised. Plus, we just wanted to let you know that we didn’t miss this one.
3. Don’t remove walls between rooms without knowing if it is a load-bearing wall
Certainly, if you are working with a quality contractor, this professional will know which walls can come down and which can’t. However, if you are doing it yourself, you need to ask an engineer or a solid contractor.
4. Don’t do bump-outs
Bump-outs are when you move a wall out a few feet just for a little extra space—like a bay window, but to a greater degree. The reason not to do this is simple: the cost per square foot of this improvement is so high that you might as well opt for a more sizable addition at a much lower cost per square foot. Of course, if you like the texture of pocketed space, more power to you—but also more cost to you.
5. Don’t do your own electrical
Same as with No. 1, except that you have the added danger of getting electrocuted. Not a good idea.
6. Don’t remodel too much
You might have so much money that you just need to get rid of it, and if so, we know a few charities that do some good work. However, you need to keep your remodeling within the general costs of your neighborhood. You’ve got to keep the money you put into your home realistic compared to the average price of houses that are similarly sized in your immediate area. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to get the return on your investment.
7. Don’t be the person who doesn’t take care of your yard
Every street or every neighborhood has one, but don’t be that person. You’ll get the whole neighborhood quietly hating you, making passive aggressive comments, and then one morning you wake up to find the whole block cleaning up your yard as you stand on the porch in your robe with bed head. Bad yards make the neighborhood look bad and bring property values down, plus, they’re an eyesore. If you’re really that busy, hire a lawn service or a kid from the block.
8. Never fool yourself into thinking your pets don’t stink
They do. This goes for you, too, people with small dogs. You might be used to the smell and the hair, but it’s new to your guests. Pets, while lovable, get their smell on everything. If you have pets, you need to invest in cleaning your carpets and furniture more often than usual—e.g. every 6 months—make sure that you open the windows as often as the weather permits, and vacuum as often as time allows. If you are looking to sell, you might need to repaint inside to help with the odor.