Things To Never Do To Your Home
By Collin Nowak
The list of things we should do to our homes is virtually endless. Of course regular home maintenance is one of the most important ones you should do. Today we are going to cover some things that you shouldn’t ever do to your home. Some of these things will be obvious and some won’t. The list isn’t meant to be complete, just the big items that people make the mistake of doing most frequently. Let’s get started!
- Don’t do your own plumbing.Unless you’re a plumber, then by all means do it yourself. The rest of us however don’t have a license and therefore don’t know all the codes that protect us from things like slow drains and flooding. Now, we’re not talking about removing the p-trap to fix a clog. We also know that many of us are very accomplished handymen and women. However, the potential for water damage or code compliance issues coming up in an inspection later are just too high to risk it. Remember, these codes are for the safety of us and our families. Modifications to the plumbing system in your home should always be done by a licensed professional.
- Don’t park in the yard.This isn’t just unsightly or annoying to the neighbors. Parking in the yard can cause damage to grass and soil from lack of sun light and leaking chemicals from the car. If you just don’t have enough space for cars, consider widening the driveway, cleaning out and or expanding the garage, or asking a neighbor to park in front of their house. This just creates a nicer looking neighborhood too.
- Don’t move or remove wallswithout being certain they are not load bearing. The best way to know is by having a consultation from a highly qualified contractor or better yet a licensed structural engineer. They will have the knowledge required to identify the characteristics of a load bearing wall and tell you where and how far you can move it if it is. They may even have insights on what you can do instead of moving the wall.
- Don’t do bump-outs.Bump-outs are moving an exterior wall out a couple feet for a tiny bit of extra space in an existing room. This practice is costly with very little value in return. The better option is actually springing for the addition of a room. The per square foot cost of a room addition, while high, gives greater value to the home by increasing square footage at a minimum. If the addition if functional, well done, and well decorated, it can become a huge value to your family and money well spent when it comes time to sell.
- Don’t do your own electrical. Just like the first rule, but electricity is a different kind of dangerous. Electrocution can kill in a fraction of a second, and shorts or miss-wiring can cause fires when you least expect them. Please leave this to the pros.
- Don’t remodel too much.This one isn’t so self-explanatory. Remember, when you bought your home. You had a price in mind, and only looked in areas where that budget could get you what you were looking for in a home. Many new neighborhoods actually have the price range of the homes being built in the area, like “mid 300’s – 1M’s.” This typically becomes the price cap on the neighborhood and tends to determine a maximum acceptable value of a home with similar square footage in the area. If our home is sitting very close to our neighborhood’s “price cap” we might not actually get the extra $200k in value out of the $100k remodel we did. Basically we have to know the market and what we can expect out of it in light of the remodels we want to undertake. The best thing to do is discuss your remodel plans with your realtor during the planning process of your renovations and not start until you are certain you’ll get the return on investment you are looking for.
- Don’t be the person who doesn’t take care of your yard.No-one likes that person on the block, and it seems that every neighborhood, no matter how fancy, has one. Everyone has heard that these yards bring down property values, and it’s true. When you go to look at a house and the neighbor’s yard is over grown it actually makes the home you’re looking at a little less appealing, right? Absolutely! It’s worse when you live next to that person and you have to work overtime on your lawn and beds to off-set or compensate for your neighbor’s lawn. If you’re just that busy, hire a crew, or make a set day of the week where the whole family helps with the yard.
- Never fool yourself into thinking your pets don’t stink. Every animal no matter how small, produces odors and, sheds skin cells and hair. While living with and loving on our pets we often become so used to this that it doesn’t bother us in the slightest. To our neighbors and guests though it can be downright offensive. Your responsibility as a pet owner needs to include deep cleaning the house more regularly than others. This includes the carpets and furniture. Also, open the windows whenever weather permits to bring in as much fresh air as possible. Lastly, a fresh coat of paint works wonders for getting rid of strong odors stuck to the walls. These things are crucial if you are in the selling process.