6 Things Homeowners Should Do and Not Do

It is finally Spring. That often means that DIYers will be out in full force. Home improvement projects are one of the most satisfying endeavors out there. Of course, those projects are only satisfying if they are done correctly and with success. Otherwise, they will end up costing you far more time and money than you ever anticipated.

I am certainly no contractor. As a real estate investor, I happily contract out as much labor as I possibly can. I have an awesome general contractor that's like family at this point and quite a few sub-contractors that make my life easier. If you do not consider yourself very handy, I absolutely recommend that you just hire out the work to a qualified professional. Not only are skilled professionals going to turn in good word, but they will also do it MUCH quicker than the average person. Not to mention they hold all of the necessary licenses and insurances to do the more detrimental jobs. As a homeowner, you are allowed to undertake most home improvement jobs, however, there are many projects that are just too dangerous or complicated and require that you hire a licensed professional to complete them.

Since my business is quite young and I still have much to learn, I do take on many more projects at my rehabs than I would really like to. I have learned an incredible amount in a very short time. There are so many regulations, codes and taboos that I was never aware of before starting my business. Houselogic.com does a very good job pointing out a few common don'ts in, "What Not to Do as a New Homeowner." 

There are many more than 6 don'ts when it comes to home repairs and improvements, however these 6 are some that can mitigate many common mistakes. Here are the 6 things that any homeowner should be aware of, especially new ones!

  1. Know where your main water shutoff valve is! And get a water shutoff wrench (key)! Any time that you have a plumbing issue in your home, the first thing that you should do to avoid further damage is to shut the water off completely. The main shutoff valve for most homes sits inside of a metal box near the street, usually in the front yard of a home. Locate this. Shutting the water off when you have leak can save you thousands of dollars. Also, go ahead and get the correct wrench for these valves from your hardware store. They are very difficult to turn on/off with a regular wrench. The shutoff valve key is designed for this job and only costs about $8.00.
  2. If you are going to dig any holes in your yard, make sure you dial 811. It is easy to remember. 811 is a service that will have all of your service providers come to your home within the next day or two and either spray paint or flag everywhere that there is a major line beneath ground in your yard. These include, water supply, sewage, gas, cable, etc. This is really a great service. You might think putting a new mailbox sounds easy until you pierce a gas line and your whole block gets evacuated...
  3. Check your foundation's soil grade. That is to make sure that the soil surrounding your home slopes away from the foundation of the home. This slope does not need to be dramatic. The rule of thing is 6" for ever 10' of ground. This resists standing water from pooling at the foundation of your home, which can weaken the foundation.
  4. Check your attics insulation. Especially here in the South. Insulation can lose it's loft over time (like a down jacket). In order for the insulation in your attic to do it's job properly, it needs enough volume to act as an insulator. Make sure that your insulation is at least 10 inches deep. 12 inches is pretty standard. 
  5. Don't drill/hammer into your walls without consideration. I know it seems like it's safe. However, it really does help to just take a look at where your hammering/drilling. Is there an outlet directly below? Don't hammer/drill there. Often, the electrical is fished down from the ceiling. To avoid both electrocution and ruining outlets, just move over a foot or two. It is also very easy to puncture your HVAC's ductwork if it is in the wall. If your ductwork has a hole in it, you will be losing your heat/air in the wall, which costs money!
  6. Do not cut down trees if you don't know what you are doing! Hire it out to the experts. Trust me. I have cut down innumerable "little" trees that turned out to be much more problematic that originally thought. If I didn't at least have the right tools at the time, it could have become a much more dangerous endeavor. It is much easier to down a power line, break a window or just destroy something than you think when felling trees. 

That's all for now! Remember to contact me if you are in need of a Realtor® or have any questions regarding real estate or real estate investing!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-Troy Franklin Gandee