If you’re one for stereotypes, then you may believe folk thinking of selling their homes this year will have waited until around now to get it ready for the market and will therefore spend this bank holiday and the next doing some DIY around the house.

In reality, whether the people in the check-out queue at Homebase are on the move or not, it’s certainly the busiest time of year for the home improvement stores.

So, with that in mind, we’ve done a little swotting up on dos and don’ts and, by consensus, the expert opinion seems to be:

DON’T muck about with the electrics if you’re not properly qualified. It may be, when you switch the power back on, the neat gadget, socket or light fitting seems to work fine. The problem is, if the wiring hasn’t been installed correctly, it can heat up and cause a fire. If a subsequent investigation reveals your recent handiwork was the cause, it’s entirely possible your insurance company won’t pay out.

DON’T knock down internal walls willy nilly. There seems to be something atavistic about taking a sledge hammer to a wall; we’ve even heard of parties and barbecues being arranged around their ceremonial destruction. However, some walls are load-bearing and some are not and the crucial bit is knowing the difference. Get it wrong and your house could fall down around your ears – and, again, your insurance company is unlikely to help.

DON’T try to install any appliances which run off mains gas if you’re not a proper engineer. Again, it may be that the fire or the hob you fit seem fine but the consequences of a miscalculation can be even more catastrophic and, again – even if you survive the blast – your insurance policy could be worthless.

DON’T start a project on a whim, particularly if you’ve indulged in a bank holiday drink or two. Do some research first – particularly if you’re thinking of selling. You don’t want to find yourself up to you knees in old wallpaper or brick dust when you only have a day or so before you have to be back at your desk at work. Give yourself time and make sure you have the materials and tools you need to do a proper job and it’ll end up being far less stressful.

DO make sure you know your limits. If you’re not sure about your painting, tiling or papering skills, try them out first in an area where it doesn’t matter so much if you get it wrong.

DO check where your pipes and cables are before you start. Even the simplest job can suddenly become a lot more complicated if you hammer a nail in the wrong place. There are plenty of “How To …” videos on YouTube if you need a hand but a basic instruction would be to steer clear of areas around switches and sockets.

DO tell your neighbours before you start. Inconsiderate hammering and drilling from next door can the root cause for friction, particularly in a semi-detached property so, if you can, why not come to a mutually agreed time when work will take place? After all, some DIY work can be stressful enough without having to contend with an irate neighbour.

So, if you’re going to be breaking out the tools or the paint rollers this weekend, good luck – and, if the plan is to put the house on the market later in the summer, why not give us call? We’d be happy to offer a no-obligation valuation to get you started.

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