The Property Brothers: Don't 'cheap out' when making these home improvements

Photo by Sam Becker

Renovating or remodeling your home is a great way to add to its value. But if you opt to do the work yourself, it's easy to get in over your head.

"There are a million projects you can take on," Jonathan Scott, a licensed contractor and one of the stars of the HGTV show "Property Brothers," said at the recent Property Brothers and Chase on Sweat Equity event in New York City. He issued a warning for would-be DIYers: "It's not worth working outside of your comfort zone."

Doing so carries expensive risks: You could end up diminishing the value of your home, injuring yourself, and even opening yourself up to legal consequences if you don't get the right permits and use the right professionals.

"When you sell your home, in the fine print of every real estate contract in the country, it says, 'Do you have all of the permits required?'" Scott says. "If you don't disclose in writing that you did not get those permits, and, say, 10 years down the road the house burns down from faulty electrical work that you did, you're still liable."

With that in mind, here are three projects best left to licensed professionals, or, as Scott says, that you don't want to "cheap out on."

If you don't disclose in writing that you did not get those permits, and, say, 10 years down the road the house burns down from faulty electrical work that you did, you're still liable.
Jonathan Scott
Contractor, TV star

1. Electrical work

Taking a DIY-approach to your home's electrical and wiring systems can be dangerous, with risks ranging from fire to electric shock. Not only that, but it's generally complicated work — which is why local laws often require you to use a licensed electrician. Even if they don't, contractors, including the Scott brothers, typically recommend you hire one.

2. Plumbing

Working on your home's plumbing, like its electrical systems, can be risky. You could, for instance, inadvertently create a leak, generating extensive damage and leading to mold. While it's one thing to replace a fixture like a faucet, bigger, more systemic changes like pipe replacements or plumbing for a new bathroom require a licensed plumber.

3. Structural construction

Scott also recommends that the average DIYer steer clear of any home projects that require fixing or altering the major structural workings of your home. That includes demolishing walls or load-bearing pillars, which could possibly lead to a collapse. You could also find yourself dealing with unpleasant and dangerous contaminants, like mold or asbestos.

So, while you may feel confident in your ability to swing a hammer, know your limits and be ready to hand big home projects off to the pros.

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