Many homeowners want to fix up their homes before putting them on the market for sale. They become involved in do-it-yourself projects and find they don't have the time or the skills required to complete the job.

There are several projects that homeowners can do by themselves but building extra rooms and installing flooring and appliances should be left to professionals. Electrical wiring and plumbing are other jobs that should be completed by licensed professionals.

A few of the mistakes DIY homeowners make include:

  • Not obtaining necessary permits for remodels and additions
  • Not budgeting correctly
  • Ignoring building codes
  • Not properly preparing walls and other areas for painting
  • Using the wrong tools or skimping on tools and materials
  • Installing flooring incorrectly
  • Planning beyond skill level

DIY home improvements may be more costly than you thought. It's important to shop and budget correctly before starting a project. You may find a professional service will work for the same price.

Painting and wallpaper

It's easy to paint interior rooms if you have the right type of paint, rollers, brushers, pans, drop cloths and masking tape. If you enjoy painting, this is a good project. Don't forget to paint closets and other recessed areas as well. Painting ceilings requires patience and the right equipment

People often become frustrated with the preparation and detailing. Furniture should be moved out of the room. Moldings should be removed at the floor and ceiling or covered with masking tape. Carpeting should be moved back from the walls and covered with a drop cloth.

Having enough paint for the project is also important. An inferior paint job with runs and drips will not help sell a house.

Walls must be cleaned and prepared for painting. A primer coat may be needed if you are painting a light color over a dark color. It is never a good idea to paint over wallpaper. The wallpaper should be removed first.

You can hang wallpaper on prepared walls with the old paper removed. Placing new paper over old paper is a common mistake of many DIY homeowners.

Flooring and counters

Installing new carpet over old carpet is another major mistake. There are dirt and air pockets between the two layers and the new carpet will not stay tight. Old carpeting and padding should be removed and the surface cleaned before the new floor covering is installed. Professional installers have the power stretchers necessary to fit new carpeting.

Square carpet or laminate tiles can be installed by homeowners who want to take the time to lay them out correctly and work with the messy glues. You can also install stone and porcelain tiles if you know how to use the grout and caulking materials. Many DIY installations leave ugly globs of caulk and grout. The tiles may not be installed evenly.

Carpet and tile not correctly installed can cause hazards and lower the value of your home. Professional installation is required for a finished look.

Plumbing and wiring

Good plumbing installation is very important. You may be able to replace a sink using the existing connections, but new lines should be installed by plumbers with the right tools. This is necessary to comply with codes when adding or remodeling a bathroom or kitchen.

Electrical mistakes can be dangerous. A new room or an older home should be wired with switch plates and outlets installed by an electrician. Your home has to pass inspection and meet wiring codes. A faulty DIY wiring job will be discovered with a home inspection.

Home improvements that look well planned and finished will help sell your home.