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Once you’ve completed, the removal firm has arrived and all your stuff is in your new house, it’s natural that the next step will be to make it feel more like home.

The furniture will go in the right rooms, the TV will find its new place in the corner of the living room and, after a while, even the dog will mark out a space to curl up at night.

But it probably won’t be long before you also begin to think of places to hang your pictures, put up shelves or even a wall-mounting for a new flat-screen telly.

If you’re fortunate, you may be able to find traces of fixtures and fittings which used to adorn your property when it was home to the previous owners; a few wall plugs already in the plasterwork perhaps or a square of wallpaper which isn’t quite as sun-faded as it was protected by a hanging picture frame.

If that’s the case, you’re probably fine tapping in a few picture hooks or even using the old holes to put up some shelves.

Beware the Blank Canvas

But, if it’s a pristine wall perhaps resplendent in a new coat of paint and devoid of any evidence of the previous inhabitants’ interior design choices, it might not be a good idea to start taking a hammer and nails or a drill to it until you know for sure what lies beneath.

Water pipes or electrical wires could be lurking on the other side of the plasterwork and the last thing you’ll want to do within a few days of moving in is to have to summon a plumber or an electrician to right your wrongs.

Even worse, a nail in a hidden electrical cable could mean a visit to hospital – or perhaps worse.

So, if you’re not a regular DIY enthusiast and you don’t have comprehensive array of power tools in the garage, how do you know if it’s safe to hang a mirror above the feature fireplace or a picture of the kids in the hallway?

Testing Your Metal

First of all, we’d recommend a small investment in cable detector from your local home improvement store. They’re relatively inexpensive – particularly if you consider the potential costs of a burst pipe or an electrical fire – and pretty simple to use.

All you need to do is run them over the area you intend to install shelves or hang a painting first and listen for the warning tone which will alert you to the presence of metal – either a cable or a water pipe.

However, if for one reason or another you can’t obtain one, you can also get a pretty good idea of which way electrical cables are running beneath your walls by unscrewing the plastic or metal faceplates over light switches and power sockets and examining which way the wires seem to go.

However, before you even fetch the screwdriver or wield a hammer, ENSURE YOU SWITCH THE POWER OFF AT THE MAINS. That way, even if you do nick a cable, you’ll be pretty much safe from the risk of electrocution – although you would be very much advised to call in a professional to check any damage, no matter how minimal it may seem to the inexpert eye.

Also remember, we’re Yorkshire’s online estate agents and by no means experts on DIY so, if you’re considering any alteration to your new home, we’d strongly advise you to consult with qualified professionals before you get stuck in.

Good luck … but don’t forget we’re here if you need us for any more advice on moving house. Feel free to browse earlier blogs or even give us a call or drop us a line. We’d love to assist you if we can.