Home improvement refers to the repair, maintenance or restoration of residential real estate. It can include projects ranging from simple carpentry work to a total overhaul of a kitchen or bathroom.
A homeowner’s home improvement budget reflects their preferences, as well as the needs of their property. Generally, homeowners spend a larger percentage of their budget on home repairs and improvements than they do on purchasing new homes.
During COVID-19, Home improvement, remodeling and repair projects increased in popularity among both Millennials and Baby Boomers. TV shows such as HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” and “This Old House” helped inspire a desire to fix things around the home, while ebooks and database resources provided information to help people get started.
While many DIY projects require little more than a good pair of tools and some know-how, other renovations can be a bit trickier and may need the expertise of professional contractors. It’s also important to consider the resale value of a given project when making choices about what to do.
If you want to improve the resale value of your home, be sure to avoid projects that will turn potential buyers off. The most common mistake is over-personalizing a space with high-end materials or extras that don’t add to the home’s function. For example, a recording studio may be fun to own and use, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will increase the home’s overall value when it comes time to sell.
Other popular projects include adding trim to windows, re-grouting tile and power washing the exterior of a home. These small projects are easy to do and can add a significant amount of value to your home.
Most home improvement projects are paid for with cash, according to the 2021 American Housing Survey. In fact, about 78% of homeowners who have taken on home improvement projects over the past two years have spent most of their money on cash.
When it comes to hiring a contractor, choose a professional who is qualified, screened and insured. Look for a business that has a fixed location and a commitment to quality workmanship. Ask for references and be sure to read their contracts before signing them.
Make sure the contractor is licensed by your state’s licensing agency and has experience with your type of home improvement. The licensing process typically requires them to pass a test on home improvement law and general business competency.
In addition, a home improvement contractor’s license may require them to maintain certain insurance and bonding requirements. If the contractor doesn’t have these, it’s wise to find another one.
It’s a good idea to have a contract with your contractor that details the work to be done, the cost and a payment schedule. This will prevent you from getting stuck with a bill for unpaid materials or an unfinished job.
The best home improvement contractors will be willing to provide a written contract that contains all the details of the project. This can include a description of the work to be performed, the date by which the project is expected to be completed and the types and brands of materials that will be used.