Home Improvement 101

Home improvement refers to any type of remodeling or renovation project that enhances the value and livability of a residential building. This can include but is not limited to remodeling and repairing kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and other living areas; adding a deck or patio; installing a new roof; painting, wallpapering, or replacing carpet; and removing mold and mildew. It can also include building fences, driveways, and walkways; and constructing and repairing detached garages, sheds, and fences.

Home improvements are one of the main ways that homeowners upgrade their homes, and they can provide a great return on investment. However, before beginning a home improvement project, it is important to plan the work carefully and set a budget for the project. This will help ensure that the project is completed within a reasonable amount of time and does not exceed the homeowner’s budget.

A homeowner can make a number of different home improvements, and many projects can be done with DIY tools and supplies. Many homeowners also hire a professional contractor to complete larger or more complicated home improvement projects. It is important to do your research before hiring a contractor for a home improvement project, as some contractors have a reputation for poor customer service and may not be licensed or insured.

Some projects, such as a kitchen or bathroom renovation, can be quite expensive and require specialized knowledge. It is recommended that you consult with a home improvement expert to discuss your ideas and options before you begin a project. A home improvement expert can provide you with information about the project and its cost, as well as suggest potential changes that could save you money in the long run.

The pandemic prompted an uptick in home renovations, with 3 in 5 homeowners having undertaken at least one project since the start of the pandemic. According to a NerdWallet survey, these projects cost homeowners $6,438, on average. Early in the pandemic, a majority of these projects were kitchen or bath upgrades; other popular renovations included security systems and insulation installations.

But as homeowners return to their daily routines, these improvements are slowing down. The nation’s two largest home improvement retailers say shoppers are shifting from major remodels to cheaper, do-it-yourself fixes like tub-to-shower conversions and shower curtains.

Other factors are likely at play, including a continuing labor shortage and rising costs for materials and energy. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts that major home renovation spending will hit a peak this year and begin to decline in 2024. That said, many homeowners will still have projects on their to-do list — especially those who want to sell their homes in the near future.