Home improvement is the repairing, remodeling or modernizing of a residential property. It may also refer to the construction of additions to a house, such as decks, fences or porches. Home improvements can increase the resale value of a home, or simply make it more enjoyable to live in. Some popular home improvement projects include adding an extra bedroom, bathroom or garage; converting attic or basement space; and putting in new kitchen cabinets, countertops or appliances.
Home repair and improvement projects can be expensive, but most homeowners stay within their budget, according to a NerdWallet survey published in September. Only 6% of those surveyed said they went over budget, and most people who completed a home improvement project in the past two years say they were able to do so without having to tap into savings or go into debt.
A homeowner who hires a contractor for a home improvement project should make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. The contractor should also pass a background check and have good business references. In addition, the contractor should have a physical office location and be a member of a trade organization such as the Better Business Bureau or other professional association.
While a lot of homeowners are spending money on home improvement projects, many of them aren’t getting their money’s worth when it comes time to sell their homes. In fact, a sparkling bathroom overhaul is the most popular renovation, but those kinds of projects typically bring in just a 40% return on investment when it’s time to sell. Kitchen and basement renovations are close behind, with just a 60% return.
Some home improvements cost more than others, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each one before making a decision. For example, adding an extra bedroom can add a lot of value to your home, but it might not be practical if you only have one bathroom. It’s also important to update your home insurance policy when you make major renovations, especially if they significantly boost your home’s value.
For those looking to save a little money on a home improvement project, there are plenty of do-it-yourself options available. For instance, painting and power-washing are inexpensive ways to give your home a facelift that will add value when it’s time to sell. But before you start any work, it’s a good idea to talk to a real estate agent about what projects will make your home more appealing to buyers. It’s also a good idea to get a permit if your city requires it.