Home improvement is the process of improving your residential or noncommercial property. It can be done on your own or with the help of a contractor. It can involve the installation or replacement of any materials in your home, including plumbing, electrical work and roofing, as well as a range of other tasks.
During the 2021 survey period, homeowners spent an estimated $624 billion on home improvement projects. That’s a record high, and it means American households are spending more than ever before on making their homes safer, more comfortable and more functional.
The biggest home improvements include adding new bathrooms and bedrooms, renovating kitchens, building decks and putting up fences. Other projects include refinishing or painting floors, installing appliances and lighting, replacing or upgrading windows and doors, adding insulation, sprucing up landscaping and creating an outdoor living space.
While many homeowners are focusing on larger-scale renovations, others are choosing to make smaller updates that make their home more comfortable and appealing. Some of these are minor repairs — things that were put off because of contract backlogs or supply chain delays, for example — while others are giving their homes a much-needed facelift.
One of the biggest reasons to do a home improvement project is to increase the value of your property. This is known as a “capital improvement.” If you’re planning to sell your house in the future, these improvements will add a significant portion of its overall value.
However, don’t overspend on your home improvements if you want to get the best return on your investment. For instance, if you’re thinking of selling your house in six months, don’t spend money on renovations that will cost more than the average price in your neighborhood.
Also, be sure to consider whether or not the improvements you’re making will be tax-deductible. Some renovations, such as solar energy systems, can yield tax credits at the time they’re made.
Another important factor is that you should never hire a contractor who hasn’t been licensed by the state. A licensed contractor will be familiar with all local building and codes laws, as well as the permits required for your specific project.
In addition, a licensed contractor should be able to provide you with a written contract detailing the scope of work, a schedule for the completion of the project, the cost and an estimated payment schedule. It should also contain warranties for any materials or workmanship.
Lastly, make sure that the contractor is insured. A worker injured or damaged on your property could be held liable, and the insurance policy should cover you for any damages or loss that occur during the construction.
It is always a good idea to make a list of the changes you want to have made and to have several contractors quote prices for the work you need done. This will give you the best opportunity to secure a competitive price and avoid surprises. It will also enable you to ferret out unscrupulous contractors who might try to persuade you to have additional work done that you don’t need or want.