Home improvement, also known as renovation, is the process of improving or making additions to one’s home. This is typically done for a variety of reasons; personal preference, comfort or as a means to save money. It may also be undertaken to increase the resale value of a home or simply for an aesthetic update. It may include anything from changing paint colors to putting on a new roof.
In the United States, home improvement is a multi-billion dollar industry. The industry includes contractors, specialty tradespeople and the supply chain that support them. The most common areas for home improvement are kitchens, bathrooms and basements. The home improvement industry is highly competitive, with many companies offering a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of consumers.
The home improvement industry is often seen as a symbol of middle class America. It has been credited with the boom in homeownership that took place after World War II. Government mortgage insurance programs for veterans and suburban housing construction encouraged the improvement of existing homes, as well as the building of new ones. Large builders such as Levitt and Sons dominated the new construction market, accounting for two-thirds of all home construction by 1956.
Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom to a home is considered one of the most important and desirable improvements homeowners can make to their property. In addition, renovating or adding a deck, garage or porch can increase the resale value of your home.
However, not all home improvements add value. Depending on the type of renovation, it can actually decrease your home’s value. If you’re considering a home improvement project, it’s essential to understand how these projects affect resale value before beginning the work.
A common mistake is to hire a contractor without researching their background. You should check with the Better Business Bureau and speak to friends and neighbors about their experiences with contractors. You should also get references from previous customers. In addition, it is essential to find out if the contractor is licensed in your state. If they are not, you may be liable if someone is injured on the job.
The best way to ensure that you are getting a good deal is to write up a contract before any work begins. This should include a description of the work to be performed and the materials to be used. It should also contain the approximate dates when the performance of the home improvement will begin and when it will be substantially completed. If possible, it should also specify brand names and specific types of materials. Finally, you should withhold final payment until the contractor has completed the work and all inspections and certificates of occupancy have been obtained. This protects you as a consumer and also helps to keep the contractor honest.