Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is the remodeling, altering, repairing, renovating or modernizing of one’s home. Some projects are intended for comfort and convenience while others may be for increasing a property’s value or to make it more appealing to potential buyers.

Some of the most popular home improvements include kitchen renovations and adding a new bathroom or bedroom. Other projects are designed to increase energy efficiency by adding insulation or upgrading the heating and air conditioning system. These upgrades can pay for themselves in lower utility bills and increased home resale value.

According to the 2021 American Housing Survey, 78% of projects surveyed were paid for with cash, with credit cards and loans making up the remaining percentage. These debts can add up quickly, especially if a project is more expensive than expected or takes longer to complete than planned. This is why homeowners should carefully consider the cost of a project before committing to it.

If a homeowner is considering borrowing money to fund a project, they should be sure to consider the total costs including interest charges. If possible, homeowners should try to save enough to pay for the work in cash or at least exhaust all other options before resorting to debt. It is also recommended that a home owner obtain quotes from multiple contractors before making a decision to ensure they are getting the best price and quality for their money.

The best way to determine if a home improvement project is worth the investment is to calculate the return on investment or ROI. This figure is based on research on home characteristics and sale prices and is calculated as a percentage. Most improvements will have an ROI of less than 100%, which means the home owner will spend more on the project than they will recoup in the sale of their property.

One mistake that homeowners often make when planning home improvement is improving their home well above the average for their neighborhood. This can lead to a higher-priced property that is not necessarily desirable for buyers in the area, especially if it is over-customized and atypical of the type of home in the neighborhood.

Many small, low-cost home improvement projects are inexpensive and can give a fresh new look to any room. These include painting walls, building shelves, and other simple DIY projects. It is also recommended that homeowners hire a reputable contractor with an established business and good customer reviews before beginning any major projects such as bathroom or kitchen renovations. Homeowners should always get a contract with the contractor that includes a timeline for work to be completed, a payment schedule and as many specifics as possible including types of materials used for each project. Homeowners should also verify a contractor’s license and insurance before hiring them. This can be done by contacting the state licensing department. A home improvement aggregator can also be an excellent resource for finding reliable contractors. This service is free to use and helps connect home owners with local contractors that meet their needs.