Home improvement is the repairing, renovating, altering, restoring or modernizing of the interior or exterior of a residential building or converting a commercial building into a residential building. It also includes installing insulation, adding air conditioning and extending the plumbing or electrical systems to the residential building.
Certainties in life include death and taxes, but homeowners might add a third to that list: home repair and improvement projects. Whether they’re needed because of a roof leak, flood or sagging floor, these tasks are rarely pleasant and often more expensive than expected.
But there are ways to get ahead of them. Rather than simply reacting to a problem, planning ahead can help you find cost-effective solutions that will make your home more comfortable and attractive. It can also help you prioritize the best projects for resale value and homeowner happiness.
With the flu pandemic keeping many people at home for extended periods, it’s no surprise that home improvement is a top focus this year. Almost 3 in 5 homeowners report having completed home renovations during the past two years, according to a September NerdWallet survey. And while some homeowners say they took on these projects because of increased time at home due to pandemic-related social distancing, that wasn’t the only motivating factor.
Homeowners are also taking advantage of rock-bottom interest rates to finance their projects. In fact, a mortgage refinance can be a great way to pay for home improvements while saving money on your monthly payments. But with so many different loan options available, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs and budget.
NerdWallet’s home improvement tools can help you understand how much different projects will cost, how they may impact your property’s value and smart choices that can save you money. Our tools can help you estimate the total cost of your project, compare loans and even create a custom payment schedule.
In terms of which home improvements are surging this year, experts are seeing a few key trends. First, a big surge is coming in upgrades that improve a house’s energy efficiency. From windows and insulation to rooftop solar panels, these renovations will help reduce your monthly utility bills and give you a financial reprieve in an era of high inflation.
Other types of home improvement that are gaining popularity include deck construction and fence construction. These projects can be a good way to increase the amount of time you spend outdoors, and they can also boost your curb appeal.
However, it’s important to remember that your comfort and enjoyment should be a primary motivation for any home improvement. Choosing to renovate solely because of potential future resale value could result in a showy home that feels impersonal and less like your own. It’s also crucial to plan carefully and avoid impulsive upgrades, which can end up costing more than they’re worth. Instead, choose quality mid-range upgrades that can be appreciated by a wide range of potential buyers.