Home Improvement 101

Home improvement, also known as home renovation or remodeling, refers to a variety of projects that can be done to the exterior and interior of a house to improve comfort and functionality. The industry consists of the sale and installation of building materials, appliances and decor, as well as the construction, repair and maintenance of residential structures. It also includes projects that enhance a property’s appearance, such as landscaping and fence work.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lower-than-normal interest rates, home improvement remains a popular pastime for many homeowners. According to the American Housing Survey, three-fourths of homeowners say they have money set aside for home repairs or improvements, but many are unable to cover all their costs without tapping into savings or going into debt. That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider the pros and cons of any project before diving in.

It’s also important to remember that not all home improvement projects will add value. In fact, the vast majority of remodels don’t even come close to recouping their costs when it comes time to sell. That’s because the return on home improvements is highly dependent on the type of upgrade you do and the neighborhood in which you live. For example, marble countertops may impress you, but they’ll probably scare off buyers, who are looking for more affordable finishes.

That’s why it’s a good idea to consult an expert before committing to any major projects. A professional can help you determine whether your project will pay off in the long run and ensure that you don’t go over budget. A professional can also help you choose the best materials, which will increase your chances of getting the most return on your investment.

In addition, a professional can also help you avoid expensive mistakes that will make your project more costly than it needs to be. For example, if you’re considering a bathroom remodel, ask an expert to give you a realistic estimate of the cost and timeline for the job. If you do plan to hire a contractor, make sure to draw up a contract that includes a payment schedule and as much detail about the project as possible.

Homeownership has a way of awakening the inner Bob Vila in all of us, but even the most ambitious homeowners need to be smart about their home improvement goals. Getting non-negotiable details hammered out before the renovation starts will prevent the inevitable chaos that usually occurs when things don’t quite turn out as expected. And don’t forget—no amount of DIY can make up for a poorly executed project that will detract from your home’s value or turn off potential buyers. Unless you’re ready to leave the neighborhood for greener pastures, it’s always worth focusing on projects that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers. That’s why it’s so critical to do your research and choose a reliable contractor. With a little planning, you can achieve the look of your dreams without breaking the bank.