Which Home Improvements Are Worth the Investment?

The home improvement industry is booming, and many homeowners are looking for ways to improve their homes without spending a fortune. However, it’s important to remember that not all home improvements are created equal. In fact, some home improvements may actually decrease your home’s value. So, before you start tearing down walls and buying power tools, read on to learn more about which home improvements are actually worth the investment.

Home improvement is the repairing, remodeling, renovating, altering, converting, or modernizing of the whole or any part of a residential building. It includes construction, installation, and repair of a heating system, air conditioning unit, plumbing and electrical systems, roofs, foundations, exterior finishes, porches, patios, decks, and fences. It also includes any structure or parts of structures built for recreational purposes, such as detached garages, garden sheds, playhouses, and gazebos. However, it does not include appurtenant recreational facilities, nonpermanent construction materials, and off-site work.

Choosing the Right Contractor

Home renovation projects can be expensive, but hiring the wrong contractor can cost you even more in the long run. To avoid costly mistakes, you should always research contractors before deciding to hire one. Ask for referrals from friends and family members who have used a contractor in the past, and be sure to check out their reviews online. You should also find out whether the contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded.

A licensed contractor will have a current Business Entity Number (BEN), a current General Liability Insurance policy with limits at least equal to the State minimum, and an active Home Improvement Contractor License. Additionally, a licensee must sign and date each contract for home improvement work. The contract must contain a description of the work to be performed, the material to be used, and the approximate dates when the performance will begin and end. Additionally, the contract must include a mandatory arbitration clause that specifies: the name of the person or organization that will conduct the arbitration; whether any mandatory fees will be charged to the parties for the arbitration and the fee schedule; if the arbitrator’s findings are binding; and a disclosure that any claim against the Guaranty Fund will be stayed until the completion of the arbitration proceedings.

The most popular home improvement projects are kitchen and bathroom renovations, followed by window and door replacements. These upgrades increase your home’s resale value and make it more enjoyable to live in. Other top home improvement projects include installing a new driveway, adding a shed or outdoor patio, and painting your house.

Considering the cost of these projects, it’s essential to prioritize which ones are truly necessary and which ones can wait. For example, adding a room to accommodate a growing family is a necessity while replacing your living room carpet is not. Also, it’s worth comparing loan offers to find the best rates and terms. Pre-qualifying for a home improvement loan can help you speed up the process by providing lenders with documentation of your employment and income, which they’ll use to verify your information.