Home improvement is the process of renovating or repairing a house or other building to make it more comfortable, attractive, or functional. It includes maintenance work such as painting and repairing broken items, but also may include major renovations such as adding rooms or re-designing an existing space. In the United States, home improvement is a large industry. It includes the sale of building materials and appliances for home use, as well as the professional services provided by contractors, tradespeople, and others who help homeowners perform renovation or repair projects.
The NerdWallet article cites data from the American Housing Survey (AHS) that indicates homeowner spending on home improvements has been surging lately. It focuses on specific categories of work, such as deck construction or installing a fence, that appear to be enjoying particularly high demand. Some of those categories — like whole-house remodels or replacing roof shingles — can be expensive, and they don’t necessarily offer the best return on investment.
However, there are plenty of home improvement projects that can be done at a much more reasonable cost. For instance, painting a room or re-grouting tile are relatively cheap and simple ways to make a big difference in the appearance of a home. And a number of other DIY projects can add substantial value without busting the bank.
When hiring a contractor to do home improvement, it’s important to get all promises in writing. This can protect consumers in the event that a dispute should arise. The contract should contain a timeline for when work will be completed, as well as a payment schedule and as many specifics as possible on the project itself, such as types or brands of materials. It should also specify that any payment will be withheld until the work is complete and all required inspections or certificates of occupancy are finalized.
In general, it’s a good idea to compare home improvement estimates from multiple contractors before making a decision. However, price should never be the only factor taken into account, as contractors can vary greatly in their quality of work and ability to finish a job on time or even at all.
Some home improvement projects are simply necessities, such as fixing a leaky roof or a crack in the foundation. These projects can’t be put off, as they can lead to significant and costly damage if left unattended.
Other home renovations are designed to increase a home’s resale value when the time comes to sell it. This is often a wise financial move, as homeowners typically recoup about 60% of the cost of a major kitchen or bathroom remodel, according to a study by Zonda Media. However, if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, be sure to consult with a real estate agent about what kinds of remodeling projects will have the greatest impact on resale value. They can provide you with a list of the most popular and effective upgrades for your specific area.