Home improvement is any renovation, remodeling, or addition to a home that increases the efficiency, comfort, and appearance of the dwelling. Home improvement projects may include the installation of insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, replacement of a furnace or water heater, kitchen or bathroom remodels, painting, landscaping, and much more. Some states have laws governing home improvement contractors and consumers should be aware of these requirements before hiring anyone to work on their homes.
Many homeowners are looking to add value to their home by undertaking a variety of projects that make it more enjoyable and/or livable. However, homeowners need to be careful not to overspend and end up putting too much value into their home. For example, if they spend $20,000 adding marble flooring to the master bathroom, it might not pay off when it comes time to sell. Instead, it is a better idea to concentrate on upgrades that are more in line with the rest of the neighborhood and that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the most popular home improvement projects among homeowners in 2019 included remodeling their bathrooms and updating their kitchens. Also popular were resurfacing their driveways and exterior painting. Homeowners were motivated to undertake these projects for a variety of reasons, including increasing their home’s resale value, making their homes more attractive, and improving the ease of maintenance in their homes.
Contractors may be individuals who specialize in performing home improvement jobs or they may be chain stores that have their own departments for these tasks. These companies typically have a permanent business address and stand behind their warranties. They are usually reliable, competitive in price, and able to provide references from previous customers.
Some contractors are licensed by a state or local agency to perform home improvement work while others operate independently. They can be found through advertisements in local newspapers, online, or by referral from friends and neighbors. Homeowners are recommended to check the license and insurance of any contractors they hire before allowing them to begin work. They should also request references and check them before committing to a project.
In New York, contractors are required to provide a written contract for all home improvement work. This contract must contain a description of the work to be performed, as well as the materials that will be used. The contract should also specify the approximate dates when the performance of the home improvement will begin and when it will be substantially completed.
A credit card can be a useful tool for financing minimal improvements that can be paid off within 12 months, such as a paint job or appliance purchase. It is important to keep in mind, though, that a credit card has interest charges and fees that can quickly add up. For this reason, it is a good idea to limit your credit card purchases to those that will be repaid in full within the first year.