Home improvement is the process of making changes to improve the function, safety or appearance of a residence. These projects may be undertaken by homeowners or by professional contractors. Home improvements may add beauty, increase usable space or upgrade the electrical, plumbing and heating systems. In addition, a homeowner may choose to make home improvements for resale or to accommodate family members with special needs.
A homeowner who is considering a major home improvement project should carefully consider cost recovery and their own satisfaction with the finished product. In general, a well planned and executed renovation will result in increased enjoyment of the home and possibly a higher resale value. However, if a project is poorly executed and costs more than expected, the homeowner could end up in financial difficulty.
In recent years, the popularity of DIY television shows and online tutorials has increased the number of people undertaking home improvement projects. While some of these projects can be done by an amateur with a good quality tool set, it is important to understand how much time and money a particular project will cost before beginning work. In addition, a homeowner should always check the business credentials of any contractor prior to hiring them for a job. A reputable contractor will provide a written contract with a detailed timeline for the work to be completed, a payment schedule and as many specifics about materials (e.g. brands and types) as possible.
Some home improvements cannot be put off for long, such as fixing a leaky roof or replacing worn doorknobs. These fixes are usually inexpensive but will provide an immediate benefit to the house and prevent more costly repairs in the future. Other projects, such as adding a master suite or renovating the kitchen, may be more expensive but will add to the resale value of the home. If a homeowner is uncertain about what projects will add the most resale value, they can consult with a real estate agent.
Energy efficient upgrades, such as new windows and insulation, can be very attractive to potential buyers because they will reduce a home’s utility bills. In addition, these projects can often be paid off with a tax credit. A homeowner should also consider the resale value of their neighborhood when selecting which home improvements to make. A high-end kitchen, for example, will likely not be as appealing to a buyer in an area with low-end homes. Likewise, a dated bathroom can detract from the overall look of a home. In these cases, it may be best to stay neutral or upgrade only the most visible areas of the house.