Home improvement refers to a wide range of activities that improve the aesthetics and functionality of living spaces. These projects may include anything from repainting rooms to installing new flooring or adding an outdoor patio. Home improvements can be performed by either professional contractors or by homeowners who prefer to do things themselves. The rise of DIY (do-it-yourself) television shows has helped foster a culture of home improvement. These shows allow viewers to watch the step-by-step progress of a renovation and give them ideas for their own homes.
In recent years, the popularity of home improvement has increased along with housing prices and a growing population of older homeowners who are financially able to pay for renovations. Some homeowners have also benefited from tax deductions for home improvement expenditures.
Before undertaking any home improvement project, it is important to consider how the improvement will affect resale value and the overall cost of the work. It is also helpful to consult a real estate agent or financial planner to determine the best renovations for your specific situation.
For example, a new kitchen or bathroom can add substantial value to the house, while a basement remodel or deck addition may not. It is also a good idea to consider the current tastes of potential buyers in your local market before making any major upgrades.
Having a well-kept lawn is another important consideration. It should be free of weeds and overgrown plants, with fresh mulch or grass seed in the flower beds. It’s also a good idea to add some color with perennials and shrubs.
Other home improvements that have a high return on investment include updates to kitchens and bathrooms, as well as renovations that add square footage, such as garage conversions or finished basements. Other projects that add value include a new driveway, front door and windows, and a smart security system.
It’s always important to be safe when working on any home improvement project, especially if the work involves electricity or plumbing. If you’re not comfortable doing the work yourself, or if the project is too large for your skill level, it’s a good idea to hire a licensed contractor.
When hiring a contractor, it’s important to ask for references and check their license before work begins. It’s also a good idea not to sign any contracts before consulting with the contractor in person. Homeowners should never pay more than 1/3 of the contract price upfront, and all payments should be made only after the work is complete and the contractor has provided written proof that the job has been satisfactorily completed.
In addition, home improvement companies should have a permanent business address and be insured. They should also be able to provide a list of past clients as well as a detailed description of the work they are capable of performing. A large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed home improvement contractors has emerged, so consumers are encouraged to perform background checks and comparison shopping before hiring anyone for work on their home.