Home improvement is any work done to the interior or exterior of a building, which can include renovation, repair and upgrading. It may involve painting, flooring, carpeting and other large jobs that require a lot of time and effort.
Home improvements are a key part of the economy, as people use their homes to improve their living conditions and add value to the property. They can also be used to enhance the safety of a home, particularly if the work involves electrical or plumbing.
Investing in your home is one of the most effective ways to build wealth and save money over the long term, according to the American Institute of Architects. For instance, a new kitchen, bathroom or bedroom can make your home more livable, while updates that increase the energy efficiency of your home could lower your bills and make your property more appealing to buyers if you decide to sell.
Affordability and resale are big factors for many homeowners who want to make changes, so a home loan is often needed to finance the project. The type of loan you choose will depend on several factors, such as your budget and how much the work you’re planning to do will add to your home’s value.
The first step to deciding on a home improvement project is to identify your goals. For example, are you looking to spruce up your space for the sake of enjoyment or do you want to increase its resale value?
Once you know what your objectives are, it is important to select the right contractor for the job. Always choose a contractor that has been licensed by the state in which you live and who is certified to do the type of work that you need completed. Then, get a contract that is clearly written and signed by both parties before any work begins or the money is paid.
Be sure that any contract you sign has a timeline for the completion of the work, a payment schedule and as much information about the work as possible. In addition, a contract should include any warranties for materials and workmanship that the contractor will provide.
Before you hire a contractor, do your research and compare prices for similar work by other contractors. This will help you avoid getting substandard work or being ripped off.
In addition to hiring a reputable contractor, it is important to get your home improvement project approved by the local building department. A permit will ensure that the work meets all of the code requirements and that the work is completed in a timely manner.
Despite the recent downturn in real estate prices, spending on home repairs and improvements is on the rise, and older homeowners are driving the trend. While this isn’t necessarily a good thing for the housing market, it can be a comforting and positive investment, says Timothy Anderson, a personal finance expert at Angi LLC in San Francisco.