Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is the process of renovating or improving a home. It includes changes or repairs to existing structures, additions to a dwelling and improvements to the property’s outdoor spaces. Home improvement projects often have a positive effect on the homeowner’s quality of life, and may also improve or maintain the home’s market value. However, not all projects increase a home’s value; some decrease it. Therefore, homeowners should focus on projects that add value and improve the quality of their living experience.

While some homeowners have put more ambitious renovations on hold during the Covid pandemic, many are still making improvements to their homes. According to the data from JCHS, spending on home improvement peaked in 2022 and is expected to decrease slightly in 2024.

Some of the most common improvements include remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, adding an extra bedroom or bathroom and installing new flooring. Some of these updates can significantly raise a home’s value, such as the installation of quartz countertops in kitchens and master baths, or the conversion of tubs to showers. However, some of these upgrades can be costly and are not necessarily a wise investment for all homeowners.

Regardless of the type of improvement you plan to make, it is important that your project budget and timeline are realistic for your situation. It is also important to work with a reputable contractor to ensure that your expectations are set properly. Before agreeing to any contract, it is a good idea to ask the contractor for a detailed project plan with a timeline and payment schedule, as well as a breakdown of the types or brands of materials that will be used.

A reputable contractor should be willing to provide these documents and demonstrate their knowledge of building codes, safety standards, permits and insurance requirements. Lastly, it is a good idea to obtain multiple quotes from contractors and to compare the quality of their work before hiring someone.

It is also essential to think about the resale potential of your home improvement before you proceed. If you invest in high-end features that are outside the typical tastes of most buyers, your home may not be a good fit for the neighborhood and could be difficult to sell. For example, a backyard fountain might look beautiful to you, but it will not be attractive to someone who wants a yard for kids and pets.

While it is tempting to renovate based on how much it will raise the price of your home when you eventually sell it, don’t forget about your own comfort and enjoyment of your house. If you spend too much on your home improvement, it will likely become a source of stress for you and your family. And don’t go into debt to finance your home improvement projects–it is never a smart financial move. Paying cash for your improvements will give you more control over the timing and scope of your project. It will also help you avoid unnecessary expenses, such as those resulting from an overzealous contractor.