Home improvement is the practice of improving or repairing residential homes, including maintenance tasks such as painting, fixing leaks, and upgrading electrical wiring. More ambitious projects may include adding rooms, refinishing wood floors, or installing a new kitchen. Many home improvement companies specialize in specific types of projects, and do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts can find plenty of guidance through books and online videos.
Many homeowners renovate for the purpose of increasing their home’s value, making it more appealing to potential buyers, or simply updating worn-out items. However, not all improvements will have the same impact on resale value. In fact, some can even detract from it.
For this reason, it’s important to choose wisely when selecting house renovations. Consider what features are the most desirable to a broad range of buyers, rather than focusing on your own preferences. For instance, a high-end shower might appeal to you, but it’s not likely to be of interest to the average buyer. The same goes for other expensive upgrades, such as a hot tub or a fountain in the backyard. Unless your neighborhood is already affluent, these amenities are unlikely to attract high-end buyers.
Other popular improvements that can boost resale value include putting in a fresh coat of paint, installing a new front door and replacing old windows. Adding a patio or deck, as well as converting a garage into living space, are also good choices. These additions provide extra living space and add curb appeal.
Experts expect DIYers to continue spending on home improvement this year, especially if rock-bottom interest rates keep mortgage payments low. Home Depot and Lowe’s are among the largest home improvement stores, and they cater to customers seeking do-it-yourself solutions. Online resources such as YouTube “how-to” videos and eBooks provide further help with tackling home repair and remodeling projects.
Another factor driving home improvement expenditures is the need to make a home more resilient in unsettling economic and political times. This could mean raising properties in flood zones, installing hurricane windows in coastal areas and upgrading landscaping with fire-resistant shrubs and plants. Consumers are also embracing technology to make their homes more efficient and convenient, with smart thermostats, security cameras, and lighting systems being the most popular upgrades.
Whatever improvements you decide to make, it’s crucial to avoid going into debt. The best way to finance a project is with cash, but if you must take out a loan, choose the most conservative option available. Credit card APRs are typically high, and outstanding debt can quickly eat into your home’s equity. For small, short-term renovations, a personal loan might be a better choice. This type of loan offers a 0% APR for 12 months, and often comes with cashback rewards, as well. For larger, long-term renovations, it’s usually best to opt for a home equity line of credit. This allows you to draw on funds as needed without affecting your creditworthiness. However, always make sure you can pay back the amount you borrow in a reasonable timeframe.