Home improvement is the process of renovating or making additions to a home. These projects can be cosmetic, such as painting or re-grouting tile, or they can be more significant, such as adding an extension or building a swimming pool. It can also include installing insulation or replacing a roof. Home improvements can increase the value of a home or make it more functional, such as by adding storage space or improving energy efficiency.
Certainties in life include death and taxes, but another is that homeowners are always facing home improvement projects. Whether it’s a leaking basement, a sagging roof or an outdated kitchen, there’s always something to be done. And while these can be costly, they are often necessary.
According to the latest American Housing Survey, homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvement in 2019 and plan to spend $72 billion more over the next two years. This is an increase from the previous two-year period.
But not all home improvements add equal value. In fact, many renovations don’t even come close to recouping their costs when it comes time to sell. The most popular projects tend to be sparkling bathroom overhauls and big-ticket kitchen or basement remodels, but these can cost tens of thousands of dollars and often don’t get a great return on investment.
If you’re considering a major home renovation, talk to a real estate agent about what kinds of improvements will help your home’s resale value. It’s important to balance your personal preferences with what buyers may want in a home.
While a full-scale remodel might not be in your budget, there are plenty of smaller projects that can add up to a significant return on your investment. For example, painting your home’s interior or re-grouting the tile in your bathroom can improve your home’s overall look without breaking the bank.
A word of caution: It’s vital to work with licensed, reputable contractors when completing home improvement projects. The MHIC recommends performing checks, including verifying licensing and insurance and checking business references, before hiring anyone to work on your home. Also, be wary of online aggregators that offer bundled service offers or act as an intermediary between you and the service providers.
During the pandemic, some homeowners have been reluctant to let home repair/improvement professionals into their homes because of safety concerns about the coronavirus. But more than half of homeowners surveyed in September by NerdWallet say they’d allow contractors into their homes again once the pandemic ends. Just be sure to communicate with the contractor about your expectations regarding mask-wearing and cleanliness. And don’t be afraid to ask for proof of a MHIC license and insurance.