Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is the process of adding on, repairing or renovating parts of a house. This includes everything from installing new fixtures, to painting the inside or outside of a building, and even adding a garden or pool. Home improvements can be a great way to increase your living space, add value to your home or simply make it more comfortable. However, it is important to do your research before embarking on a project, especially one that will require hiring contractors. In addition to a well-planned project, you will also want to be sure that the contractor is licensed and insured, as this will provide some protection should something go wrong.

According to Real Estate Witch, homeowners are investing in home improvements at a record pace, with the most popular categories surging this year. These include work on the backyard: deck construction is up more than threefold, and putting up fences is up almost as much. Other popular home improvement projects are bathroom renovations and kitchen upgrades. But it is important to remember that not all home improvements will pay off in terms of resale value.

It is also a good idea to speak with a local real estate agent before making any major home improvements. They can offer advice on which projects will add the most to your property and help you stay within your budget. Also, be sure to update your home insurance policy when you make changes. The changes to your home could cause your old insurance policy to be insufficient, or it may not cover the cost of the new renovations.

Another thing to keep in mind when planning your home improvements is that the best reason to remodel is for personal comfort and enjoyment, not resale value. If you remodel solely based on what will make your house more valuable down the road, you can end up with a showplace that feels like a museum rather than a place to live.

Lastly, it is important to understand that home improvements are not always a good investment. Depending on the location and type of your home, there are many factors that affect whether or not a particular upgrade will pay off.

In New York, it is illegal for a person to solicit, canvass or sell, or attempt to procure in any other manner, the performance of a contract for home improvement without a license. Home improvement is defined as “any erection, installation, remodeling, repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, conversion, rehabilitation, modernization or improvement of any land or building or that portion thereof which is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwelling house.” The law also states that a contractor must give the owner a written contract that contains a timeline for work to be completed, a payment schedule and as many specifics about the work as possible, such as types and brands of materials. In addition, the contract must contain the terms of any warranties on materials and workmanship.