Home improvement or home renovation is the process of upgrading an existing house or building. It may refer to any type of work or project undertaken by a homeowner or contractor to improve the overall function and appearance of a house, including kitchens and baths, adding rooms or space, changing room layouts, redecorating, upgrading plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems, landscaping or renovating a garden.
The popularity of DIY television shows like Fixer Upper and This Old House has helped fuel home improvement spending, which reached a record high in 2021 and is expected to continue to climb. But it’s important to know what projects will add value to your home and which ones are a waste of money.
Most popular home improvements include replacing flooring, cabinets and appliances, refreshing shower areas, and installing new fixtures or lighting. When selecting materials for a renovation, it’s best to stay within your budget by choosing simple or classic designs over trendy or luxury options. Likewise, hiring a reputable home improvement contractor will help you avoid overspending and potentially paying for subpar work.
A general rule of thumb is that you should always get multiple estimates before hiring a contractor for any job. It’s also recommended to hire contractors that have a license, carry liability insurance and are accredited by a professional organization. You should also request references and a copy of their contract before signing any work order. Lastly, a deposit of less than 1/3 of the total contract price can be negotiated between you and the contractor.
Generally, home improvements that increase the safety and security of your property will have the highest return on investment. This includes upgrades to your home’s HVAC system, water heater and windows. It’s also a good idea to upgrade your kitchen and bathroom to include smart features like touchless faucets, LED lights and automated toilets.
Another way to add value to your home is by renovating outdoor living spaces. Adding a deck or patio with furniture and plants, or installing a pool or hot tub will all make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Home improvement projects that won’t increase your home’s value include painting rooms, installing wallpaper and overly customized cabinets. It’s also a bad idea to build an addition or alter the footprint of your home unless you have the right permits.
If you are planning to sell your home in the future, it’s a good idea to speak with a real estate agent about any planned renovations to make sure they will be of interest to buyers. A real estate expert can provide you with information about the latest trends in home improvement and what types of upgrades will most likely pay off when it comes time to sell your home. Lastly, never go into debt to finance your home renovations. Doing so can cost you thousands in interest charges and will leave you with a house that looks more expensive than your neighbors’.