Home Improvement – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Home improvement is a big industry, with consumers spending billions to remodel and upgrade their living spaces. The home improvement industry encompasses the sale of building materials, appliances and decor, as well as contractors and tradespeople who help with construction or renovation projects. Home improvement projects can be expensive, but they also offer the opportunity to increase a home’s value and enhance its functionality.

Certainties in life include death and taxes – and if you’re a homeowner, home repairs and improvements will always be on the horizon. But if you don’t plan ahead, those can-t-wait tasks can quickly drain your wallet and put a damper on your day-to-day lifestyle.

According to NerdWallet research, Americans spent $522 billion on home improvement from 2017 to 2019, completing an estimated 115 million projects. The spike in homeowners renovating during the pandemic was due to a combination of factors, including repairing worn-out surfaces and finishes, adding features and improving livability, and simply wanting a change. Despite the increase in spending, more homeowners found satisfaction with their upgraded homes than ever before.

Before you start tearing down walls, it’s important to understand the best home improvements for resale. While some home improvements add significant value, others are not worth the cost if you’re not planning to sell. It’s also a good idea to consider how your project will affect the neighborhood. For example, if you build a home theater that’s over-the-top for your community, it may detract from the value of other homes in the area.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when undertaking home improvements is taking on projects that are too personal or go over the top for their property type and neighborhood. For example, a luxury hot tub may not be as appealing to buyers as a basic pool. Likewise, you should avoid installing a new kitchen or bathroom that’s out of step with other homes in your area.

Homeowners should be cautious when hiring contractors during the coronavirus. Using an online aggregator can help ensure you’re working with a reputable contractor, as aggregators are required to perform background checks on their providers. They also require contractors to provide a contract that includes a payment schedule, as well as the scope of work and specific details about materials, such as types or brands. It’s also important to check whether your chosen contractor is insured and carries appropriate insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong during the job. In addition, homeowners should communicate with their contractors about any household safety measures they’ll be following during the process. This includes ensuring that contractors wear masks and take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of germs.