Home improvement is the renovation or upgrade of a residential property. The industry includes the sale of building materials, appliances and decorations along with the services of contractors and tradespeople to carry out the work. Home improvements can increase the functionality, beauty and value of a home. They can also reduce energy costs and improve security.
While cost recovery and resale value are important factors to consider when undertaking a home improvement project, it’s also essential to prioritize homeowner happiness. Unfortunately, there’s no numerical measure for the joy a renovation brings, but it can be a powerful motivator to complete projects that boost home comfort.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more homeowners are taking advantage of the extra time at home to tackle home improvement projects. In fact, 3 in 5 homeowners have already made repairs or upgrades to their homes since March 1, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted during the pandemic.
The results of the survey showed that most projects were completed using cash from savings or other sources such as a home equity loan, contractor arranged financing and credit cards. Homeowners who are considering major renovations should compare the costs of different financing options before choosing a solution. This can be done by using a home improvement finance calculator and weighing the pros and cons of each option based on an individual’s current financial situation and goals for the project.
To help with the planning process, NerdWallet’s home improvement tool allows users to select the type of home improvement they are interested in, how long they want to take to pay for the project and whether they plan on selling their home soon. The results will provide an estimated project cost, how much the improvement is expected to increase home value and other related information.
One of the most common home improvement mistakes that people make is going over budget. The easiest way to avoid this is to create a budget before starting the project. Then stick to it as closely as possible. It is also helpful to include in the budget any unexpected costs that may arise during the project.
Choosing the right contractor is an important step in any home improvement project. When selecting a contractor, it is important to find out their reputation in the community and check references. Also, it’s a good idea to ask for a contract with a payment schedule and details of the work to be performed, including specifics of types or brands of materials that will be used. It is illegal to pay a contractor for work before it’s finished in New York, so withholding the final payment until all inspections and certificates of occupancy are finalized is a smart move.
While there is no definitive answer on which home improvement projects will provide the best return on investment, some of the most popular projects include painting, replacing kitchen cabinets and upgrading bathroom fixtures. However, before you start a project, it’s important to consult with a real estate professional and consider how the work will impact your ability to sell your home in the future.