Home improvement is the work or effort a homeowner puts into upgrading, repairing or improving their home. The goal is to make it more functional, appealing and up to date. The term can also refer to building projects outside the house, such as installing a fence or deck, or to the process of transforming a space within the home, like a kitchen or bathroom.
One of the biggest challenges homeowners face when embarking on a home improvement project is getting their priorities straight. It’s easy to lose sight of why you want to renovate in the first place. If you’re only focused on adding resale value, your renovation may become something you don’t enjoy living with, or it might cost more than you get back when you sell.
The good news is that the pandemic means people are spending more time at home, and that has helped fuel a surge in home improvement projects. More than 3 in 5 homeowners have worked on at least one home improvement project since March 1, according to a survey from NerdWallet. Some of the most popular updates were related to kitchen and bath remodels, such as installing new flooring, cabinets and fixtures. Other projects that saw an uptick were creating outdoor spaces – deck construction rose more than 275%, hiring landscapers to plant and mulch was up 144%, while fence installation jumped over 230%.
Other popular upgrades that will likely continue to surge this year include energy-efficient improvements, which can reduce energy and utility bills while also helping the environment. These updates could include adding or replacing insulation, sealing air leaks and installing high-efficiency appliances. Another potential home improvement is to add a smart device to the home, such as a doorbell that rings when you’re at the front door or a security system that alerts you of unusual activity in your home.
It’s important to find a home improvement contractor that has experience and good references. Ask for samples of previous work and visit their website to learn more about them and how they work. You should also check for licensing and insurance. It’s important that your contractor is insured in case a worker gets hurt while working on your home and you are held liable for the injury or damage.
If you decide to borrow money for your home improvement, be sure to choose a lender that offers flexible financing plans with competitive interest rates. It’s also a good idea to budget your costs carefully before beginning a project and to stick to your plan. Otherwise, you could overspend and end up going into debt that you can’t afford to repay.
Many people use the equity in their homes to pay for major repairs or renovations. Others take out loans for home improvements because they need to update their property, or they’re simply looking to make their home more comfortable and appealing. But if you’re thinking about a major project, it’s important to know that not all projects will increase resale value or boost your home’s functionality.