Home improvement refers to any type of construction, alteration, remodeling, painting, repairing, renovating, or restoring work done on a residential or noncommercial property. This can include such projects as driveways, pools, landscaping, painting, drywall, and flooring, as well as the addition of rooms or structures such as sheds or porches. The definition of Home improvement also includes the installation of security protection devices and appliances, water heaters, HVAC systems, and even new roofs.
Regardless of whether a project is small or large, it’s important to do your research before hiring a contractor and making any commitments. Check out the local listings and talk to your friends and neighbors about the contractors they’ve used. Look for companies that are licensed and insured in your area, and ask to see examples of previous work.
It’s also a good idea to make a list of the projects you want to have done, as this will help you determine how much to budget. Also, be sure to consider how much resale value the project will add to your home. Lastly, be careful not to overspend, as this can lead to credit card debt and other financial problems down the road.
Some homeowners may find that they can’t afford certain home improvement projects, especially if they’re completing the renovations at the same time as major life changes such as the birth of a child or a job promotion. In these cases, a home equity loan or second mortgage might be the best option. Other financing options for home improvement include personal loans, borrowing money from family members, or using credit cards.
According to the American Housing Survey, most home improvement projects are paid for with cash from savings. However, high-dollar projects are often funded with sources like cash-out refinancing, home equity loans, or contractor arranged financing. For those who don’t have the extra funds to complete their projects, there are also government-backed mortgages and grants available.
While many home improvements boost a house’s resale value, some don’t. The most popular projects are sparkling bathroom overhauls, but the return on investment is only about 60%. Other big-ticket projects that don’t pay off are kitchen remodels and basement renovations.
Renovating so your home works better for your family is a good way to get your money’s worth. For example, adding a second bathroom or a deck will increase your enjoyment of the home and probably boost resale value as well. Alternatively, energy-saving upgrades such as a heat pump and new windows can decrease your utility bills and potentially save you money over time.
In the end, it’s important to remember that a home is an investment and should be taken care of. With a little planning and wise decisions, you can ensure that your next home improvement project will be worth the money. And who knows, if you do your homework, maybe someday you’ll have enough equity to build your dream house. Just don’t forget to keep that Tool Time theme song in mind.