Home Improvement 101

Home improvement

Home improvement is a broad term that refers to any activity undertaken to improve the condition or value of a residential property. It includes remodeling, repair and maintenance projects, additions, conversions, and landscaping work. Home improvements can be performed by homeowners, but many are also hired out to professionals. In general, home repairs and improvements are considered capital projects and may be exempt from labor taxes in some states.

A homeowner can make a number of small changes that will add up to a big impact, like painting the inside of a house or replacing outdated fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen. However, if you are trying to increase the resale value of your house, it is important to focus on projects that will actually add value. This means avoiding over-the-top renovations, such as adding a hot tub or fountain that will only appeal to a very specific buyer group. Instead, focus on updates that are popular in your area, such as new kitchens and bathrooms or a finished basement.

Generally, if you have enough money saved up, you can pay for home improvements without tapping into your savings or going into debt. However, if you are not sure how to proceed with your project or you are running out of time, there are several financing options available.

Most home improvements are more expensive than expected. It’s a good idea to create a budget and save up before starting any work. You can use online home improvement cost calculators to get estimates and help you make smart decisions about your next project.

The most common source of funding for home improvements is cash from savings, followed by mortgage equity lines of credit and contractor arranged financing. In our September survey, 76% of homeowners said they were able to keep their home improvement projects on budget.

Before tackling any home improvement project, it’s a good idea to talk to a real estate agent in your area about which projects will add the most value to your house and which are likely to be more of a headache than they’re worth. This is especially true if you’re thinking of selling your house in the future, as real estate agents will know which improvements are most likely to boost resale value.

It’s also a good idea to have a professional inspect your house before you begin any work, as they can spot problems that you might not notice. For example, a deteriorating roof, mold or termite infestation can all significantly decrease your home’s value and are very costly to fix. It’s also wise to check out any areas that you don’t normally see, such as the attic or crawl space. This will give you a better understanding of the condition of your home and prevent any expensive surprises down the road. For example, a leaky ceiling that you’ve ignored for years could turn into a major structural problem that will be very expensive to fix.