Home improvement is a broad category of work that improves the structure and/or utilities of a home. This industry includes the sale of building materials, appliances, and decor for homes as well as the services provided by contractors and tradespeople. In recent years, home improvement has enjoyed excellent growth results, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire by homeowners to spend more time at home.
While rock-bottom interest rates and the need to stay out of public places helped boost home improvement spending during the pandemic, many projects were long overdue. In fact, the most popular project was a sparkling bathroom renovation, followed by garage door replacement and kitchen remodeling. Other popular improvements include putting on a new roof, replacing old windows, and adding energy-efficient insulation.
Depending on the scope of the project, homeowners generally pay for home improvement work out of savings or by using various financing options. The most popular source is cash from savings, but more expensive projects are often paid for with sources like cash-out refinances, home equity loans, contractor arranged financing and credit cards.
When it comes to choosing a home improvement contractor, it’s best to get multiple bids and compare the contractors’ references. It’s also a good idea to check whether they are licensed in your state. If so, their contracts should contain their name, address, MHIC license number, a description of the work to be performed and the date when it will begin and be substantially completed. A contract should also include any warranties offered by the contractor.
Another important consideration is the return on investment that a particular home improvement project will provide. While a new kitchen or bathroom may increase the value of your home, you won’t necessarily get back your entire investment when it comes time to sell. In general, only about 60 percent of home improvement projects recoup their costs.
Ultimately, the best home improvement project is one that will make your house more comfortable and enjoyable for you to live in now and in the future. Regardless of what you choose to do, the important thing is that it be done with safety and efficiency in mind. Neglecting necessary maintenance tasks will only cost you more in the long run, and potential buyers will be quick to notice any signs of a poorly-maintained home. In addition to making your home more functional for you, these types of upgrades will also help reduce your energy bills. This is because new windows, a heat pump and added insulation will all help to make your home more energy efficient.