Home improvement is the process of renovating or upgrading your existing home. This includes interior and exterior work such as painting, remodeling bathrooms or kitchens, adding new rooms such as a sunroom or conservatory, and changing the appearance of your home by resurfacing or repainting. Home improvements can also be done to increase energy efficiency.
Home renovations are often carried out for a variety of reasons: to make the home more functional by adding rooms or spaces, to improve aesthetics and enjoyment of living in the home, to add value to the property when reselling, to address maintenance issues that cannot be put off, to upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), and to update safety features such as replacing old doors or fixing broken windows.
According to a recent report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, spending on home improvements has increased steadily since 2010, but it remains below levels seen before the financial crisis. Homeowners over the age of 55 are responsible for half of all home improvement spending, and those aged 65 and older have doubled their share of the market since 2010.
The most popular project undertaken by homeowners is upgrading their kitchen. This typically involves replacing old appliances or fixtures, installing new countertops and cabinets, and redecorating. It is important to budget for this type of project and consider the costs involved in terms of both time and money. The best way to make sure that a kitchen remodel is within your budget is to consult with several kitchen designers before making any decisions.
Another common home improvement project is installing a new bathroom, which usually involves the addition of a bathtub or shower and/or a new vanity. The cost of these projects can vary significantly depending on the scope of the work and materials chosen. A new bathroom can also be a great way to boost a home’s resale value.
Other home improvements that can have a high return on investment include the installation of energy-efficient fixtures, such as new insulation, a heat pump or a new furnace, and the installation of new windows. These types of home improvements can have a significant impact on a homeowner’s monthly utility bills, and can help to save money over the long term.
When choosing a contractor to carry out home improvements, it is essential to ensure that any contract is in writing and signed by both parties before any work begins. It should contain an agreed-upon price for the work, a payment schedule and any warranties or guarantees that may be included. The contract should also state that a home inspector will be notified before final payment is made, and that any permits required by local laws will be obtained. In Maryland, for example, the Home Improvement Law requires that a contract for any home improvement work contains the contractor’s name, address and MHIC license number preprinted on the contract.