Home improvement is a broad term that refers to any work done on a residence to make it more functional or appealing. It includes anything from painting to installing a deck, gazebo or pool. It can also include any major renovations such as a kitchen remodel or addition. Home improvements are popular because they can often increase the value of a house and make it more livable for its current residents.
Rock-bottom interest rates are making it easier for homeowners to borrow money for projects, and spending on home improvement is surging nationwide. The categories that are surging the most, however, are those related to the outdoors: landscaping, deck construction and fence installation are all up significantly. Anderson says that part of the reason is that people are spending more time at home during the pandemic, and hiring contractors to do outdoor projects is a way to fill in that extra time.
Almost half of homeowners have taken on home improvement projects during the pandemic, according to a NerdWallet survey, and most of those were simple landscaping tasks. Others included adding a garden shed, repainting the exterior or replacing a window. While these types of projects might seem trivial, they help to prevent the appearance of neglect and protect against potential future problems, such as a leaking roof or termite infestation.
A good place to start when looking for contractors to do your home improvement is a home aggregator website, which collects offers from various companies that specialize in that particular category. The websites then match homeowners with contractors that can meet their needs at the best price.
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential contractors, it’s important to compare prices and previous work as well as their licenses, insurance policies and references. It’s also a good idea to ask for a written contract that outlines a timeline for the project, a payment schedule and specifics about materials and any warranties offered by the contractor.
Whole-house renovations can boost your home’s value, but they aren’t a great investment for everyone. Instead, consider tackling smaller projects that have a higher return on investment (ROI). These projects may include painting, re-grouting tile and power washing your driveway.
Another way to improve your home without spending a lot of money is by creating more storage space. This can be as simple as adding floating shelves to a living room or building under stair storage, or it could be as complex as turning an unused bedroom into a mudroom or home office.
Similarly, an energy-efficient upgrade like new windows or insulation can decrease your utility bills and make your home more attractive to buyers down the road. Neglected maintenance issues will quickly be discovered by a prospective buyer’s home inspector, so it’s important to keep up with repairs as they occur.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to stay away from high-end renovations that are unlikely to pay off at resale. A fancy hot tub or fountain might look nice, but they won’t make much of a difference in your home’s value compared to the neighborhood standards.