Home improvement, also known as remodeling or renovation, refers to changes made to the interior and exterior of a house. This can include renovating or adding rooms, changing the layout of a room or the entire house, installing new appliances and systems, and replacing old ones. Home improvements may be done to increase the safety and security of a house, add value to it, or simply make it more pleasant to live in. The housing market crash of 2008-2009 delayed many home improvement projects, but as the economy improved so did the industry. The Home improvement industry is comprised of companies that sell materials for these types of projects and contractors who perform the work.
The most common reason for home improvement projects is to add functionality, such as an extra bedroom or bathroom. Other reasons include increasing the enjoyment of a home through the addition of a patio or deck, or making it more energy-efficient with new windows and insulation. These are often the types of projects that homeowners can recoup most or all of their costs when they sell the house.
Most of these projects are carried out by professional contractors, although DIY (do it yourself) projects are becoming more popular. The popularity of home improvement television shows and the availability of online tutorials have encouraged more people to attempt renovation projects on their own. While these projects can be very rewarding and save money, they should only be undertaken with a full understanding of the necessary steps and precautions. It is also essential that homeowners have a clear budget for the project and stick to it, as overruns are commonplace.
It is important to find a qualified contractor for any home improvement project. A good start is to ask for referrals from friends and family who have used a contractor in the past. Another way to find a reliable contractor is to use an aggregator website that performs background checks and verification of licenses and insurance. It is also a good idea to hire contractors who are members of a trade association and accredited by a professional organization.
Choosing the right materials for a home improvement project can be expensive, but it is crucial to choose durable materials that will not require frequent replacement. This is especially true for kitchens and bathrooms, where quality fixtures can last a lifetime if properly maintained. A poor choice can quickly become costly, as seen with the recent fiasco involving defective flooring from Chinese factories.
Not all home improvements offer a return on investment, and even those that do often take years to recoup their costs. One of the best ways to ensure that a home improvement project is worth the expense is to speak with a real estate agent before beginning work. They can provide insight into what types of projects will be most desirable to buyers in the neighborhood, and help you avoid expensive mistakes that can detract from a home’s resale value.