Home Improvement 101
Home improvement, also known as remodeling or renovation, is the process of improving the interior or exterior of a residential building. This includes changing the structure of an existing dwelling, additions to a house, and other changes to the property that add value or function. The term is often used to refer to the renovation of a single-family house, but it can include any type of improvement to a dwelling.
The most common reason people renovate their homes is to increase the resale value. This can be done by adding new amenities, such as a swimming pool or a new kitchen, that appeal to prospective buyers. Other reasons include increasing the comfort of living in a home, such as adding a new bedroom or bathroom, or making it more energy-efficient.
According to a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies of America, homeowner improvement spending hit a record high in 2017. The biggest factor driving that trend was households with incomes over $120,000 per year, which on average reported $233 billion spent on home improvements. Other key factors include a shortage of newly constructed houses, lower mortgage interest rates and higher home prices, which have increased the amount of equity homeowners have in their properties.
While many homeowners renovate to increase their home’s resale value, others do it for personal enjoyment. Regardless of the motive, it’s important to keep in mind that your personal satisfaction with your home is an important factor when considering what renovations to make. A well-planned and executed project should be both cost effective and pleasing to the eye.
Choosing the right contractor is essential for any successful home improvement project. You should choose a licensed, insured, and reputable company with good references and a solid reputation. It is a good idea to get an estimate and contract before any work begins. This will help avoid misunderstandings and protect you from getting overcharged.
There are several types of contractors who can perform home improvement projects. They include general contractors, subcontractors, and independent contractors. General contractors are firms that specialize in home improvement and typically have their own employees and materials. They are responsible for the quality of their work and stand behind their warranties. Subcontractors are companies that are paid on a per-job basis to perform specific tasks such as painting, plumbing, or flooring.
Independent contractors are generally hired by a homeowner to perform home improvement projects. They may or may not have their own license and insurance, but they will usually have a business card and a website or Facebook page. They may offer a discount or special deals for first-time customers.
There are a number of ways to finance home improvement projects, including cash from savings, home equity loans, contractor arranged financing, and credit cards. It is best to find the right financing option for your individual needs and situation. When considering a loan, you should compare the interest rate, terms, and fees of each.