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Home Improvement Basics

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Home improvement is the process of making changes to improve the appearance and function of a home. These projects can include repairs, maintenance, remodeling and additions. In order to complete home improvement projects safely, it is important to hire a licensed contractor. Homeowners should also consider their own safety when undertaking home improvement projects. It is important to use caution when working with tools or around electrical wiring.

The home improvement industry has been on a tear since the pandemic, with consumers upgrading their homes to make them more comfortable and functional. According to the National Association of Realtors, 84% of homeowners who have renovated during this time reported wanting to spend more time in their upgraded homes, and 69% cited increased enjoyment with their homes.

In order to ensure that your home improvement project is completed in a timely manner and within budget, it is important to establish an initial estimate of the work to be done. This will help you determine a fair price to pay for the work. You should be sure that your estimate includes all expenses and is as detailed as possible, including a payment schedule. You should withhold final payments until the work has been completed and all necessary inspections and certificates of occupancy have been issued.

Whether you are planning to sell your home soon or you plan to live in it another decade, it’s important to know which improvements will add the most value. This is called the return on investment, and it can vary significantly. In general, interior improvements tend to yield the highest returns, while more upscale renovations and projects that involve electrical, plumbing or structural engineering generally offer lower ROIs.

It’s also important to choose projects that are compatible with your neighborhood and the type of home you have. For example, if your house is a traditional brick ranch and you install an in-ground swimming pool, it may look out of place. The same is true for exterior improvements, which should complement the overall style of your home.

Most homeowners who take on home improvement projects are able to fund the majority of them without tapping into savings or going into debt. However, 20% of those who took on projects over the past two years had to sacrifice other purchases or selling items in order to pay for them. And 8% had to borrow money or tap into their equity in order to finish the job.

Although home improvement spending peaked in 2022, the pace of growth has slowed significantly and is expected to continue to decline in 2024, due to higher labor costs and housing market issues. It’s also worth noting that while some home improvements can increase a house’s resale value, others can actually decrease it. It’s essential to carefully select projects and settle on ones that have a solid track record of adding curb appeal, improving the home’s overall functionality and suiting its location. That way, you can feel confident that your renovations will serve you well for years to come.

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