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Home Improvement – What Is It and Why Do You Need To Do It?

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Home improvement is any alteration, repair or modification to a residence that increases its function, value or beauty. Improvements can range from the simple addition of a patio door to the major remodeling of a kitchen, bathroom or basement. They may also include the installation of air conditioning and heating systems, roofs, porches, garage doors, windows, gutters and siding. Typically, a contractor is hired to perform the work on a homeowner’s property.

Some homeowners plan their home improvements carefully to maximize resale value, while others take on projects because they need the work done. A leaky roof or a broken window are examples of “can’t wait” projects that must be completed. Homeowners spent about $522 billion on home improvement projects between 2017 and 2019, an increase of $72 billion over the previous two-year period, according to census data. Typical spending per project increased as well, from about $1,350 to $1,500.

About 3 in 5 homeowners (61%) have taken on home improvement projects since March 1, 2020, according to the NerdWallet survey. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made some people reluctant to hire contractors, particularly if they have to leave their homes to meet with them. About half of those surveyed in September said they were able to pay for most of their home improvement projects without tapping into savings or going into debt.

Many homeowners say that improving their homes has made them more happy with them, even though the pandemic was not the motivation for most renovations. For example, 84% of homeowners cited increasing enjoyment with their homes as the reason for renovating, while 69% mentioned a desire to upgrade worn surfaces and finishes. The National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report also reveals that most renovators cite a need to add functionality and features to their homes rather than a desire for cosmetic changes.

Energy efficiency upgrades, such as new windows and additional insulation, can lower utility bills and save money on energy costs. They can also increase a home’s resale value by making it more appealing to potential buyers.

A new kitchen, bathroom or bedroom can improve a home’s function and increase the likelihood that it will sell when the time comes to make a move. However, some upgrades don’t add much to a home’s resale price, especially if they are too personal or do not appeal to the tastes of most buyers in a particular neighborhood.

Before you spend a lot of money on home improvements, get the opinion of a real estate professional in your area about which ones will provide a good return on investment. Also, be sure to talk with a licensed home improvement contractor before hiring anyone to do any work on your property. Generally, Maryland law requires that contracts for home improvement be in writing and signed by both the consumer and the contractor before any work is performed or payment is made. The contract must include the name, address and MHIC license number of the contractor.

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