Home Improvement 101

Home improvement

Home improvement is the process of improving the interior or exterior of a residential building. Home improvements can include additions and renovations to kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms; changing out windows and doors; adding a deck or patio; painting, staining, or polishing woodwork; putting in new flooring; installing a fireplace; and more. Unlike repairs, which maintain or restore a property’s function and form, home improvements add utility and value to a property. Home improvement projects are usually undertaken for a variety of reasons, including increasing the comfort and safety of a living space, making it more energy-efficient, or simply updating its appearance.

The industry experienced a surge in activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with consumers renovating their homes to make them more comfortable and safe. However, this spike was not caused solely by the pandemic and is expected to decrease in 2022.

Regardless of the reasons for completing a home improvement project, it is important to consider how the work will impact your house’s value. Many homeowners overspend on their home improvement projects, and this can lower a property’s value when it is sold. To avoid this, make sure that any improvements you are tackling match the style and character of your home. For example, an above-ground pool in a suburban neighborhood will not be as appealing to potential buyers as a more traditional, in-ground pool.

In addition to considering how your home improvement projects will affect a potential sale, it is also important to consider the cost of the project and whether or not it is tax deductible. According to TaxSlayer, “A repair is considered a maintenance item rather than an improvement because it does not add functionality or improve the condition of the dwelling.” However, other modifications to your home may be considered tax deductible, such as a new driveway, a swimming pool, new insulation, and certain types of roofing and siding.

The concept of home improvement, or do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, emerged in the twentieth century as a leisure activity for men and women alike. As the old bourgeois ideal of a masculine library separate from a feminine parlor gave way to gender neutral living spaces, magazines and toolmakers promoted home improvement activities as a way for men to recreate traditional male bonds through labor and the use of tools such as saws and hammers. DIY projects became an opportunity for males to display their handywork and assert their autonomy within the family unit, as well as in the workplace. This is a major reason why the industry thrives, even during difficult economic times.