Home improvement, also known as home renovation or remodeling, is a broad category of home repair and decoration. This includes projects that refinish floors, paint rooms, replace cabinets, or add fixtures such as sinks and toilets. It can also include yard work, such as re-landscaping or building a fence. Other popular home improvements are installing new windows and doors or adding insulation, which can improve energy efficiency.
Home improvements can be costly, but they can also boost a home’s value and improve a homeowner’s quality of life. However, homeowners should be careful to avoid upgrades that are not likely to return their investment or that could deter potential buyers.
A new front door is a quick and inexpensive way to increase a home’s curb appeal. It ranks high on the list of cost-effective improvements, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report.” Other easy home exterior projects to try: Adding planters or window boxes filled with flowers; painting or staining the wood deck or porch; and trimming shrubs and bushes.
The home-improvement industry has enjoyed robust growth in recent years. This market encompasses the sale of construction materials, appliances and decor to remodel a home, as well as contractors and tradespeople who renovate or upgrade homes. Home improvements are most often carried out for personal preference or comfort, to repair a worn out or damaged structure, to make a living space larger by adding rooms or improving existing ones; or for safety reasons, such as upgrading an electrical system or plumbing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners focused on home-improvement projects rather than moving into another house. In addition, rock-bottom interest rates have made homeownership more attractive. This year, many people plan to renovate their bathrooms or kitchens, while fewer will hire someone to install a fence or make major structural repairs, Houzz reports.
The best DIY home improvements are those that improve a home’s aesthetic and don’t require expensive tools. Putting in crown molding, for example, is an affordable and relatively simple project that can dramatically enhance the look of a room. Crown molding is available at most home improvement stores in pre-cut strips that fit most standard wall sizes.
If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, consider talking to a real estate professional before beginning a home-improvement project. He or she can help you choose upgrades that are likely to increase resale value and attract the most buyers. For example, a swimming pool may not raise the value of your home much if you live in an area where most neighbors don’t have pools.
Using a credit card for minor home improvements is an option, but keep in mind that you’ll be paying interest and may face repayment terms when you’re ready to sell your home. Instead, save for a bigger project or opt for cash back rewards on home-improvement purchases. That way, you’ll pay less in the long run and won’t end up in debt when it comes time to sell.