Home improvement is the process of improving or repairing a house. This can include remodeling or adding on to your house, fixing existing things like flooring or appliances and much more. Many people turn to home improvement projects because they want to increase the value of their home or simply make it more functional for them and their family. There are a lot of different home improvement projects that can be done, some more popular than others. However, before you start knocking down walls with a sledgehammer, it is important to know what projects will add the most value to your home and which ones might not be worth the money or effort.
Homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvements last year, taking on an estimated 115 million projects, according to the Census Bureau. That’s a big bump from the previous two years. Americans seem to love their homes and are always looking for ways to improve them, which is great news for companies such as Home Depot.
The cheapest home improvement project is likely to be replacing worn doorknobs or fixing a leaky faucet. These are simple fixes that can often be completed with the tools and supplies you already have. More expensive projects may involve adding a patio or installing an energy-efficient air conditioning unit. Some of these upgrades can also increase your home’s resale value.
Many homeowners are able to pay for home repairs or improvements without tapping into savings, going into debt or making sacrifices, according to a NerdWallet survey. But many of these projects can wind up costing more than expected — finding out your plumbing leak is really a rotted subfloor or that those shingles were shoddy can be a huge blow to your budget.
It’s essential to compare estimates from contractors before deciding on one for your home improvement project. Not only does price matter, but you should also consider a contractor’s experience and reputation. You should also ask for a written contract before starting any work. This should include a timeline for the project to be completed, payment terms and as many specifics as possible (like type or brand of materials). This will help protect you from getting overcharged or ripped off.
When it comes to the most common home improvement projects, kitchen and bathroom renovations are the top choices for homeowners. They both have a high return on investment, or ROI. A kitchen remodel can recoup nearly 69% of its costs, while an updated bathroom can bring in almost 75% of the money invested.
Homeowners can get ideas for projects by watching television shows such as Fixer Upper or This Old House. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these shows present a highly stylized version of reality. The reality is that most DIY home improvement projects will not only be more costly than hiring a professional, but they will likely not yield as attractive results. It is also a good idea to consult with an expert before beginning any project, especially anything that involves electrical or plumbing work.