Home improvement is the process by which homeowners renovate and repair their homes to make them more livable, functional or attractive. It can also include adding amenities such as swimming pools, patios or decks. Home improvements are often made to increase the resale value of a home, but may also be done for personal enjoyment. A homeowner should consider the costs and benefits of each home improvement project before beginning work.
A reputable contractor should be able to provide a detailed contract outlining a timeline for the work to be completed, as well as a payment schedule and an itemized list of all materials to be used in the renovation. Homeowners should read this contract carefully and withhold any payments until the work has been completed and all inspections and certificates of occupancy have been obtained.
The most common home improvements are painting, resurfacing or installing new flooring and lighting fixtures. However, some projects are more extensive and can be more expensive. The addition of a new bathroom, a kitchen remodeling or the installation of a garage are some examples of major home improvements that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. These are usually performed by professional contractors, but can also be accomplished by the homeowner if they have the proper tools and knowledge.
Another popular type of home improvement is landscaping. A well-maintained yard can increase a home’s resale value, and it can also improve curb appeal. Other common outdoor improvements include a new driveway, garden or fence. Homeowners should always consult a landscaper or other professional to ensure that the proposed alterations will not affect surrounding trees and plants.
Some home improvements are not worth the expense. While a gourmet kitchen might add value, it is not practical for many families and may not appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. Likewise, an overly extravagant bathroom might be a turn-off for many potential buyers and could even lower the resale price of a home.
A good way to gauge whether a particular home improvement is worthwhile is to talk to a real estate agent. They can provide advice on how to best market a home and what types of renovations will add the most value. Homeowners should also talk to family members and friends about their experiences with particular contractors and remodelers before making a decision. They should also remember that not all home improvement projects will pay off when it comes time to sell a home. Depending on the type of home improvement, a homeowner may need to invest additional money into future maintenance and repairs to recover the original investment. Lastly, it is important to understand that home improvements are generally taxable in some form. This is particularly true of labor, which may be subject to sales tax in some states. Consequently, homeowners should always keep accurate records of all costs and receipts for home improvements. This will help reduce the possibility of being subject to unanticipated taxes and fees at the time of sale.