Home Improvement Basics

Home improvement

Home improvement, also called remodeling or renovation, is the process of modifying an existing house or building to make it more desirable or functional. It can include projects like making a home more energy efficient, adding rooms or spaces to the house, or improving safety.

In the United States, home improvement spending is up more than 50 percent since 2010, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. This increase is mainly driven by older homeowners who are not selling their homes, and are instead using their home equity to fund renovations or improvements.

If you are considering renovating or remodeling your home, it is important to understand the financial aspects of the project before you start. There are a few ways to finance your work, including a home equity loan or personal loan. These types of loans are installment loans that can be repaid over 5-30 years, and are often used for expensive repairs and upgrades.

Before you decide to renovate or remodel, it is important to create a budget that will cover all of your costs. This will help you avoid unexpected expenses that can arise during a project.

It is also helpful to get a professional opinion on your budget from a mortgage lender or an accountant. They can provide valuable insight on what to avoid and how to prioritize your projects to ensure you get the best return for your investment.

Take your time and make a realistic list of the improvements you want to accomplish. This will enable you to negotiate with contractors and lock in firm prices. It will also give you peace of mind that your home will be in good hands when you go to sell it.

Once you have a detailed budget in place, start planning your project. You can even call in a designer to walk through your home with you and suggest improvements that will improve its appearance and function.

If you are planning a major renovation, consider working with a licensed contractor to help design and oversee the project. This will help protect your home from damage, ensure the job is done correctly and keep you informed throughout the process.

To find a qualified contractor, contact your local building and codes office. They can recommend a licensed and insured contractor that meets your specific needs and budget.

When hiring a contractor, it is important to obtain a written contract that details the scope of the work and provides timelines for completion and payment schedules. A well-written contract will ensure that the work is performed in a timely manner and without surprises.

In addition to a contract, it is also a good idea to check with your local building and codes office before you begin your project to ensure the work you are having done is compliant with your city or county’s requirements.

In a down economy, spending on home improvement is a comforting activity that many Americans are more likely to do. It can make a house feel like a home and can add to the value of your property.