Home Improvement Trends

Home improvement is a broad term that can refer to anything from adding or replacing fixtures to painting walls and redoing the landscaping. Whether you’re planning to make improvements for resale or simply for comfort, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of these projects.

One of the few certainties in life is that as a homeowner, you’ll have to take on home repair and improvement projects. They often pop up without warning, like a plumbing leak or a leaking roof. And they can be expensive, as homeowners who have taken on such projects have discovered in the past: According to the American Housing Survey (AHS) from the U.S. Census Bureau, homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvement projects in the past two years.

Despite their costs, these projects can be a good way to add value to your house and increase its safety and functionality. However, they should be planned carefully so that you’re not putting yourself in debt. In addition, if you’re planning to sell your house soon, it’s wise to consult with a real estate professional to determine which renovations will actually produce a return on investment.

For the most part, the areas of home improvement that are surging the most are outside the house. Deck construction is up nearly threefold, and the number of people putting in fences has skyrocketed. Other popular outdoor projects include landscaping and putting in a hot tub.

Indoor renovations are also increasing, with painting, staining or refinishing woodwork, wallpapering and removing carpet being among the top projects. Kitchen remodeling is another area that’s experiencing a big boost. This can be attributed to the popularity of cooking shows, but it could also reflect an overall rise in the culinary arts.

If you are planning a project, it’s important to remember that you have tax benefits for doing it yourself (DIY). This is because these DIY jobs are considered repairs and not new constructions, which means they can be deducted from your federal income taxes.

As you’re doing your renovations, it’s also a good idea to update your home insurance policy. This is because your home’s value will likely increase after the remodel and it’s vital to make sure your policy covers this change in value.

Home improvement is a long-term commitment. So be sure you’re ready to spend the time and money needed to maintain your property and keep up with the latest trends. But most of all, don’t go overboard with high-end finishes that won’t necessarily appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers.

Always have a contract written up for any home improvement work that’s over $500. This contract should include a timeline for completion, a payment schedule and as much detail about the project as possible. For example, it should state the types of materials and brands that will be used. It should also state that any changes that are made to the contract require a written modification.