Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is any renovation, upgrade or repair that improves a home. Homeowners can choose projects to increase the value of their homes or simply renovate for enjoyment. There are many ways to improve a home, including remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, installing new appliances or adding an addition. In addition, homeowners can save money on utility bills by making energy efficient upgrades such as replacing windows or adding insulation.

While some improvements may not be worth the expense, others can be beneficial to the health of your home and increase its usable space. For example, converting a garage to a living room adds square footage and can be an excellent investment. However, if you are unsure whether your planned improvements will have a high ROI or will add to the value of your home, consult with a real estate agent before spending money.

Some improvements are a must, such as fixing a leaking roof or repairing a foundation crack. These repairs should be made as soon as possible to avoid further damage and potential safety hazards. Other improvements, such as adding a deck or patio or updating the kitchen and bathrooms can increase your home’s resale value. In addition, a well-planned landscape can help reduce energy costs and improve your home’s overall appearance.

The popularity of television shows such as Home Improvement and Trading Spaces has helped to blur the line between the traditionally male dominated world of construction and carpentry and the more feminine sphere of interior design and decorating. Home improvement has become a leisure activity for couples and families alike.

While there are many companies offering to do home improvements, it is important to find a reputable contractor that has the proper licenses and insurances to perform work on your home. A good starting point is to ask for references and check local licensing requirements before hiring anyone.

When choosing a contractor, it’s also wise to look for one who specializes in your project type. For instance, a company that does both kitchen and bath remodels will usually have the experience to make sure your remodel is done right the first time.

A well-planned, high quality remodel can add tremendous resale value to your home. However, if you are planning to sell your home in the near future, it is wise to discuss your plans with a Realtor or other real estate professional before taking on any expensive projects. High-end upgrades, such as marble flooring or a luxury hot tub, can scare off some buyers and might not provide a return on your investment.

Home improvement is a great way to add curb appeal and enjoy your home. However, be careful not to go overboard or you could end up wasting thousands of dollars. In addition, paying for a home improvement project with debt can be extremely costly because you are not only paying for the improvements, but also paying interest on that amount. If you must use credit, try to keep the amount of debt as low as possible.