Home Improvement 101

Home improvement

Home improvement is a popular pastime in which homeowners seek to increase the comfort, convenience, and value of their living space. Many projects are relatively inexpensive and can be completed on a DIY basis. Others are more involved, requiring the use of tools and skills acquired through practice. In the latter case, a homeowner may choose to hire a professional. The home improvement industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Some of this growth is attributed to the pandemic-triggered lockdown, which has led some homeowners to spend more time at home and invest in renovations that can make their homes more livable.

The popularity of television shows focusing on home improvements has also contributed to the growth of the industry. In the 1970s, Bob Vila’s This Old House and its successors tapped into an interest in craftsmanship and a fascination with older-looking houses. Manufacturers capitalized on the trend by marketing cheap imitation molding or columns and other Victorian-style elements that could be used to give suburban homes an historic look.

Besides improving the enjoyment of a home, one of the most important reasons to undertake a home improvement project is to increase its resale value. However, it’s important to remember that not all renovations will yield a high return on investment. For example, it’s usually not worth the cost to add a gourmet kitchen if you live in an area where most buyers prefer basic appliances.

If you’re planning a major home improvement, it’s a good idea to consult with a real estate agent to find out what kinds of improvements are most likely to appeal to buyers in your neighborhood. Then you can focus on projects that will maximize your return on investment.

Updated bathrooms are always a good bet, as are renovated kitchens and basements. Another popular option is to turn a bedroom into a master suite, with a private bathroom and walk-in closet. This can be a costly renovation, but it will usually pay off in the long run.

Before beginning any home improvement project, it’s important to assess your skill level and determine whether you can do the work yourself or if it’s better to hire a professional. You should also consider the cost of materials and labor. It’s a good idea to budget for unexpected expenses and include a 10-15% buffer in your home improvement estimates.

If you do decide to hire a contractor, check his or her license and insurance coverage before work begins. If possible, get references from previous clients and ask to see examples of their work. A reputable contractor will provide you with a written contract that includes the scope of the work, the estimated completion date, and any warranties or guarantees offered by the company. You should avoid any contractor that refuses to provide you with a contract. In addition to being illegal, this could lead to unsatisfactory work and costly disputes down the road.