Home improvement is a broad term that can refer to renovations of the interior and exterior of a home or property, as well as other improvements to an existing structure. Improvements are usually carried out in order to increase the function and enjoyment of a home, or to improve its market value. Some common home improvement projects include remodeling an existing bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, adding a deck or patio, installing a new garage door, painting the exterior of a house, and upgrading the HVAC system.
The coronavirus pandemic has made many homeowners reluctant to allow home improvement professionals into their houses, and that could mean fewer renovations this year. However, about 3 in 5 homeowners (61%) still took on home improvement projects in the past two years, per an August NerdWallet survey. And while a lack of labor and materials is partly to blame for the spike in home improvement spending in 2022, most homeowners said they were motivated to upgrade their homes regardless of the pandemic.
When it comes to choosing a project, homeowners should consider both their own comfort and the potential return on investment. It’s important to remember that not all upgrades will pay off — some are simply too expensive to recoup when you sell, or may not appeal to buyers. And it’s important to choose a contractor with a good reputation and license. “As a consumer, you have the right to get a written contract before any work starts, with an itemized list of all expected costs and a payment schedule,” says New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo, who notes that a reputable contractor should also have their name, address, and MHIC license number preprinted on the contract.
For those looking to add value to their home, it’s important to focus on low-cost projects that will have a big impact. Projects such as re-grouting tile, painting the inside or outside of your house, and power washing the driveway can make a significant difference without breaking the bank.
Ultimately, homeowners should remember that the most valuable home improvements are those that will provide them with the greatest degree of satisfaction and enjoyment. Whether that’s a sparkling bathroom, a renovated kitchen or a beautiful outdoor space, making the most of your home’s unique features will help ensure it stands out in the real estate marketplace. But before you start on any large renovations, it’s a good idea to consult with a real estate professional and a licensed contractor for advice. They can help you determine how much your home is worth and whether now is the right time to remodel or renovate.