Home improvement is any work done to an existing residential or commercial building, such as a house, that enhances the property’s appearance or value. It may also be a means of improving the function or safety of the property, and it can include landscaping and garden work.
Home improvements are a popular activity for homeowners who want to add value to their homes and/or improve the comfort and convenience of their living spaces. But not all home improvements add value, and some can actually reduce the home’s resale value.
Most people undertake home improvements because they feel a need to make their houses more comfortable and stylish, says Mark Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Some projects – such as kitchen remodels and additions – can add significant value to your home, but others don’t, says Anderson.
When it comes to resale value, a homeowner should consider the home’s current market and what the neighborhood is like before embarking on any renovations, advises Bob Gordon, real estate blogger at Boulder Real Estate News. For instance, if you are considering doing work on your kitchen that isn’t in keeping with the neighborhood’s standard, it could hurt your chances of selling the house quickly and getting a good price.
If you are planning a large remodeling project, it is a good idea to consult with a professional before you begin. A professional can help you determine which changes will most benefit your home and will add the most value.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a contractor for your home improvement is to choose one with the proper license and insurance. You are not protected under the Maryland Home Improvement Law (MHIC) if you do business with an unlicensed contractor.
In order to find a licensed contractor, check with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission or your local Better Business Bureau for information on license requirements. Then, perform some background checks on the company and check with neighbors and friends who have used the contractor before you hire them to do any work.
Before letting a contractor start working on your home, make sure you understand the project’s scope, the type of materials to be used, and the estimated dates the work will be completed. Then, carefully read the contract and be sure to sign it before the work begins.
A home improvement contract must include the name, address, and MHIC license number of the contractor. In addition, it must include the amount of money to be paid to the contractor and a description of the work being performed.
A home improvement contract must be in writing and signed by both the consumer and the contractor. It should also contain the dates when the work will be completed, and include a copy of the contractor’s license, insurance and licensing certificate.