Home improvement, in the broadest sense of the term, refers to any renovation, repair, and remodeling of a residential real property. The improvements are designed to enhance the aesthetic of a house or its grounds and may include anything from updating kitchens to installing new flooring.
Homeowners often use a variety of methods to pay for their home improvements. The American Housing Survey, which collects data from owner-occupied households across the country, reports that a large percentage of home improvement projects are paid for with cash from savings. However, more expensive renovations are more likely to be financed with sources like cash-out refinances, home equity loans, contractor arranged financing and credit cards.
The most popular home improvement projects are sparkling bathroom overhauls and basement remodels, but these updates rarely yield a great return when it comes time to sell. According to a recent Cost vs Value report from Zonda Media, homeowners only get an average of 60% back on their renovation investments when they go to sell.
Instead of splurging on big-ticket upgrades, focus on the things that will add value to your house and improve your quality of life. Creating an extra bedroom, adding a deck and installing energy-efficient windows are all smart home improvement ideas that will help your house appeal to buyers, while also saving you money on utility bills.
Keeping up with regular maintenance is also a good idea. Neglected repairs will be discovered by home inspectors and could make your house less appealing to potential buyers. Replacing old doorknobs and scrubbing down the front porch are inexpensive, but effective ways to spruce up your home.
When choosing a contractor for your home improvement projects, check their license and insurance, and ask for a written contract that specifies all materials and workmanship to be used, as well as payment terms and any warranties that apply. It’s also a good idea to choose a local company that has a fixed business location and is able to stand behind its work.