Home improvement is a wide term that encompasses many different renovations and additions to a residence. These projects can be undertaken for a variety of reasons; to make the house more comfortable, increase the value of the property or simply update and upgrade the home. It can include work on the interior or exterior of the house, as well as work on garden and other outdoor spaces.

A common reason to renovate a home is to prepare it for sale. The costs of some improvements, like putting in new flooring or painting the outside, can be tax-deductible. Other reasons for home improvement might be for personal preference or for safety and security concerns.

It’s important to choose a professional when undertaking any home improvement project. A good contractor can help you save time, money and effort by getting the job done correctly the first time. They can also help ensure that all relevant permits are obtained and the necessary inspections made. A contractor should be licensed, insured and have a solid reputation in the industry. It’s also a good idea to choose a contractor who will provide written estimates, timelines and payment terms in advance. It’s also a good idea check references and ask to see previous work samples.

Experts say that homeowners are likely to continue to invest in home improvements this year. Last year, 24.5 million Americans completed a home improvement project, according to research by Harvard University. Many of these upgrades are aimed at making homes more resilient in the face of natural disasters. That might include raising properties located in flood zones, installing hurricane windows in coastal communities or replacing standard landscaping with fire-resistant options. Other popular enhancements include adding outdoor entertainment areas with features such as fire pits and hot tubs and building small, habitable sheds.

While some home improvements may add value, it’s important to remember that resale values aren’t necessarily the same as what you paid for your home. Adding high-end upgrades such as marble flooring and a wine cellar won’t necessarily pay off when it comes time to sell. Instead, opt for mid-range improvements that will appeal to a broad range of buyers.

Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a contractor for major home improvements to improve your property. There are a number of do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement ideas that can boost your property’s value without costing a fortune. Paint, re-grouting tile and power washing the outside are among low-cost projects that can yield significant results.