Home improvement refers to a wide range of projects that can be done to enhance the function or appearance of your home. These may include repairs, replacements, renovations or additions. Some of these projects are more expensive than others, but all are designed to improve the overall look and feel of your property. The majority of these projects are done to add a personal touch to your home or increase its resale value.

It is a good idea to have a general understanding of the cost of these projects and the return you can expect on them before making any major renovations to your home. Having this information can help you avoid overspending on a project that will not pay off or spending too little and missing out on the opportunity to make your home more beautiful and functional.

One of the most important considerations when choosing a contractor to perform any home improvement work is finding a professional that will provide quality workmanship at a reasonable price. There is a large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed companies, but there are also many professional contractors who have licenses to do business in your state and who belong to reputable trade associations or are accredited by a professional organization. Homeowners are advised to always check licensing, insurance and business references before hiring a contractor.

Homeowners are also urged to consider energy-efficiency projects that will save money and add value to their homes. These projects may include replacing windows, adding insulation or installing a new heating and cooling system. These types of projects will lower energy bills and are likely to pay for themselves when it comes time to sell.

Other common projects that will add value to your home include a sparkling bathroom overhaul, a basement remodel and a kitchen upgrade. These upgrades will likely give you the best return on your investment.

Some home improvement projects are just a matter of necessity, such as an electrical problem or roof leaks. These issues should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent potential damage or safety hazards.

It is also a good idea to consider improvements that will benefit your lifestyle and fit in with the character of your neighborhood. For example, installing a swimming pool may not be in keeping with the neighborhood.

When it comes to funding home improvement projects, the American Housing Survey reports that homeowners use cash from savings for most projects. However, for more expensive projects, financing is provided by sources like credit cards, loans from family and friends or contractor arranged financing.

When it comes to resale value, some projects can have a negative effect on a house’s value. For instance, overly personalized and unique enhancements such as a pet room or wine cellar can deter buyers from making an offer. It is a good idea to consult with a Realtor or real estate developer in your area about what renovations will actually add value to your home and which ones are a waste of money.