Home improvement is any activity that improves the functionality or looks of a residence. This includes repairs, maintenance, and renovations such as remodeling, painting, repairing, refinishing, rewiring, redecorating, or installing new items such as lighting, appliances, carpeting, flooring, windows, and doors. This term also encompasses nonstructural projects such as yard work and maintenance, garden design or landscaping, and the removal of weeds and shrubs. Home improvement can also be seen as a process that involves the construction of additions to homes, which is known as home extension.

Home improvements have increased in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. But they weren’t solely motivated by the pandemic, as many homeowners had been planning upgrades before the pandemic began. The survey asked respondents why they were upgrading their homes, and the most common answers were replacing worn-out surfaces and finishes (23%), adding features to make their home more livable (20%), and improving curb appeal (16%). The satisfaction derived from seeing the finished project also factored in for many homeowners.

But while there are many reasons for a homeowner to undertake a home improvement project, some projects may be detrimental to resale value. It’s important to keep this in mind before starting a project and not overspend. This can be especially true for expensive projects such as a custom-built pool or high-end kitchen and bathroom renovations.

During the 2021 American Housing Survey period, 78% of homeowners reported that their home improvement projects were primarily paid for with cash. The other common methods of payment were credit card debt and mortgage equity withdrawals. For those who used credit cards to finance their projects, the average amount owed was $5,800. These financing choices can have long-term consequences for a homeowner’s financial health.

For a home to increase in value, it needs to be functional and well-maintained. This is why a large portion of home improvement expenditures in the United States are spent on repair and maintenance. Some of these projects are necessary and cannot be delayed, such as repairing electrical problems or a roof leak. Other home repairs include replacing or refinishing wood floors, repainting the exterior, and repairing gutters.

In general, the more customized a home improvement is to a specific family’s tastes and lifestyle, the less likely it will be to have a positive impact on resale value. It’s best to choose projects that will appeal to the widest range of potential buyers.

While completing home improvement projects can be satisfying, it’s important to always put safety first. Never attempt any DIY projects that could be dangerous, and be sure to consult a professional before beginning any large home improvement projects. Always follow the recommended safety procedures, especially when working with electrical or plumbing work.

Home improvement is a great way to add value to your home and make it more enjoyable to live in. With proper planning and execution, these projects can become a smart investment for your home’s future resale value.