Home Improvement and the Pandemic

Home improvement refers to the work that homeowners or professionals carry out on their property. This work can include maintenance, repair or remodeling. Home improvement can also refer to building additions, making the home more energy efficient or changing its appearance.

A homeowner can do some home improvements on their own, but often it is best to hire a professional for bigger projects or complicated renovations. A contractor can ensure the project is completed correctly and on budget. They can also help with finding the right materials and labor. Home improvement contractors can also provide design services. They can help you decide what type of renovation will best suit your home and how much it will cost.

In the past two years, homeowners have undertaken 115 million home improvement projects, according to the latest American Housing Survey. These projects are often small, such as changing out shower curtains or replacing old sinks. But some are larger and more costly, such as converting tubs into showers or adding new bathroom fixtures and vanities.

Despite the pandemic, many homeowners have continued to upgrade their homes. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that 26% of homeowners surveyed said they took on remodeling projects during the pandemic because they were spending more time at home as a result of social distancing measures. Others cited increased satisfaction with their home (34%) and the desire to make their house more comfortable (21%).

A common question is whether home improvements add value to a property. While some may, others don’t. It’s important to remember that most of the time, your return on investment will depend on the type of renovation and its location in your neighborhood. For example, adding a hot tub or fountain to a backyard will not add significant value to your home if most of your neighbors have modest yards.

Some upgrades will add value to your home, such as a kitchen remodel that increases functionality and improves the look of the room. A new kitchen can boost your home’s resale value by 7%, according to NAR. In addition to resale value, a new kitchen can increase the overall comfort of your home and be a great place to entertain guests.

It’s important to choose upgrades that are in line with the style and value of other homes in your neighborhood. Otherwise, your improvements might be too personal and not appeal to buyers when you are ready to sell.

One way to help fund a big home improvement project is to take out a home improvement loan. This type of loan allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, which can give you a lower interest rate than credit cards or personal loans. However, it’s important to compare loan offers and gather documents before applying. You can pre-qualify with multiple lenders to see estimated rates and terms without impacting your credit score, and you can also start the process of gathering documents ahead of time to speed up the application.