Home improvement is a popular way for homeowners to increase the value of their home and make it more livable. There are many different types of home improvements, including kitchen renovations, adding new bathrooms or bedrooms, refinishing hardwood floors, and replacing windows and doors. Some of these projects require professional help, while others can be done by the homeowner with some guidance from a knowledgeable friend or family member. Regardless of the type of home improvement project, it is important to choose a contractor that is licensed and insured. In addition, it is a good idea to check the contractor’s references and credentials before hiring them. There is a large “grey market” of unlicensed contractors, so homeowners are advised to seek the services of contractors that have been certified by a trade association or other professional organization.
A number of factors are driving the increase in home improvement spending, including rock-bottom interest rates and a strong desire to make the house feel like “home.” The most popular projects are those that focus on the exterior of the home. Deck construction is up 275%, and hiring landscapers and putting up fences has also spiked. The most common interior home improvements are renovating the kitchen (26%), bathroom (14%), and living room (12%).
The cost of home improvement is a major consideration, but even small projects can add value. A new front door, for example, is one of the top home improvements in terms of return on investment, according to the National Association of Realtors. Other low-cost upgrades that can pay off include painting, re-grouting tile, and power washing the house.
Another factor that drives the trend toward home improvement is the growing population of aging homeowners. The share of households headed by individuals age 55 and over is the largest since 1985, and this group is responsible for nearly half of all home improvement spending.
Before choosing a contractor, it is a good idea to shop around and compare prices. However, price alone should not be the deciding factor, as contractors vary greatly in their ability to complete the work on time and within budget. In addition to price, homeowners should consider the contractor’s reputation in the community, the length of time they have been in business, and their level of experience with a variety of home improvement projects.
Whether the purpose of home improvement is to sell the property or improve the quality of life for the owner, it is important to carefully plan and execute the renovations. The most successful renovations combine a vision of the final product with a detailed timeline and a well-defined budget. This helps ensure that the final product reflects the original plans and expectations of the homeowner.
For smaller home improvement projects, credit cards are a convenient option with a 0% APR introductory period and cashback rewards. However, for larger-scale renovations or long-term projects, a personal loan may be more suitable. Examine your financial information closely to determine the best financing option for you.