Home improvement is a wide category of activities that improve or repair the interior and exterior of a dwelling. This can include remodeling or making additions to it, such as a new kitchen or bathroom. It can also include landscaping the property and constructing fences or decks. Other examples are painting, staining or coating the exterior of a house or replacing its windows. A home improvement project can also be a major renovation or repair of existing fixtures such as the roof, floors or plumbing systems.
Having the right home improvement ideas helps homeowners make the best decisions and save time and money. The first step is to determine the scope of work needed and what materials will be used. Then, decide on a budget. Using online models and design tools can help you create a virtual layout and see how different options will look before committing to anything. It’s important to add a 10-15% buffer to your cost estimates in case there are unforeseen expenses.
If you’re planning to sell your home soon, choose projects that will boost the value of your house. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are always a good bet, as are projects that increase square footage, such as finishing a basement or building a deck. However, buyer preferences vary from market to market, so it’s important to consider what people are looking for in your area before spending big bucks on a remodel.
When it comes to home improvements, there are some projects that simply can’t wait. Whether it’s a leaky roof or clogged gutter, some jobs are just too dangerous to tackle on your own and require professional help.
According to the American Housing Survey, homeowners spend a total of $522 billion on home improvement projects each year. The vast majority of that spending is on repair and maintenance projects, but a good number of projects are also done to enhance the value of the home or personalize it.
Most of these projects are paid for with cash from savings, but more expensive ones are funded with sources like credit cards, home equity loans or contractor arranged financing. “Something else,” which is the survey response chosen for 6% of projects, could mean that some are self-financed or paid for with gifts from friends and family.
While most homeowners are able to pay for their projects without tapping into savings or going into debt, some struggle with the costs. Roughly 3 in 5 homeowners have taken on home improvement projects during the pandemic, but more than half of those surveyed wouldn’t allow contractors into their homes due to pandemic-related social distancing concerns. For those who are unable to complete their home improvement projects on their own, government programs may be able to provide assistance. Those who live in rural areas, Native American territories or are veterans are among the groups that are eligible for federal grants to assist with home repair or improvement projects. Some states have their own programs as well.