Home Improvement – What You Need to Know

Home improvement is the process of renovating or repairing a home. These improvements may include adding features, fixing issues, or updating appliances and systems. While homeowners typically perform some of these projects themselves, contractors are also available to help. Depending on the size and scope of the project, it can be a large investment that requires careful planning and execution.

Homeowners are spending less on major renovations as they pause their plans to upgrade kitchens and bathrooms, but they’re still making some modest repairs. According to a survey by NerdWallet, a fifth of those thinking about taking on a project over the next two years say it’s to make their homes more attractive to potential buyers. But the majority are looking to improve their homes for other reasons, including making them more comfortable and feeling more satisfied with their house.

Contractors and home improvement retailers are still benefiting from rock-bottom interest rates, but the housing market has stalled, and that’s squeezing budgets. As the economy continues to sputter, consumers will likely revisit their pricier renovation plans as they find a way to get their finances in better shape, says Joe Derochowski, an industry adviser at the market data firm Circana.

The most popular home improvements are paint and light fixture replacements, followed by window and door replacements, and a bathroom remodel. While these are simple projects that can be done by most homeowners, it’s important to hire licensed contractors for larger remodeling jobs such as room additions and a new roof. In addition to verifying their licenses and insurance, homeowners should ask for references from past customers and check out online reviews. They should also establish a payment schedule and withhold final payments until the work is completed.

If you need to finance your home improvement project, you can consider secured loans such as a HELOC or a second mortgage. These loans are backed by your home, and they usually offer lower rates than unsecured loans. However, it’s important to consider whether these types of loans are the right fit for your situation. A revolving line of credit can be an option for small projects, while a fixed-rate loan is best for a bigger renovation.

In general, it’s best to limit home improvements to those that will add value or increase your comfort. Avoid luxury upgrades such as an in-ground pool, marble flooring or a home gym, which are unlikely to pay off at sale time. In addition, make sure any improvements are consistent with the style of your neighborhood and in keeping with neighboring houses.

Organizing your tools and supplies can be a big chore, but there are plenty of ideas for tackling the task, from using spice containers to hold pesky little pieces to storing screws in old mason jars. These hacks are especially helpful in a garage, where the space is limited and supplies can quickly accumulate. These DIY storage solutions can also be adapted to basements, potting sheds and other workspaces.

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