Home improvement is a term used to describe any kind of renovation, remodel, or upgrade on residential real property. This includes but is not limited to landscaping work, repaving the driveway, putting in a deck, painting the house, installing a fence, and the like. Home improvements are usually done to increase the value of the property, but may be carried out for other reasons as well. These include: increasing comfort, convenience, and aesthetics, as well as making the home safer or more energy efficient.
Many homeowners want to make improvements to their home in order to make it more suitable for them and their family. These changes could be in the form of a new kitchen, bath, or bedroom, or they might be made to improve functionality, such as adding an additional room or upgrading outdated electrical. Home improvements are also common amongst those looking to sell their homes, as these changes can help them get a better price on the market.
The average cost recouped for popular home improvement projects fell slightly in 2022 due to rising materials costs, according to a report from remodeling marketplace Houzz. In addition, annual inflation has risen to nearly 9%, further pushing up the cost of labor and raw materials needed for renovations.
Despite these challenges, renovating and upgrading a home remains a top priority for most homeowners. In fact, more people are choosing to stay put and renovate their existing homes rather than moving into a new one, according to the report. This is likely due to higher mortgage rates, which have deterred some buyers from trading up.
Overhauling surfaces underfoot and overhead was the most popular type of home improvement in 2017, a project that cost 5.2 million homeowners an average of $3,283. Replacing carpeting, flooring, or paneling can instantly freshen up a room, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Painting is another easy and affordable way to dramatically transform a space, but be sure to choose neutral colors that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.
Home improvement contractors must be licensed in the state in which they operate. They must pass a test on home improvement law and general business competency, and be screened for criminal records. Before hiring a contractor, it is important to read their contract carefully and understand any arbitration clauses that might be included. This is important because an arbitration clause can mean that any dispute over workmanship or price will be settled by an arbitrator, instead of going to court. It is also a good idea to check with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to ensure that the contractor you are considering is registered. This will provide you with protection from the Guaranty Fund for losses that might result from poor workmanship or violations of the Home Improvement Act. Licensed contractors are required to provide you with proof of their license and registration number prior to performing any work. Those who are not licensed will be subject to fines and possible arrest.