Home improvement is the process of making changes to a house that improve its comfort, appearance or function. This can include remodeling or adding features such as a deck, fence or kitchen renovation. It can also involve repairing or replacing existing fixtures, such as a faucet or bathtub. Some improvements are intended to increase a home’s resale value, while others may be simply for the enjoyment of the homeowner.
Some projects require immediate attention, such as fixing electrical problems or a roof leak. These types of repairs are often referred to as “emergency” home improvements because they are necessary to protect the safety and property of the home’s residents. Other types of home improvement may be done to improve a home’s efficiency, such as installing new windows or a heat pump. These types of upgrades typically pay for themselves through reduced energy costs.
Experts predict that homeowners will focus on repair and maintenance in 2023, with many of them completing small projects such as refreshing shower areas or replacing vanities and toilets. These updates are less expensive than a full remodel and can make a big difference in a home’s appearance. Other popular projects may include converting garages into living space and upgrading outdoor areas such as patios or decks.
When choosing a project, it is important to consider the return on investment (ROI) as well as how the improvements will impact a home’s resale or rental potential. The ROI will tell you how much of the project cost you can expect to recoup when you sell the home. However, it is important to remember that you won’t necessarily recoup 100% of your original investment, particularly for high-end upgrades such as marble countertops or hardwood floors.
The best way to finance a home improvement project is to use savings or obtain a line of credit, such as a home equity loan or revolving home equity line of credit. However, some projects are too costly to be financed with this method and may require cash outlays. For these, it may be possible to get a personal loan from a bank or credit union.
When performing home improvements, homeowners must follow state and local laws regarding licenses and insurance requirements. For example, it is against the law in some states to engage in home improvement without a general contractor’s license. Some states may even allow a civil fine or imprisonment for violating the law. In addition, many cities and counties require homeowners to obtain a permit for certain home improvement projects. The city or county may also require insurance for contractors and subcontractors performing work on a home improvement project. These requirements are designed to protect homeowners and the general public from unlicensed contractors and subcontractors who don’t comply with city or county regulations.