Home Improvement 101

Home improvement involves a variety of projects that improve and repair the interior or exterior of a home. The term is also used to describe improvements that extend the life of a home and/or its fixtures and fittings. Home improvement can be done by a professional or by the homeowner, depending on the scope of work and the skill set needed to complete the project. The value of a home can be increased by undertaking renovations that add curb appeal or by adding an additional living space.

Homeowners often cite reasons for doing home improvement projects that are not necessarily related to the financial benefits of the project itself, including the satisfaction of seeing their project completed. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, 84% of homeowners who have renovated their homes reported wanting to spend more time in their upgraded home and 69% experienced greater enjoyment with their home after the remodel was completed.

While many homeowners have the skills to undertake some home improvement projects themselves, most require a level of expertise beyond what a DIYer is likely to possess. For these projects, hiring professionals is typically the best option. However, this can be expensive. In fact, the survey indicated that 20% of those who have undertaken home improvement projects in the past two years had to cut back on discretionary spending, sell items or use savings, 14% had to tap into or exhaust their emergency savings and 8% borrowed money (such as personal loans, credit cards or using equity lines of credit or mortgages).

Inflation has slowed, but household budgets are still being squeezed. As a result, some homeowners are deferring home improvement projects or reducing the size of their renovations.

It is important to keep safety in mind when doing any type of home improvement. Even seemingly simple repairs, such as replacing a light fixture or installing a new toilet, can be hazardous if not properly completed. Homeowners should always take safety precautions when working on their home and consult with experts to ensure they are doing the job correctly and safely.

In addition to the cost of materials, the expense of hiring professionals can add up quickly. That’s why it’s important for consumers to do their research and shop around before choosing a contractor. In addition to comparing prices, homeowners should look for contractors who are licensed, insured and accredited by professional organizations. Finally, they should be wary of “aggregators” who offer to bundle services or act as intermediary agency between service providers and homeowners. These companies may be operating without a license or insurance and could potentially place homeowners at risk of fraud, negligence or injury.