Home improvement is the repair, remodeling, altering, painting, renovating, restoring, moving, demolishing, or modernizing of residential and noncommercial property. It includes but is not limited to the construction, installation, replacement, improvement or repair of driveways, garages, basements and foundations; kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms; fences; sprinkler systems; swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas; air conditioning, heating and ventilating equipment; electrical installations and wiring; plumbing; wall-to-wall carpeting and other floor coverings; and masonry.
The home improvement industry is booming for several reasons. The housing market has recovered from the last recession, enabling homeowners to draw on the equity in their homes to fund renovations. The aging baby boomer population has also contributed to the increase in home improvement spending. In 2017, 25 percent of all home improvement expenditures were made by homeowners aged 55 to 64 and another 25 percent by those 65 and older.
In addition, many homeowners choose to upgrade their homes to fit their changing lifestyles and needs. Some of the most popular home improvements include adding a master suite (with a private bathroom and walk-in closet) and installing an extra bedroom or bath. Many of these changes can add value to a home and improve its resale appeal.
Some home improvements, however, can actually detract from a home’s resale value. For example, overly expensive upgrades can be offputting to potential buyers and may even discourage them from making an offer on the home. Also, renovations that are not in keeping with the neighborhood’s architectural style may turn off buyers.
Aside from improving the overall look and feel of a house, home improvement projects can also increase efficiency and save money on energy costs. Energy efficient improvements such as new windows and doors, insulation, and HVAC upgrades are an investment that will pay off in the long run by lowering utility bills and decreasing energy consumption.
The emergence of television home improvement shows and DIY culture has also helped fuel the popularity of home improvements. In 1979, Bob Vila’s This Old House premiered on public television and became a hit, followed by a host of similar shows featuring step-by-step instructions for fixing and maintaining residential properties. These programs fueled an interest in craftsman-style home decorating and encouraged homeowners to become more involved in the maintenance and upkeep of their properties.
While there are many benefits to home improvement, it is important to plan wisely and stick to a budget. Otherwise, you could end up overspending and putting yourself in debt. This is particularly true for large-scale home renovations such as building an addition or installing high-end fixtures. Before making any major investments, be sure to consult a real estate professional for advice. This person can help you determine the expected return on your investment and give you insight into which renovations are most likely to increase a home’s resale appeal. Also, it is a good idea to consider the cost of labor when calculating your total home improvement budget.