Home improvement is the repair, maintenance or restoration of residential real estate. It encompasses such projects as installing a new roof, repaving a driveway, remodeling a kitchen or bath and building a fence. Home improvements can increase the value of a house or make it more livable. Homeowners can choose to do the work themselves or hire contractors. In the latter case, the contractor must pass a background check and be licensed by Maryland’s Home Improvement Commission. Generally, homeowners use loans to finance these projects. When choosing a lender, the borrower should compare interest rates and other terms. Some lenders offer a variety of plans designed to meet the needs of borrowers with different credit histories.
The home improvement market is growing again, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A 2022 survey found that many homeowners upgraded their homes during the pandemic, but the virus was not the only reason. Other reasons included wanting to upgrade worn surfaces and finishes, improving livability, adding features and making changes for aesthetic appeal.
Although the market is volatile, it is important to remember that investing in your home will improve your quality of life. It will also help you keep up with maintenance and save on energy costs, which can add up over time. However, it is also a good idea to stay realistic about the returns on your investment. Most renovations return less than 100% on the initial cost, and may take several years to pay off.
Despite the uncertain housing market, Americans still plan to spend money on home improvements in the near future. The American Housing Survey reported that in 2017, homeowners spent $522 billion on an estimated 115 million projects. This marks a $72 billion increase over the previous two-year period. The average project cost was $1,500.
A major factor driving this surge in home improvement spending is rising house prices, which have boosted equity and enabled more people to afford a remodel. Additionally, older people are a significant segment of the population and tend to have more available funds for home improvements. This group accounted for 25 percent of all remodeling in 2017.
While many people do home improvements to improve their lives, there are some projects that will only raise the resale value of a home. For this reason, it is important to consult a professional and determine the best investment for your home.
NerdWallet’s September survey indicated that 3 in 5 homeowners have made home improvements during the pandemic, but that nearly half are reluctant to let professionals into their homes due to safety concerns about coronavirus. However, a majority of those who hired professionals were happy with the results.
The most popular home improvement projects were bathroom and kitchen remodels, followed by a new deck or patio installation. Homeowners are also increasing the amount of outdoor work they do, such as landscaping and putting up fences. These projects are expected to continue to be popular, but homeowners should consider how long they plan to stay in their homes when deciding what improvements to make.