Home improvement is the renovation, repair, and remodeling of residential and noncommercial property for the purpose of improving function, style, or form. It includes work such as painting, repairing, landscaping, building, altering, refinishing, installing, replacing or removing fixtures, appliances and other components of a house or other structure.
Home improvements can add value to a home and improve the quality of life. However, not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some can actually decrease a property’s value or even deter potential buyers. Before undertaking any major home improvement project, it is important to consider the return on investment and research projects that will add overall and long-term value.
The home improvement industry has a variety of financing options. These include mortgage loans, credit cards, and equity lines of credit. The most popular of these is a second mortgage, or home equity loan, which has a fixed interest rate and is paid off over a set term. A homeowner can also borrow money from a family member or friends to finance home improvement projects.
In addition to these traditional sources of funding, there are some newer options available. For example, some home renovation companies offer “green” financing to help consumers reduce energy costs and improve the environmental impact of their homes.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS), home improvement spending peaked in 2022 and is expected to decline in 2023. This decline is largely due to stalled home sales and rising labor costs. However, JCHS still sees some growth in the home renovation market as homeowners continue to find satisfaction with renovating their homes.
Some of the most popular home improvement projects are outdoor improvements. These include deck construction, fence construction and remodeling, and landscape improvements. These projects are surging despite the pandemic and are often seen as a way to make a home more comfortable and functional. For instance, deck construction is up 275% compared to the same time last year, and the number of homeowners hiring landscapers has increased by 144%.
Other projects that have the greatest return on investment are those that make a home more energy efficient. For example, installing a new heating and cooling system, adding insulation, or replacing windows can significantly reduce a homeowner’s utility bills and increase the comfort of their home.
When selecting a contractor to perform a home improvement, it is important to compare prices and qualifications. The most reputable contractors will be licensed and insured. In addition, they should have a good reputation in the community and be willing to provide references. They will also be willing to provide you with a detailed estimate and contract. Maryland’s Home Improvement Law requires that all contracts for home improvement be in writing and signed by both the consumer and the business before work begins or any money is paid. Additionally, a contractor may not require more than 1/3 of the total contract price as a deposit.