Home improvement refers to the alteration, remodeling or renovation of a residential property. The process of home improvement also includes the repair and restoration of existing buildings and structures. This includes construction, repair and maintenance, improvements to plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, and the addition of cosmetic features such as paint, wallpaper and carpet.
In the United States, the home improvement industry is a huge business. In fact, in 2017, home improvement expenditures totaled $522 billion. This is a substantial increase from the previous year, when spending on home improvements dipped. Experts attribute the recent growth in home improvement to rising housing prices and low interest rates, which make borrowing money for these projects much more affordable.
The most popular projects include replacing windows and doors, adding a deck or patio, finishing a basement, installing a fence, and redoing the kitchen and bathrooms. According to the NerdWallet study, these projects account for more than half of all home improvement expenditures. The report also found that married homeowners were most likely to pursue these projects and spent the most on average, while single owners were less likely to invest in their homes. Homeowners aged 55 and older were the largest group of homeowners who made improvements in 2017 and accounted for nearly 45 percent of all improvement market spending.
Aside from increasing housing costs, there are a number of other factors that could be driving this surge in home improvement spending. Rock-bottom interest rates and a soaring stock market have both contributed to the increased willingness of homeowners to borrow money for these projects. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has made many homeowners reluctant to let strangers into their homes, which has pushed up demand for outdoor home improvement services such as landscaping and building decks.
The popularity of DIY television shows has also fueled the boom in home improvement. In 1979, Bob Vila’s This Old House debuted on public television and inspired a generation of DIY enthusiasts. By the 1990s, these programs began to blur the line between what had been a traditionally male domain (carpentry work) and the largely feminine sphere of interior design and decorating.
When hiring contractors, it is important to do your research. Find out if they are licensed and insured, and get references from past clients. It is also a good idea to ask the contractor to provide you with a written contract for the project. The contract should contain a description of the work to be performed, as well as the materials that will be used. It should also include the estimated dates of when the performance will begin and be substantially completed.
It is also a good idea to set a budget before starting any project. This will help you stay on track with your project and ensure that it doesn’t go over budget. Finally, if you’re considering making any major changes to your home, it’s always a good idea to talk to a real estate agent first to see what those changes will add in terms of value to your home.