Home improvement is a broad term that encompasses any renovation or addition to a residence. It includes work to upgrade or repair existing features, such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as building extensions or additions. Typically, a homeowner undertakes a home improvement project with the aim of increasing a property’s value or making it more functional. However, not all home projects add value and some actually decrease a house’s appeal and resale value. It is important to do your research before deciding on which projects to undertake and to find out which improvements will have the greatest return.
Some home improvement projects are simply necessary to maintain the safety and functionality of a dwelling, such as fixing electrical wiring or replacing worn out doors and windows. These types of repairs are usually not very costly and can often be done by a qualified contractor. In contrast, other improvements are undertaken with the intention of increasing a home’s resale value and therefore making it more appealing to potential buyers. Such changes may include renovating a bathroom or kitchen, adding a swimming pool or installing a new front door. In most cases, these types of renovations are more expensive and will not yield the same financial return.
Historically, home improvement was considered a man’s domain and was largely seen as an activity that could be performed by skilled tradesmen. It was not until the popularity of television programs such as This Old House that it became popular for non-professionals to engage in home improvement and DIY projects. As a result, home improvement stores cater to the needs of do-it-yourselfers and an enormous variety of books and online “how-to” videos exist for those interested in learning new skills.
Aside from the practical reasons for undertaking a home improvement project, some homeowners also choose to improve their homes because they want to enjoy the added comfort and style that such improvements can provide. Many people, for example, add extra bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a growing family or to make it easier for older members of the household to live in the house. Others may choose to remodel their kitchens or bathrooms to improve the look and feel of their home.
While it is important to choose updates that will appeal to potential buyers, it is equally as important to avoid those projects that will have the opposite effect. For instance, adding an exotic bathroom fixture may detract from the value of a house and might even discourage some potential buyers.
Those who are considering making major home improvements should consult with local contractors and real estate professionals to ensure they do not accidentally decrease their home’s value. It is also a good idea to review the current home insurance policy before beginning any renovations to ensure that it provides adequate coverage. This is particularly important if the house is already valued above the amount covered by the current policy. This can be done by obtaining a home insurance quote from several different companies.