Home Improvement – A Popular Activity Among Homeowners

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Home improvement is a popular activity among homeowners that can improve their property and increase its value. It involves repairing or renovating a house, and the process can be done by both individuals and by professionals. The reasons for home improvements vary from personal preference and comfort to the need for maintenance, energy savings, or safety. Many home improvement projects provide good returns on investment, and some are even able to pay for themselves over time.

The popularity of television shows such as Bob Vila’s This Old House and other DIY (do-it-yourself) shows has increased interest in home improvement projects. This trend has also been helped by a boom in the construction industry, low mortgage rates, and rising homeowner confidence.

A lot of the projects surging right now have to do with work outside the home, such as putting up fences, paving walkways, and building decks. Anderson says this reflects a desire to make outdoor living spaces more usable. Other top projects are adding laundry rooms and master suites. Anderson says these are comfort projects, because they make daily living more convenient and comfortable.

While much of the talk about home improvements centers on their impact on a home’s resale value, a lot depends on timing and the scope of the project. For example, improvements that add a new bathroom or kitchen will generally have the highest return on investment, while other less costly projects may only increase a home’s value by a small amount. In addition, some types of home improvement projects will have longer lasting effects on a home’s value than others, such as adding a swimming pool or installing a new air conditioning system.

When hiring contractors to perform home improvements, consumers should compare estimates from several different companies. Prices for the same project can vary widely, but other factors should also be considered when making a final choice, such as the contractor’s reputation, insurance coverage, and length of time in business. Consumers should beware of contractors who ask for large deposits or payment in advance before the home improvement is started.

Some homeowners use home equity loans to finance home improvements. These loans allow a borrower to use their home’s equity as collateral for a loan that is repaid over 5-30 years with fixed monthly payments. However, the maximum home equity loan that can be obtained does not exceed 85% of a home’s total appraised value.

The best way to avoid fraud is to hire a licensed professional. In the state of Maryland, all home improvement contracts must be written and signed by both parties before any work begins. The contract should contain a description of the work to be performed and a list of materials to be used, including the brand name and color. The contract should also include the names, addresses and MHIC license numbers of both the contractor and the consumer. The contract should also contain a mandatory arbitration clause and a disclosure that any claim against the Consumer Guaranty Fund will be stayed until completion of the mandatory arbitration proceeding.