Home Improvement Basics
Home improvement is the process of renovating, adding to or repairing one’s existing property. It includes both interior (electrical and plumbing) and exterior (masonry, concrete, siding or roofing) improvements. Whether it is to improve safety, make it more energy efficient, upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes or materials, or simply add value to your home, it can be an expensive undertaking.
Increasingly, homeowners are making their homes more attractive and functional. This is often done as a means of self-expression and personal preference. It can also be a way of making your home more comfortable for you and your family.
The booming home improvement industry is an important part of the economy, with a global market value of around $624 billion in 2021. It is a multifaceted business that encompasses the sales of building materials, appliances and decor, as well as the services offered by contractors and tradespeople.
According to a recent survey, about half of all homeowners are planning a home improvement project in the next two years. This is a far higher rate of activity than typically seen during economic downturns, and it suggests that many people are coping with changes in their lives and need to accommodate them with projects at home.
Most homeowners plan to improve their home for a variety of reasons, including making it more comfortable and/or improving it as a way to increase its value when it comes time to sell. However, only 20% of those planning to do home improvement work say it is to help them sell their house.
If you are planning to undertake a home improvement project, be sure to have the project completed before you put your home on the market. This is because you may need to replace items, like windows, that can affect the resale value of your home.
Before you start a home improvement project, check the license of the contractor and the insurance policy for the company. Some states require that all contractors have a valid license. Then, make sure that the contract is in writing and signed by both parties before the work begins or any money is paid.
When hiring a contractor, ask for references and a detailed estimate of the project’s cost. It should include the date of the start and completion of the work, a payment schedule, and a list of specifications such as type and brand of materials to be used. It should also include any warranties for the material and workmanship.
The best home improvement contractors are ones that can be trusted to get the job done, provide quality products, and stand by their warranties. They should have a permanent address, offer reliable pricing, and be expected to be in business for the long term.
Avoid contractors who do not have their name, address and MHIC license number preprinted on their contracts. The state’s home improvement law requires that all contracts for work on a homeowner’s home be in writing.