Home improvement is the altering, renovating, repairing, painting, or modernizing of residential or non-commercial property, including the construction of additions to the original structure. It also includes the installation, replacement, or improvement of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, patios, landscaping, fences, porches, garages, basements and waterproofing, and fire protection devices. The term also encompasses the conversion of commercial structures to residential use, such as a warehouse converted to a condominium.
Many homeowners are eager to make renovations, but not all improvements will give them a good return on their investment. Those who want to get the most out of their home’s value should focus on projects that will increase usable living space, such as adding a kitchen or bathroom. They should also opt for energy-efficient upgrades, which will pay for themselves over time through lower utility bills.
Whether it’s remodeling the kitchen or adding a deck, homeowners should carefully consider the cost and quality of materials before starting any project. If they’re not careful, they could overspend and wind up spending more than they can afford. “Overall, you should always go with the highest-quality materials you can afford so that you’ll enjoy your remodel for a long time,” said Sophia Bera Daigle, CEO and founder of Gen Y Planning, a financial planning firm for young families.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has delayed some home improvements, Americans are still renovating at a steady pace. According to a NerdWallet survey, 3 in 5 homeowners have made at least one home improvement during the pandemic. However, many homeowners are reluctant to hire contractors because of safety concerns about the virus.
The most popular improvements are sparkling bathroom overhauls, followed by basement and kitchen renovations. But these big-ticket projects don’t always deliver a high ROI, as homeowners typically only get back about 60% of their money.
More modest but effective improvements include installing new windows and a heat pump, as well as adding insulation. These upgrades can decrease energy costs and make a home more attractive to potential buyers when it’s time to sell.
Adding a bedroom or bathroom is another way to increase a home’s value. But it’s important to discuss any plans with a real estate agent before beginning any work. The agent can advise homeowners on which renovations are likely to add the most value and help them avoid ones that might be a waste of money.
The type of renovations that will increase a home’s value depends on the homeowner’s priorities and the market in their area, but some popular improvements include replacing the roof, adding a master suite, converting an attic to a bedroom or office, and updating the electrical system. These types of projects can significantly increase a home’s value and its functionality, but they also tend to be the most expensive. These types of projects should be planned carefully and completed by a licensed contractor.