Home improvement is an ongoing effort to make a house more comfortable and functional. It includes both interior and exterior projects.
A few examples include adding insulation or replacing old windows, doors and siding. Inside, it could mean refinishing wood floors or installing a new kitchen. Outside, it may mean replacing landscaping or building a deck. Home improvement can be expensive, but it’s an important part of homeownership.
Homeowners also spend money on repairs and remodeling projects to increase the value of their homes or keep up with current trends. For example, installing energy-efficient windows can save on utility bills and pay for itself when a homeowner sells the house. Another popular project is adding a master suite or updating the kitchen.
Historically, home improvement was a male-dominated activity. But with the advent of TV shows such as Bob Vila’s This Old House and Trading Spaces, women joined the ranks. As a result, the DIY movement accelerated. Today, it’s a mainstream activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
According to NerdWallet’s August survey, 3 in 5 homeowners have undertaken at least one home improvement project since March 1 of this year. Many have done multiple projects and spent more than $6,500 on average. But about half say they wouldn’t let home repair or improvement professionals into their houses during the pandemic, and that’s a concern.
Even when the economy slows, homeownership is still a desirable goal for many people. Homeownership offers security and stability compared with renting, and it can be a profitable investment. However, if a homeowner wants to improve their home, they must consider how it might affect their budget and lifestyle.
Some home improvement projects are essential, such as fixing a broken floor or sealing leaks. Others are more cosmetic. A homeowner might choose to add a water feature and koi pond, for instance, to make the home more attractive to potential buyers. But a homeowner should remember that this type of home addition won’t pay for itself if the house is sold within a few years.
The most common way for a homeowner to finance a home improvement project is through savings or borrowing against their equity. But other options exist, such as secured loans offered by Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration. These loans are often referred to as second mortgages, and they can be fixed-rate or adjustable-rate loans. Another option is a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which is a revolving line of credit based on the amount of your home’s equity. The lender can give you a limit that’s up to 85% of the market value of your home. If you’re considering a major home improvement, it’s a good idea to research financing options and find the right one for your needs. Then you can get started on your project with confidence. And don’t forget to follow safety guidelines when working on any home renovation project. It’s always smart to hire a professional for certain projects, such as electrical or plumbing work.