Home improvement is the process of renovating and remodeling a house. This includes painting, installing new floors and furniture, replacing appliances, repairing plumbing and electrical systems, and making other changes to the structure of the home. The aim is to make the home more comfortable and attractive. Home improvements also increase the value of a home. There are many different home improvement projects that can be done, and some are easier than others. Some projects are more expensive than others, but there is usually some return on investment.
Despite a recent slump in the housing market, many homeowners still view home improvement as a good investment. Low interest rates are helping to make it affordable for homeowners to borrow against their equity to fund home improvements. The popularity of television home improvement shows, such as Bob Vila’s This Old House, is fueling the trend. Historian Carolyn Goldstein notes that the burgeoning home improvement industry has also been spurred by a growing interest in DIY (do it yourself) projects. She says that magazines and toolmakers promoted home improvement projects as a way to recreate male bonds that were supposedly lost when fathers no longer passed on their job skills to their offspring. Homeowners were also looking for a sense of accomplishment.
While some home renovations will add resale value, other upgrades may actually decrease the resale value of your home. For example, a home recording studio might not appeal to future buyers who are more interested in living in a family-friendly neighborhood. Other projects that could potentially decrease resale value include swimming pools, in-home theaters and built-in electronics.
Before undertaking any home improvement project, it is important to consult a professional. This will help ensure that the project is completed properly and is safe for your family. The contractor should be licensed and insured in accordance with New York State law. In addition, you should get a written contract that details the cost and timeline of the work to be performed. The contract should include a payment schedule and specify as much detail as possible, including specific types of materials and brands.
It is also important to note that in New York State, home improvements are only tax-exempt if the project meets the definition of a capital improvement. This is generally defined as an improvement that adds to the efficiency, comfort, or usefulness of a home, prolongs its life, or adapts it to a new use. Improvements such as repairs, which do not meet the criteria for a capital improvement, are generally taxable at the time of sale. For more information about home improvement and the definition of a capital improvement, please visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website. You can also contact a Certified New York Tax Advisor for assistance. They are available at One Bergen County Plaza, 4th Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601. CLICK HERE to learn more about how to find the right contractor for your next Home Improvement Project.