The home improvement industry encompasses the sales of building materials, appliances and decor for renovation and remodeling, or improving a homeowner’s living space. The industry also includes contractors and tradespeople who build, install or repair these products and improvements to the structure of a dwelling house. It also may include the construction, erection, replacement, remodeling, alteration, modification, restoration, modernization, or improvement of driveways, swimming pools, patios, porches, gardens, fences, garages, fallout shelters and other structures on land that is adjacent to or part of a dwelling house.
According to NerdWallet’s latest survey, Americans are renovating at a higher rate than ever. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 homeowners have taken on at least one home improvement project during the pandemic. What’s more, 52% say they’re easily able to pay for most projects without tapping into savings or going into debt.
That’s good news for companies such as Home Depot, whose revenue has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic. It’s also great news for homeowners who want to make their homes more comfortable and appealing. But while there are many great reasons to renovate, it’s important for homeowners to think about the value of each project before they take a sledgehammer to their own property.
For example, a new deck is a nice way to enjoy the outdoors, but if you spend more on a project than it will recoup in the home’s resale value, it could be a waste of money. Likewise, a unique or lavish light fixture might look beautiful, but it won’t do much for your home’s overall resale value.
The best home improvement projects are those that will make a home more functional and enjoyable for its current residents, rather than focusing on adding bells and whistles for potential buyers. For example, creating a second bathroom or expanding the kitchen are good ways to increase functionality and reduce stress, while still making a good return on investment.
Another type of project that will likely pay off is an energy-efficient upgrade, such as new windows or a heat pump. These improvements can decrease utility costs and offer a financial respite during high inflation.
Some home improvements simply can’t be put off for long, such as a leaking roof or an electrical problem. Hiring an inspector can help prevent these issues from worsening over time or leading to expensive repairs down the line.
When hiring a contractor, it’s important to find one who has a reputation for being reputable and affordable. Ask for referrals and check references, and always make sure the contractor carries workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. In addition, New York law requires contractors to provide a contract that details all work to be performed, a timeline for when the work will be completed, a payment schedule, and any other pertinent details, such as types of materials or brands.
With low interest rates and rock-bottom housing prices, now is a good time to consider taking on some home improvement projects. However, it’s essential for homeowners to think through each project carefully to ensure that the results will be worth the cost.