Home Improvement 101

Home improvement

Home improvement is the renovation, repair, alteration, modification, or addition to a house or other buildings that are attached to it, such as garages, sheds, fences, and swimming pools. It also includes improvements that are made to an existing house in order to make it more energy efficient or fit a modern lifestyle, such as replacing windows, installing a heat pump, and adding insulation.

The best home improvement projects are those that increase the resale value of your home and improve its function for you and your family. An updated kitchen and bathrooms are always good choices, as are any changes that increase livable space, like adding an additional bathroom or a finished basement. However, buyer preferences vary greatly from market to market, so it’s important to focus on what people are looking for in your area.

Be sure to get a contract in writing from any contractor you hire for home improvement work. It should include an estimated start and completion date, the total cost of the project, and a payment schedule. The contract should also state that a deposit not to exceed 1/3 of the contract price may be required before beginning work and withhold final payment until all work is completed and all required inspections and certificates of occupancy are obtained.

While it’s tempting to go overboard on a DIY home improvement project, going into debt is never a smart move. It’s better to save up the money you need for a project before starting. And if you do end up using credit, avoid overspending and paying it off as quickly as possible to minimize interest charges.