Home Improvement 101

Home improvement refers to the construction, repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, conversion, rehabilitation, or modernization of a building or structure and the installation of devices for the comfort, convenience, or security of occupants. It also includes the improvement of land and landscaping, as well as the construction, erection, repair, or replacement of driveways, swimming pools, fences, patios, porches, garages, fallout shelters, basements, and other similar structures on residential land or buildings with four (4) or fewer dwelling units.

Home improvements can increase a home’s value and improve its livability. However, it is important to weigh the cost against the potential return on investment when deciding what renovations to make. Some projects may be more urgent than others, and should be prioritized accordingly. For example, upgrading your electrical system or fixing a leaky roof should be done immediately to prevent damage and keep your family safe.

Other projects, such as installing a smart thermostat or adding insulation, can save money on energy bills and add to the resale value of your home. Be sure to do your research before choosing a project and hire qualified professionals for any work that requires specialized skills.

The pandemic has led to homeowners spending more time at home, which has given rise to an increased interest in DIY home improvement projects. In fact, about 3 in 5 Americans (61%) have taken on home improvement projects since March 1, according to a NerdWallet survey. The majority of these homeowners (79%) say they were able to complete their project without tapping into savings or going into debt, which is up from 69% in our previous survey.

It is not uncommon for home improvement projects to go over budget due to unexpected issues, but many homeowners are finding ways to cut costs and stay on track. Taking the time to create a realistic budget before starting a project can help homeowners avoid costly surprises down the road. In addition, homeowners can save money by doing some of the work themselves rather than hiring a professional.

Regardless of whether you are looking to upgrade your home for your own enjoyment or are considering selling it in the future, there are plenty of low-cost, high-value do-it-yourself home improvement projects that can help you achieve your goals. Whether you are painting, re-grouting tile, or power washing your exterior, these simple upgrades can increase the value of your home and make it more appealing to prospective buyers.

When choosing which home improvement projects to tackle, it is important to keep in mind that buyer preferences vary from market to market. Before committing to any major renovations, be sure to check with real estate agents and local home improvement stores to see what projects are most popular in your area. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are always a good choice, as are renovations that add living space such as finished basements and decks. It is also a good idea to choose projects that will appeal to the widest range of buyers possible in order to maximize your resale potential.