Home Improvement Basics

Home improvement

Home improvement is a broad term that covers any renovation, remodeling or addition to an existing home. These may include interior and exterior changes such as painting, wallpapering, tiling, replacing carpets or installing hardwood floors, putting in new windows, doors, siding, and roofing.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, home improvements can be a great way to improve your living environment and increase your property’s value. These projects can also add a sense of comfort, safety, and energy efficiency to your home.

If you are planning on making a major renovation, consider obtaining financing for your project. These loans can help you pay for materials, labor, and equipment for the job.

When deciding on a home improvement loan, you’ll want to choose a lender that offers competitive interest rates and terms. You’ll also need to determine how much equity you have in your home and what type of loan will best suit your needs.

Cost of Work: Contractors vary in their prices for similar work, so it’s important to get estimates from multiple companies before you sign a contract. It’s also wise to compare contractors based on quality of work, experience and reputation.

Insurance: Insure your home for the full value of any repairs or replacements you make. You should also ensure that the contractor you select is covered by a general liability policy and additional coverage for any work they will do outside your property.

Qualifications: Before you sign a contract, make sure that the contractor is qualified and licensed. A license ensures that the contractor has met all applicable state requirements and is insured.

Obtain a Written Contract: Before signing a home improvement contract, make sure that the contractor has provided a contract that meets all the legal requirements. It should specify a payment schedule, provide a timeline for completion of the work and list all the specifics about the project, including the types of materials to be used.

Use an Escrow Account: The contractor is legally required to put your payments in an escrow account until the job is substantially complete. This will protect you from potential disputes and save you money on fees charged by the contractor.

Check for Fraudulent Contracts: A contractor can be held liable for actual damages, plus a $500 penalty, if the contractor uses fraudulent written statements to get you to sign a contract. The Attorney General is authorized to prosecute contractors who violate the law and order them to compensate defrauded customers.

Do Not Sign Any Home Improvement Contract Before You’ve Read It: The Maryland Home Improvement Commission requires that contractors provide a written contract before they start any work on your home. It must describe the work to be done, provide a payment schedule, and give you an opportunity to review it before signing.

You should also check for arbitration clauses in the contract to prevent a dispute from going to court. Arbitration is a legal dispute resolution procedure that provides protection for both sides in cases of disputes between homeowners and contractors. An arbitration clause must be included in a home improvement contract and must be signed by both parties before it becomes effective.