Home improvement is the repair, maintenance, restoration, or upgrade of residential real property. The improvement may be cosmetic, such as painting the interior or exterior of a house; structural, such as adding on an addition or refinishing wood floors; or functional, such as installing a new roof or energy-efficient windows. In general, the value of a home is increased by improving its condition or making it more functional for its owners.
Although the coronavirus pandemic boosted homeowners’ desire to improve their homes, it was not the only driver of remodeling activity in 2022. The National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report found that 83% of surveyed homeowners had planned to renovate prior to the pandemic. The report cited several motivations for homeowner renovation, including upgrading worn-out surfaces and finishes (30%), adding features and improving livability (21%), and simply wanting a change (16%).
The cost of remodeling projects varied by homeowner age, family status, and property type. In general, those who owned their homes outright were more likely to undertake home improvements than those who financed their purchases with a mortgage or other debt. Married couples with children were the most active homeowners, with those aged 45 to 64 driving the most spending on improvements.
When choosing a contractor, be sure to find out their experience and qualifications. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and check references. Also, be sure that your contractor is insured. In Maryland, all contractors performing home improvement work must be licensed. Look for a contractor’s name, address, and Maryland Home Improvement Contractor (MHIC) license number preprinted on the contract before any work begins or money is paid.
Investing in home improvements can be a good way to add value and equity to your home, but don’t overspend. Spending too much on upgrades can backfire when it comes time to sell. Overly expensive projects will make your home stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, and might not appeal to potential buyers. Moreover, neglected maintenance tasks will be discovered quickly by a prospective buyer’s home inspector and can lower your home’s overall value. Lastly, be sure to talk to a real estate agent about your proposed renovations before you start any major projects. They can help you determine the best return on investment for your specific situation. They can also assist with securing a home loan and help you navigate the many rules and regulations of the mortgage process.