Home improvement is a multibillion-dollar industry that encompasses the sale of construction materials and supplies, appliances, furnishings, decorations, and services from contractors and tradespeople. It includes both DIY home improvement projects and hired labor for larger-scale renovations, such as the construction of new rooms or the installation of an entirely new kitchen or bathroom.
Home improvements are often viewed as a good investment because they increase the value of the home and improve its overall appearance. However, not all improvements are created equal. Some may not add any measurable value to the home, while others can actually detract from its value. Homeowners should always consider the resale value of any renovation before beginning work. In addition, they should always compare prices of similar products and services from different providers to ensure that they are getting the best possible price.
For homeowners who are not able to pay for their home improvements in cash, mortgage loans and credit cards are available. Home equity loans are installment loans that allow homeowners to tap into the equity in their homes to secure funding for expensive expenses like home repairs and improvements, college tuition, debt consolidation, or long-term care. However, home equity loans must be paid back over a 5- to 30-year period with fixed monthly payments. The maximum loan amount cannot exceed 85% of the home’s equity, so homeowners should carefully evaluate their options before choosing this type of loan.
Another common method of financing home improvements is through personal loans. While these loans come with higher interest rates than mortgage or home equity loans, they offer more flexibility for borrowers who are not able to pay for their improvements in full. In addition, many credit cards offer introductory 0% APR periods for up to 12 months, making them an attractive option for short-term home improvement projects.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement is a popular way to save money on home renovations. This activity also gives people a sense of accomplishment and pride in their homes. Home improvement TV shows, online tutorials, and books provide easy-to-follow instructions for common projects. DIYers can even purchase pre-made kits to simplify the process.
In the past, male DIYers enjoyed the satisfaction of using traditional masculine tools like saws, hammers, and screwdrivers to complete home improvement tasks. As gender roles have evolved, men have shifted away from this hobby, but it remains a popular one among women and younger generations.
Aside from remodeling bathrooms, renovating kitchens, and adding extra living space, home improvements can include anything that makes the house more comfortable or functional. For example, installing a new backyard deck is an excellent way to make the most of your outdoor space. Other popular projects include painting the exterior of the house, replacing the windows, and installing energy-efficient lighting. However, before you begin any project, it is important to check with local building codes and regulations. If you are planning on hiring someone to perform the work, you should be aware that in most states, labor costs are not tax-exempt unless you have documentation of a capital improvement from your department of taxation and finance.