Home Improvement 101
Home improvement is the renovation, repairing, modernizing, altering, upgrading or adding to any part of a residential building or structure. This can also include nonpermanent improvements such as landscaping, fences and offsite construction work. However, it does not include any new building projects or structural changes such as adding on a new room or deck.
Typically, homeowners pursue home improvement projects because they want to enjoy the benefits of the work or need to make repairs. In the long run, a well-planned project can improve a home’s functionality and increase its value. However, not all projects are equal. Some produce good returns, such as replacing a worn doorknob, while others may be a waste of money, such as installing top-of-the-line appliances and expensive marble countertops in an older home.
One way to avoid costly mistakes is to work with a professional contractor. Maryland law requires a contract for home improvement work to be in writing and signed by both the homeowner and business before any work starts or money is paid. The contract should contain a description of the work to be performed, materials to be used, and dates that the performance will begin and be substantially completed.
Some home improvement projects are can’t-wait tasks, such as a broken window, leaky roof or clogged gutters. Other, more optional upgrades might be to install a security system or replace the furnace. Whatever you decide, don’t go into debt to finance your project. It’s not a wise investment, and it can have negative effects when you sell your house.