What is Home Improvement?
Home improvement, also known as home renovation, is the process of improving the interior or exterior of a residential dwelling. This can include remodeling or repairing kitchens, bathrooms, and basements; adding bedrooms or rooms; upgrading electrical systems; installing new plumbing; replacing windows; adding decks, patios, and porches; painting; and other structural changes to a house. Home improvements can also include a number of maintenance tasks such as repairing or replacing worn doorknobs, cleaning out rain gutters, and fixing loose sidewalk tiles.
The most common reasons for home improvement are to increase a property’s value and to make it more enjoyable to live in. Remodeling projects can be expensive, however, and return on investment varies by project. It’s important to consider ROI percentages and talk to a real estate agent about which renovations will be worth the expense.
A home improvement project can be done by a general contractor, who is licensed and insured. The contractor can supply and install materials, and can oversee the entire project to ensure quality work. Alternatively, homeowners can hire an independent contractor to complete a specific part of the job. Independent contractors must pass background checks, licensing requirements, and business references.
A common way to finance a home improvement project is with a home equity loan, which is a second mortgage secured by the equity in your home. This is an alternative to using credit cards or personal loans for large expenses. Home equity loans typically have 5-30 year terms and fixed monthly payments, with a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 85% of your home’s current market value.