Home improvement is the repair, maintenance, remodeling, renovation, or addition to residential real property such as a house or yard. It includes a wide range of projects, such as painting, refinishing, re-grouting tile, staining, and installing new flooring or appliances. It also may include landscaping, repairing fences, adding decks and porches, installing central heating and air conditioning equipment, and other projects. Home improvement is a large industry that consists of the retail sale of building materials, tools and supplies, as well as the services of contractors and other workers who perform home renovations or upgrades.
When choosing a contractor, always get multiple estimates for the work to be done. Ask for a detailed description of the project, including a completion date and payment terms. Most states require that a contract for home improvement work be written and signed before any work begins or money is exchanged. Check with your local consumer protection agency to learn what the laws in your area are.
A few smart home improvements can add value to your home without blowing your budget. For example, replacing old windows will increase your home’s energy efficiency, while updating your kitchen with modern appliances can boost its resale value. But don’t invest in high-end upgrades that aren’t likely to appeal to a majority of buyers. These types of projects tend to recoup less than 30% of their costs in resale value.