Home improvement is one of the great pleasures of homeownership. Whether it’s fixing that leaky roof or adding an extra bathroom, most homeowners want to improve their houses, whether to make them more comfortable while they live there or add value in case they ever decide to sell.
During the pandemic, renovations spiked as homeowners renovated for many of the same reasons they always do: to upgrade worn surfaces and materials (38%), to make their homes safer (30%), and to add features and increase livability (29%). The National Association of Realtors reports that 69% of homeowners say they are satisfied with their upgraded homes.
Most projects are relatively low-cost and can be done by a skilled DIYer, but some require specialized knowledge or equipment (like electric work). Homeowners should always have a professional contractor provide an estimate before work begins. Using a design program like Floorplanner and taking measurements before buying new products will help avoid expensive mistakes.
The most popular home improvements include updating kitchens and bathrooms, putting on a deck or porch, and adding living space by finishing a basement or building an addition. The more livable square footage in a house, the higher its value. Other high-return improvements are energy-efficient upgrades, such as replacing old windows and insulating the attic.
While cash from savings covers most projects, funding for more expensive ones often comes from sources including credit cards, cash-out refinancing, mortgage refinancing, home equity loans and contractor arranged financing.