Home improvement is a broad term that can refer to almost any renovation or upgrade to a home. Some common types of projects that fall into the category include painting, flooring or refinishing; installing appliances and fixtures; replacing doors or windows; and making structural changes. The most popular home improvements, however, are those that add livable space to the property. These may be projects such as adding a deck, building a pool, or converting a garage into an additional bedroom.
One of the certainties in life is that homeowners will face home repair and improvement projects at one time or another. And these can be expensive, too. In fact, according to a September survey by NerdWallet, more than half of respondents who have undertaken a home improvement project report spending more than their budget allowed. This may be because such projects often reveal unexpected issues, like a plumbing leak that turns out to be rotten subflooring or shingles hiding shoddy repair work, which can drive up costs significantly.
Many homeowners are undertaking home improvement projects because they want to enjoy their homes more. This could mean painting an outdated room or replacing worn carpets and flooring, but it also can include upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, which are the most popular type of home improvement project. These can be very pricey, but there are ways to keep the cost within a manageable range.
Other motivations for homeowners to undertake home improvement projects are to make their homes more attractive and to increase their home’s resale value. Adding a master suite with a bathroom, walk-in closet and dressing area is one example of a project that will likely add some value to the house, but such an addition can be very expensive.
It is important for any homeowner to understand the laws and regulations in place regarding home improvement and to hire a licensed contractor. Maryland’s Home Improvement Law requires that a written contract be prepared and signed before any work begins, or money is paid. The contract must have the contractor’s name, address and MHIC license number preprinted on it. It is also a good idea to obtain references from previous customers of the contractor.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how some homeowners feel about allowing home repair/improvement professionals to enter their home. As a result, NerdWallet’s survey found that nearly three-fourths of respondents say they would be more cautious than usual about allowing such workers in during the pandemic and that they might request that they wear masks while working. This might help limit the spread of the virus.