Home improvement encompasses the many activities homeowners and contractors undertake to renovate, repair, upgrade, or improve their homes. It includes the installation of new appliances, systems and structures such as decks, fences, and pools; the modification or replacement of existing components such as doors, windows, and kitchen cabinets; and other structural additions or improvements to buildings. It also includes the purchase and sale of building materials, equipment, tools, and furnishings for these projects.
With the popularity of DIY television programs such as This Old House, HGTV and Trading Spaces, and a surge in the housing market in the early 1990s, it became increasingly popular for families to perform their own home improvements rather than hiring professional contractors. The proliferation of home-center chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s further increased the availability of materials for these DIY projects.
A homeowner should always get a written contract before beginning any work on a home improvement project. This should include a detailed description of the work to be performed and a clear payment schedule. It should also contain any warranty terms for the materials and workmanship as well as a list of required permits and inspections.
When making home improvements, it is important to consider how the work will affect resale value. If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, talk with a real estate agent to find out which projects will add the most to your home’s value.