Home improvement consists of any work done to repair, remodel or improve the condition of an existing home or building. It also includes work on buildings that are attached to the home such as a garage, porch or pool house. Each year homeowners and contractors spend more than a billion dollars in this business adding pride and vitality to our neighborhoods.
While many people will renovate in order to add resale value, it is important to remember that your own comfort and enjoyment should be the primary reason for any home renovation. It is also important to avoid those projects that will not add value to your home. For example, installing unique light fixtures may not appeal to most buyers and converting a garage into living space will not increase your home’s resale value.
One of the surging categories in home improvements has to do with outdoor work. “The number of people hiring landscapers has increased nearly threefold, while those constructing decks and fences have spiked dramatically as well,” says Anderson.
When hiring a contractor to perform your home improvement project, you should obtain a list of references from past clients. Also check with your local consumer affairs office and licensing department to make sure the contractor has a valid license. Some counties require that the licensed contractor carry liability insurance. Finally, compare estimates carefully. Prices can vary considerably and you should never base your decision solely on price alone. Choosing the lowest priced contractor may cost you more in the long run.