What Is Home Improvement?

Home improvement is a broad term for a renovation or remodeling project that improves the home’s value and/or functionality. This includes, but is not limited to, additions to the house or garage, upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, a new kitchen or bathroom, painting, refinishing floors and stairways, and adding landscaping and fences. Homeowners can choose to do these projects on their own or hire a contractor to complete the work. Some of these projects can be costly, but others add value to the property and/or increase living space.

One of the few certainties in life is that homeowners will be faced with many unavoidable home improvement and repair projects over the years. In the past two years, according to the American Housing Survey (AHS), homeowners have spent $522 billion on 115 million home improvement projects. The most popular projects were sparkling bathroom overhauls and big-ticket kitchen and basement renovations.

Depending on the size and scope of the home improvement project, a homeowner may be able to obtain financing from a local bank or credit union. This can be done either through a personal loan or a home equity line of credit. A home equity line of credit is similar to a second mortgage and allows the borrower to draw funds against the equity in their home as needed, but the amount that can be drawn cannot exceed 85% of the current market value of the home.

In some cases, a homeowner can qualify for a tax deduction on the cost of materials used in a home improvement project. This can be particularly helpful during difficult economic times. To claim this tax deduction, a person must have documentation of the improvement from a licensed contractor that meets the state’s requirements for capital improvements. This documentation typically includes a detailed description of the work, the material to be used and the date that the work will be substantially completed.

It is important to use caution when working on a home improvement project, especially if it involves electrical and plumbing work. A qualified professional can help a homeowner avoid potential hazards and ensure that the work is performed correctly.

During unsettling economic times, many people turn to home improvement projects as a way of increasing their living space and adding value to the home. However, the cost of these projects can quickly add up and result in debt if not careful.

Many homeowners choose to do the work themselves rather than hiring a contractor. This option can be a rewarding experience, but it is also important to understand the limitations of your skills and know when to seek professional assistance. In order to do the job properly, it is recommended that you research the project and find information on how to perform each step. In addition, it is important to read any warranties carefully before completing the work. This will help to protect your interests and ensure that the contractor has fulfilled his or her obligations under the contract.