Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. It includes work ranging from the repair of leaky roofs to the million dollar “gut rehabilitation” of entire neighborhoods. A variety of different types of firms are involved in the business, including large national, regional and local chain stores which have their own home improvement departments; independent contractors who supply materials and perform the labor themselves; and corporations or partnerships that occupy their own commercial locations and employ their own full-time employees.

When selecting a contractor for a home improvement project, it is important to compare prices but also to consider the type of firm, its reputation in the community and the length of time it has been in business. It is recommended that consumers get references and check them before making a final selection. A written contract should be provided by the contractor that specifies a timeline for completion of the work, a payment schedule and as many specifics as possible about the work, including the type or brand of materials to be used. It should also contain any warranties for the materials and workmanship.

A well-thought-out budget is an essential tool for completing a successful home improvement project. It can help to keep the costs down, avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure that the final product is what was originally envisioned. Using a professional designer can often be cost-effective because they have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t in a given space.

Some home improvements are made in order to improve the functionality of a particular room, such as adding a bathroom to an existing bedroom or installing a deck. Other projects are designed to increase the value of a home and may include things such as replacing windows, adding a garage or upgrading the kitchen. It is important to remember that any renovations which are purely cosmetic will not add much to the resale value of a property.

It is a good idea to consult with a real estate agent who can provide information about which renovations are likely to produce the best ROI. However, homeowners should always weigh the ROI of a project against their own comfort and enjoyment of their living space. If a homeowner renovates solely based on what will appeal to buyers down the road, they may end up with a house that is not ideal for their own lifestyle and needs. In addition, safety issues such as electrical problems or a dangerous floor condition should not be ignored. These are problems that can be extremely expensive to remedy and can potentially cause harm or injury to family members. It is also a good idea to speak with a licensed home inspector prior to beginning any home improvement project. These professionals can advise the homeowner about the best course of action to take in order to address any unsafe conditions. They can also recommend qualified contractors who can assist with the project.