Home improvement is the business of renovating or repairing the interior or exterior of a house. This industry includes contractors, construction companies and the sale of materials such as building supplies or appliances. It also includes the service industry of remodelers and tradespeople who perform labor or offer advice on DIY projects.
Generally, anything that adds value to your home is considered home improvement. This may include updating fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen, adding a new patio or deck, or painting your entire house. Other popular upgrades are energy efficient replacements of your furnace, water heater or air conditioning system. These improvements can often provide a substantial savings in your monthly utility bills.
Renovating your home can be expensive, but it’s important to think about how any changes you make might impact resale value. It’s a good idea to consult with a real estate professional before undertaking any major renovations.
A variety of financing options are available for homeowners looking to complete home improvement projects. According to the American Housing Survey, cash from savings covers the majority of home improvement projects, but more expensive renovations are typically paid for with home equity loans or lines of credit, personal loans or credit cards, cash-out refinancing and contractor arranged financing.
When hiring a contractor for home improvement work, be sure to get a written contract that includes a payment schedule and an itemized list of all materials, with any specifications clearly stated. In addition, in New York State, a contractor cannot accept a deposit of more than 1/3 of the total contract price and must withhold final payment until all inspections and certificates of occupancy are completed.