Home improvement is anything that changes or adds to a home, such as painting, landscaping, remodeling a room, building a deck and other similar projects. In general, this is done to increase the value of a home or make it more functional.
As the economy recovers, many homeowners are focusing on renovating their homes to update them or simply to add some comfort features. Home improvement spending is up more than 50 percent since 2010, reaching a post-recession high in 2017, with people age 55 and over driving much of this activity, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Those seeking to improve their homes should think about whether the project will add value for future buyers. And they should consider what the current buyer might want, especially when it comes to exterior upgrades like decks, patios and fences, which are the categories that are surging in popularity, Anderson says.
In addition to thinking about aesthetics, homeowners should consider how much they can comfortably afford for the work, he advises. He recommends that they only borrow money if they can pay it back over time and avoid using their emergency fund to finance these types of projects.
Contractors should be compared not only by price, but also in terms of their experience and reputation and whether they have insurance and are licensed in Maryland. Those who are not licensed should only be considered if they can show proof that they passed a background check and a business licensing exam. In addition, they should have their MHIC number preprinted on their contract to make it easy for consumers to verify their credentials.