Home improvement is the renovation, repair or alteration of a home. The term home improvement covers a wide range of improvements that can be made to the interior or exterior of a house, such as painting, re-grouting tile, replacing flooring and adding window treatments. In addition, home improvement can include the installation of appliances and other fixtures to improve the function and appearance of a home.
Generally, homeowner’s who undertake remodeling projects do so for several reasons: to increase the value of the home; to make it more suitable for their family; to adapt to changes in lifestyle and tastes; or to fix problems with the home such as a leaky roof or electrical issues. Homeowners may pay for these projects out of pocket or obtain a loan to finance them. A loan is usually secured by the equity in a property or, alternatively, the borrower may sign a promissory note pledging personal liability for the debt.
The American Housing Survey (AHS) asks homeowners to self-report the costs of a number of different home improvement projects that they have undertaken over the past two years. However, the AHS does not differentiate between remodeling and renovating; thus, these numbers do not distinguish between a bathroom or kitchen remodel and an addition of a master suite. Additionally, the AHS does not distinguish between the costs of a simple cosmetic or maintenance remodel and more major renovations and/or repairs.
A large number of the projects that homeowners have undertaken in recent years are more minor, reflecting a shift to the maintenance and aesthetic upgrades that many owners feel can add value without the cost and hassle of a major remodeling project. These minor projects are likely driven by the fact that 3 in 5 homeowners have been spending more time at home during the pandemic and want to spend their extra leisure time making their homes more comfortable.
On the other hand, there are some improvements that cannot be delayed and will need to be done regardless of whether homeowners are living in their homes or not. These can include repairs to electrical issues, a leaking roof or cracked foundation. In some cases, these repairs can lead to significant and expensive damages, so it is important that they are made as soon as possible.
Many of the most common home improvement projects have relatively low costs and can be easily completed by a DIY homeowner, such as re-grouting tile, repainting the exterior or power washing the house. These types of projects can be a great way to enhance the beauty of a home and help it look brand new again, while also helping homeowners to list their house for more money when they decide to sell it. Another way that homeowners can improve the value of their homes is by installing energy efficient features, such as new windows or a heat pump, which can decrease energy bills and eventually pay for themselves over time.