Home improvement is a broad term used to describe a variety of projects that upgrade an existing home interior (such as plumbing and electrical work) or exterior (such as roofing or siding). It includes remodeling and additions to homes.
Many homeowners are tempted to take out a loan to pay for their projects, but it is possible to spruce up a home without taking on debt.
The most common source of funding for home improvements is through a personal loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), which allows homeowners to borrow funds as they need them and pay them back over time. Other sources of funding include savings, loans from family and friends, or charitable donations.
Some types of home improvements can help you save money on your energy bills, while others can increase the value of your home. A smart thermostat, for example, can save you up to $200 a year on your utility bill, while insulating your home can lower your energy costs by as much as 40%.
If you’re unsure what type of home improvement project would best suit your needs, talk to an architect or engineer before deciding. They can provide you with a list of options that will make your house more efficient and less costly to run.
Whether you’re considering remodeling your kitchen or adding a home office, you need to think about how these changes will impact the resale value of your home. Some remodeling projects will be more expensive than others, and they may not improve the value of your home as much as you’d hope.
When selecting a contractor, check references from people you know who have worked with the same person before. Ask them how the project went and if they were satisfied with the results. You can also ask for names of other contractors they recommend and their contact information.
The contractor should provide you with a written contract for the project. This should contain the agreed-upon price, a timeline for completion and payment terms. It should also contain as much specificity about the project as possible, including what types and brands of materials are needed and where they will be delivered.
You should never pay for the full price of a home improvement project until the contract is signed. New York state law requires that home improvement contractors accept a deposit of no more than three-quarters of the total cost before starting any work.
In most cases, the contractor will put your payments into an escrow account. This is a legal practice to protect the homeowner against fraudulent contractors.
It is important to keep your contractor’s license and insurance up-to-date. This is to ensure that they are protected against lawsuits and accidents, and to protect yourself if a contractor accidentally hurts you or damages your property.
When you’re planning a home improvement, it is important to make sure that the work will be done correctly and safely. Before letting the contractor start working, inspect the home and look for hazards that could be created during the project. Inspect the electrical system and the plumbing, for example, to make sure they are up-to-date and that there are no leaks or other problems.