Home Improvement – Key Considerations For Homeowners

Home improvement, also known as house renovation or remodeling, is the process of making changes to a home to improve its functionality and appearance. These changes may include upgrading or replacing fixtures, painting, flooring, landscaping, and more. Home improvement projects are often expensive and time consuming, but they can also add significant value to a home. Homeowners should always consider their motivations for undertaking a home improvement project before diving in.

The most common reason homeowners renovate is to increase their home’s resale value. However, focusing solely on increasing a property’s resale value can lead to poorly executed and costly projects. For example, installing an expensive pool might appeal to buyers, but it might not be worth the investment if other homes in the neighborhood do not have pools and are selling at similar prices. A more strategic approach to boosting a property’s resale potential is to focus on improvements that are popular and desirable in your local real estate market. Kitchen and bathroom upgrades are almost always a good choice, as are improvements that maximize a home’s square footage, such as adding a bedroom or finished basement.

Another important consideration is a homeowner’s level of interest in a particular project. For example, if a homeowner is not comfortable working with electrical or plumbing work, they should hire a professional for these types of projects. In addition, a homeowner should never attempt a home improvement project that could pose a health or safety risk.

A home improvement project should also be well-planned to reduce cost overruns and timeline delays. A homeowner should develop a clear scope of work and budget, then use tools like modeling and design software to estimate the cost and timeframe for completing the project. Then, a homeowner should build in a 10-15% buffer to account for unexpected expenses and challenges.

Finally, homeowners should always check the license and insurance coverage of any contractor before hiring them for a home improvement project. Maryland’s Home Improvement Law requires contractors to provide consumers with a written contract that includes the contractor’s name, address, and MHIC license number before any work begins. Homeowners should avoid any contractor who does not have this information preprinted on their contract.

A final key consideration is a homeowner’s comfort and enjoyment of their home. While improving a home to fit their personal preferences is fine, it’s important to make sure that the finished product is consistent with the overall style and character of the home. Additionally, homeowners should consider how the home’s exterior will look from the street and the surrounding neighborhood before embarking on any major renovations. For example, installing a modern glass façade on a Victorian home can clash with the neighborhood’s architectural style and detract from the property’s resale value.