What Is Home Improvement and How Does It Affect Resale Value?

Home improvement is the act of improving or repairing a dwelling. It can include any type of work done to a house, including maintenance, repair, remodeling, or additions. The home improvement industry encompasses a variety of retail and service businesses that supply building materials, appliances, decor, and other products used in household construction, maintenance, and repair. It also includes the installation of such products and services as heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. The industry has experienced excellent growth results in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common reasons for home improvement are to upgrade or improve the appearance and functionality of a residence. In some cases, a homeowner may renovate with the intention of selling in the near future, but this is not always a primary motivation. Some projects may have a greater impact on resale value than others, however, and it’s important to select upgrades that will appeal to the widest range of prospective buyers.

One way to evaluate potential home improvements is by examining their return on investment, or ROI. This metric represents how much of the project’s cost is recouped in the home’s sale price. The higher the ROI, the better the project is for resale. Projects that are expected to have high ROIs include updated kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor living areas like decks and patios, and additions that add square footage, such as finished basements and backyard sheds.

Some homeowners are tempted to go over the top with expensive upgrades, but this can backfire. Overly customized renovations can turn off some prospective buyers, and they may also detract from your property’s overall curb appeal. For example, if most of your neighbors have simple lawns, adding an exotic tree or a fountain may stand out in a negative way.

It’s crucial to choose a qualified contractor for any home improvement work. A licensed, insured, and bonded professional is essential to avoid scams and protect your property from damage or injury. Ask for references, check them thoroughly, and interview contractors before hiring one. It’s also smart to consider using an aggregator or other third-party website that bundles home improvement services and matches them with consumers.

The most popular home improvement projects are usually those that increase a house’s resale value, such as kitchen and bathroom remodels and installing hardwood floors. Other improvements that typically recoup their costs and add value are landscaping projects, garage conversions, and adding a shed or other outbuilding to the property.

The best home improvements are those that are made for the homeowner’s comfort and enjoyment, rather than to boost resale value. It’s also important to carefully consider how long you intend to live in the house before committing to a major renovation, and to consult with a real estate agent about what improvements will add the most value. Finally, don’t get carried away with home improvement projects that will put you in debt. A mortgage or loan means you’re not just spending money on a project, but also paying interest on that money.