Home improvement refers to work done on a house to increase its value, maintain or repair it, or simply improve the quality of life within it. It can include interior and exterior work on a home or garden like painting, paving, adding rooms or building structures, fixing or replacing electrical wiring or plumbing, remodeling a kitchen or bath, and so on.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS), spending on home improvements hit a record high in 2017, thanks to rock-bottom interest rates and homeowners 55 and older, who are typically better equipped to afford renovations. However, a lot of people go into home improvement with their eyes closed, choosing materials and contractors without doing the proper research. This usually ends up costing them more than they initially anticipated and may even force them into debt.
It is important to hire contractors that are licensed, insured, and have good reviews before any work starts. Maryland’s Home Improvement Law requires that a contract for home improvement services be written and signed by both the consumer and contractor before any work begins or money is paid. The contract must also have the contractor’s name, address and MHIC license number preprinted on it.
It is also a good idea to talk with a local realtor before beginning any home improvement project to learn which projects are likely to add the most resale value. It is also important to remember that some home improvements are just not worth the time and expense.