Home improvement is a broad term that encompasses the remodeling, altering, repairing, painting, and modernizing of residential or non-commercial property. It includes, but is not limited to, the construction of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping, fences, porches, garages, fallout shelters and basements.
It is a great way to improve your property, add value and save money on energy costs. However, there are some things that you should consider before you undertake a home renovation project or remodel your house.
The Cost of Home Improvements
The cost of home improvements can vary widely depending on a number of factors such as the scope of work, the size of your home, and the quality of the materials and products. Before making any decisions, be sure to do your research and compare estimates from multiple contractors.
Getting the Best Contractor for Your Home
When hiring a contractor, make sure to verify their license and insurance before you sign any contracts. Also, ask for references and speak directly to previous customers.
In Maryland, all home improvement contractors must be licensed by the Department of Business Regulation, and each is required to have a contractor license number on their business cards or letterhead. This is to protect homeowners from hiring unlicensed or unqualified contractors who could cause damage to their property or end up in legal trouble down the road.
Homeowners should also check the state or county licensing law for any potential violations that may have occurred during the home improvement process. If you suspect a company is not properly licensed, call the local consumer protection office to report the issue.
Choosing the Right Home Improvement Contractor
A home improvement contractor should be able to explain in detail what needs to be done and how long it will take to complete the work. They should be able to provide you with a quote before the job begins. They should also be able to provide you with a written contract that has the name and address of the company along with the MHIC license number.
Some homeowners choose to finance their home improvement projects by using a personal loan or home equity loan. Both of these options require a good or excellent credit rating, but they can be more flexible than traditional financing.
If you do decide to take out a loan, it is important to understand that the interest rates and repayment terms will be different from those of a standard mortgage. Additionally, your lender may require you to pay closing costs, origination fees and appraisals.
Despite the increased risk involved with home renovations, many homeowners are still making repairs and improvements to their homes. This is because higher housing prices have made available more equity for homeowners who are financially able to afford it.