Home improvement is the renovation, repair, and maintenance of residential real property. This includes interior and exterior work such as painting, refinishing wood floors, wallpapering, and installing new flooring, lighting, paint, and appliances. It also includes adding landscaping and constructing decks, fences, and sheds. Home improvements may also include changing a home’s heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical wiring, or kitchen and bathroom remodeling. The scope of home improvements is largely determined by individual tastes and needs, as well as the current housing market and neighborhood value.
The home improvement industry has seen a great deal of growth in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans became obsessed with repairing and improving their homes, driving revenue for home-center chains such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. This trend is now starting to fade, due to volatile economic conditions.
Many homeowners renovate their homes for personal reasons. They might want to add an extra bedroom or bathroom, or they might prefer a different floor plan or a modern kitchen. Others want to make their home more energy efficient, which can save them money on utility bills in the long run. Whatever the reason, many homeowners underestimate how much their project will cost and end up spending more than they initially anticipated. This can lead to financial problems down the road, especially if they are unable to sell their home for a profit or recoup their expenses.
Despite the many benefits of home improvement, not all projects will improve a house’s value. This is because a return on investment depends on the type of project, its quality, and the current market. For example, a swimming pool might not be worth the investment if there are few other homes in the area with one, or if it is not in line with the style of other houses in the neighborhood.
When choosing a contractor for a home improvement project, it is important to select a reliable and licensed company. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) requires contractors to pass a test and demonstrate general business competency before they can be licensed. MHIC also conducts background checks on contractors to ensure they do not have serious criminal records. It is recommended that consumers use an aggregator website to verify licenses and perform other verifications before hiring a contractor.
In the past, it was common for men to do DIY home improvement projects themselves. However, with the rise of popular TV shows such as This Old House and Trading Spaces, home improvement became a more gender neutral activity that could be enjoyed by the entire family. This change in perception allowed more women to become active participants in the construction and design of their homes, and paved the way for female-led initiatives such as the Women Build a Nation campaign. Nevertheless, it is still the case that males are more likely to choose power tools than their feminine counterparts.