Home Improvement 101

Home improvement

Home improvement refers to the repair, remodeling, alteration, renovation, restoration, modernization, improvement or addition to any building that is used or designed for use as a private residence. It also includes the construction of swimming pools, porches, decks, garages and fallout shelters.

While some home improvements can add significant value to your property, you should always weigh the pros and cons of each project before taking on a large scale remodeling job. Adding features that aren’t in line with your neighbors might not appeal to potential buyers and can even make your house harder to sell down the road.

Some upgrades are necessary, like fixing leaky roofs or upgrading faulty wiring. If you plan to live in your home for several more years, then it makes sense to make changes that will enhance your living experience, such as a new kitchen or bathroom. But if you’re planning to sell in the near future, it’s wise to focus on projects with a good return on investment, such as replacing the front door or adding energy-efficient windows.

Homeowners can take out a home equity loan to finance major renovation projects, but it’s important to be aware of the resale value of your property and stick to a realistic budget. It’s also critical to hire a licensed contractor and avoid work that does not meet legal requirements, including the requirement in Maryland that contracts for home improvement must be in writing with your name, address, and MHIC license number preprinted on them before any work begins or money is paid.