Home improvement involves construction-related activities carried out on a house, apartment or townhouse. It encompasses a wide range of projects, such as painting, carpeting, remodeling, and repairs. Many home improvement tasks can be handled by a skilled DIYer, but for more complex renovations, a professional contractor may be needed. Home improvement stores and centers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, sell the tools and materials that homeowners need to complete their projects. Online resources for home improvement projects are also available, including websites and videos.
The popular television show This Old House and the rise of DIY culture have contributed to a growth in home improvements. In addition, as a result of the war and the economic boom of the postwar years, more Americans opted to renovate their homes rather than relocate. This trend has been aided by government mortgage insurance programs for veterans and large home builders such as Levitt and Sons, which encouraged homeownership by providing affordable suburban housing.
For those who do choose to hire a contractor, be sure to get an estimate before beginning any work. Request a contract with a payment schedule and as much detail as possible about the work to be done, such as specific types or brands of materials to be used. New York State law requires contractors to be licensed and insured.
Finally, if you are planning to renovate for resale, make sure the improvements you plan are consistent with what other people have in the neighborhood and don’t “out-distance” the rest of the neighborhood in terms of price or style. If you want to make sure your home is a good investment, talk to real estate professionals and local appraisers before starting any work.