Home improvement is the renovation, repair or alteration of a building to enhance its comfort, appearance or functionality. This includes interior and exterior work on a house or other residential buildings such as a garage, shed or garden. It also includes the improvement or addition of a deck, patio or porch, and installing insulation and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
The home improvement industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and it has enjoyed excellent growth results in recent years. Its main sources of revenue are the sales of products (building materials, appliances and decorations), and the services provided by contractors and professionals who perform home improvements.
A big driver for home improvement is aging housing stock. According to a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, spending on home renovations has increased more than 50 percent since 2010—and homeowners age 55 and older are a driving force behind that increase.
If you’re planning a home improvement project, be sure to consider your personal comfort and whether the changes will make your life easier. It’s also a good idea to talk to real estate agents about what kinds of improvements will add the most value to your home when you decide to sell.
If you hire a contractor to complete your home improvement project, be sure to get a contract in writing that details the scope of the work, payment terms and warranties. It’s also a good idea for both you and the contractor to sign a letter of agreement that states that the work will comply with all local building codes and regulations.