Home improvement is the renovation, alteration, modification or upgrade of a home or building. It includes the installation of hardware, furnishings, fixtures and appliances. The industry also encompasses the sale of building materials and the hiring of contractors and tradespeople to perform home improvement projects.
It isn’t just DIYers who are hitting the sledgehammer—spending on home improvements has reached record highs in recent years. Rock-bottom interest rates have made homeowners splurge on upgrades, and older consumers are driving some of that spending, with 25 percent of the money spent on home improvements last year coming from those 65 and up.
The best home improvements are those that will improve a house’s resale value. This means focusing on the kitchen and bathroom, with an eye to installing energy-efficient appliances and new cabinets. Other popular projects include opening up living space and adding a porch or deck.
Some projects, like repairing electrical issues or a cracked foundation, aren’t just cosmetic—they need to be done to keep family members safe and prevent expensive damage to the home. If you’re considering a major renovation, it’s always wise to talk with a real estate agent or contractor for advice on what will add the most value.
When it comes to financing, personal loans offer lower interest rates than credit cards—but you may not be able to borrow the amount needed for larger home improvements. Before you start any work, be sure to shop around for the best prices on the materials you’ll need.