Home improvement is a large industry that includes the sale of building materials, appliances, decor and furniture, as well as contractors and tradespeople who help with remodeling, repair and installation. It is estimated that homeowners spend more than a billion dollars on home improvements each year.
It is not uncommon for a home improvement project to cost more than originally expected, especially when unanticipated issues arise — like when a plumbing leak leads to a rotted subfloor or shoddy roofing work. That is why it is important for homeowners to accurately estimate a project’s costs in the beginning and add 10%-20% for unexpected expenses. A good rule of thumb is to consult with a local contractor before committing to any projects.
Experts suggest focusing on projects that will improve the function of a home for its current residents. A second bathroom, for example, is a popular upgrade that can increase a home’s resale value. Energy-efficient upgrades, such as new windows or a heat pump, are also considered smart investments because they will pay for themselves in decreased utility bills.
The most valuable home improvements tend to be those that will add living space, such as adding a bedroom or a bathroom. Other top ROI projects include exterior painting and landscaping. Buyers are drawn to homes that have curb appeal, so investing in things like a freshly painted front door and new shutters will pay off.