Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is the act of improving, repairing or renovating one’s house or building. This can include landscaping, exterior finishing, painting, rewiring, replacing roofs, adding windows or doors, heating and cooling systems, and any other improvement to the home or property that increases its value, function or appearance.

Home remodeling has become a big business. In the United States alone, homeowners spent more than $800 billion on home improvements in 2018. The most popular projects were kitchen remodels and bathroom renovations. These projects are typically done to increase a home’s value, but they also can be done to enhance the occupants’ comfort and enjoyment of their home.

After World War II, returning veterans embraced the idea of home improvement to bolster their family’s self-reliance. Government mortgage insurance programs and highway construction promoted the building of new suburban homes, as well as home improvement and repair work. Magazines and tool makers touted home improvement as a way for men to recreate bonds with their families while using power tools that reinforced masculinity.

Many DIY home improvement projects are relatively inexpensive and can add significant value to a home. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of any home improvement project before beginning. It’s also a good idea to consult with real estate professionals before undertaking any major upgrades that could negatively affect resale value. For example, adding a high-end upgrade like marble countertops to an outdated kitchen may not appeal to a potential buyer.

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