Home improvement is the renovation, repairing, altering, converting or modernizing of the whole or a part of a dwelling house or any other noncommercial building. This includes, but is not limited to, a kitchen remodel, bathroom renovation, painting, re-grouting tile, installing a fence, building an addition, adding a deck or patio, and the repair or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, foundations, heating systems, air conditioning equipment and/or appliances.
A homeowner’s decision to make home improvements depends on the value of the project, how it will impact the quality of life in the house and whether it is feasible within a reasonable time frame. Many homeowners choose to renovate their homes for resale purposes or to increase the comfort of living. These projects often have a high return on investment. Some are more valuable than others, however, and it is important to speak with a real estate professional before making large investments.
While most home improvement projects are not emergencies, some must be addressed immediately to prevent damage or safety hazards, such as an electrical problem or a leaky roof. It is important to hire qualified contractors and to always get contracts in writing. The contract should contain a description of the work to be performed, the materials to be used (including brand names and colors), the approximate dates when the performance of the home improvement will begin and when it will be substantially completed. In New York State, a contractor must also provide the consumer with written estimates and a copy of their license and insurance certificate.