Home improvement is the process of improving the interior and exterior of a house. This includes tasks such as painting, refinishing wood surfaces, fixing leaky roofs, replacing worn carpeting, and upgrading electrical systems. It also encompasses the addition of new rooms or structures to a house, such as porches and sunrooms. Home improvements can increase the value of a house, but the exact return on investment (ROI) varies by project and location.
The popularity of home improvement television shows such as Trading Spaces in the 1990s blurred the line between the traditionally male dominated realm of DIY carpentry and the more feminine sphere of decorating and design. By the 2000s, major retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot were expanding their home improvement offerings to include do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that appeal to women as well as men.
Many homeowners decide to complete a home improvement project in order to make their living spaces more functional or attractive. For example, installing energy-efficient appliances or upgrading the home’s insulation can reduce utility bills and increase comfort. However, a homeowner should carefully consider the ROI before beginning a project. Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report identifies the projects that provide the best return on investment.
When hiring a contractor for a home improvement job, always get a written contract and request references. It is important to check the contractors’ insurance coverage and licenses before work begins. Additionally, under Maryland law, contractors must post a notice at the job site and obtain a permit before commencing any work. The notice must contain the contractor’s name, address, and MHIC license number.