Home improvement is the construction, repair, replacement or remodeling of any part of a dwelling house and its appurtenances; or of any other structure used or designed to be used as a home, including, but not limited to, garages, basements, sunrooms, fences, porches and swimming pools. It also includes the painting, staining or decoration of residential real property.
The home improvement category that is surging the most has to do with work on the outside of the house, according to Anderson: Deck construction is up threefold, and putting up fences is up 275%. That makes sense, he says, because people feel secure when they can see their homes are protected from intruders.
But it is important to remember that not all improvements add equal value, and that the main reason you renovate your home should be your own comfort and enjoyment of it. If you are improving your home solely based on resale value, talk to a real estate agent before beginning any major project. You will want to make sure the upgrades you choose are appropriate for your neighborhood and will appeal to a wide range of buyers.
If you are doing a major remodel, be sure to hire a qualified contractor who has experience and a track record. A good place to start is by asking for references, and checking their licenses. You can also find a list of registered contractors on the state’s website. It is against the law for a person to solicit or attempt to procure a home improvement contract for himself or herself, or on behalf of another person, without first being registered.