Home improvement is the repairing, altering, renovating, restoring, or modernizing of any part or all of a residential building. This includes adding on, moving or removing walls, modifying the roof or floorplan, or constructing an addition or other permanent structure attached to the building. It also includes replacing the siding, doors and windows; installing insulation or other energy-saving devices; and landscaping.

Many homeowners take on home improvements to make their homes more enjoyable and functional. However, not all home improvements are a good investment. It’s important to consider the return on investment (ROI) before you start a new project. This ROI is determined by research on similar homes in your area and the average sale price for those types of houses.

This is especially true for big-ticket projects such as kitchen and bathroom remodels, which typically don’t provide a high ROI. For example, the typical homeowner only recoups 60% of the cost of a kitchen remodel in added home value, according to one report.

However, it is still possible to improve your home without spending a fortune. For instance, simple DIY projects such as painting and refinishing wood furniture can significantly increase the look of your living space. You can also save on big-ticket items by shopping at discount home improvement stores, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.

The best way to keep your home improvement costs in check is to plan ahead and create a budget for each project. It’s also a good idea to talk to a realtor in your area before starting a major renovation project to find out which upgrades will add the most value to your home.

In addition to budgeting for the entire project, you should also set aside money for unexpected expenses or changes in your plans. The most common home improvement expense is labor, which can quickly add up. It’s important to shop around for contractors before hiring someone, and always get a written estimate of the work to be performed. A good rule of thumb is to add 10%-20% to the project estimate to cover potential cost overages.

Finally, be sure to choose the right financing for your home improvement project. A mortgage or home equity loan may be the most appropriate option, depending on your credit score and current financial situation. You should also compare interest rates and terms before choosing a lender. It’s also a good idea not to borrow more than you can afford to repay in a reasonable period of time. This will prevent you from accumulating debt and making it difficult to pay off your home improvements.

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