Home improvement

The best home improvement projects add value and functionality to your house. However, some renovations actually decrease your house’s resale value, cost too much or take up valuable space. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your next home improvement project is a success.

Having the right tools to help you plan your budget, find contractors and estimate costs helps you avoid expensive mistakes like a plumbing leak that ends up costing more than expected or a bathroom vanity that turns out to be the size of a small bathtub. Sticking to your budget is also essential to keeping your project on time and on target. This means avoiding upgrades that are overly personalized or go beyond the tastes of potential buyers in your neighborhood. It also means settling for midrange options that look great but don’t break the bank.

When choosing a contractor, check their license and insurance coverage before agreeing to any work. Also, never pay more than 1/3 of the contract price upfront or let a contractor use cash as a form of payment. Finally, always read the fine print of any contract and avoid aggregators that bundle home improvement services, as they may be able to skirt certain consumer protection laws.

One of the biggest reasons homeowners renovate is to increase their home’s resale value. Adding a master suite, for example, is a top way to boost your home’s value, but it is also an expensive project. It’s important to talk with your real estate agent before making any major changes to make sure your home improvements will be attractive to potential buyers.

Another big reason to do home improvement is to improve your comfort and safety. New windows, a heat pump or added insulation are all excellent examples of home improvement projects that can improve your home’s energy efficiency and lower your utility bills. These types of improvements can pay for themselves with the savings on your energy costs.

There are a few things that are inevitable in life: death, taxes and a home improvement project. But that doesn’t mean these inevitable repairs and updates have to be stressful. In fact, the most successful home improvement projects are completed without tapping into savings or going into debt. And the key to completing a successful home improvement is planning your budget and understanding which projects will provide the best return on investment.

The definition of home improvement is a little bit nebulous, but generally, any project that increases your property’s value is considered home improvement. This can include painting, resurfacing the driveway or sidewalk, installing a pool, adding a deck or porch, putting in a fence, and more. In New York state, labor is tax-exempt for home improvements if the contractor has documented proof that the project meets the definition of capital improvement. However, each state is different so be sure to consult a CPA to make sure your project qualifies.

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