Home Improvement – How to Enhance Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Home improvement is a great way to improve your living space and make your house feel like a home. It can also increase the value of your home, which is especially important if you plan to sell it in the future. Before you start any home improvement projects, it is important to research what improvements will be most beneficial for your home and your budget. You should also look into different types of financing options to see which one is right for you.

There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes and, for many homeowners, home repair and improvement projects. Although these aren’t always enjoyable, they’re a necessary part of homeownership. These projects can include fixing a leaky roof, painting the interior or renovating a room. In addition to these projects, there are other ways to enhance your home without breaking the bank.

Over the past two years, American homeowners undertook an estimated 115 million home improvement projects, spending $522 billion. This is a $72 billion increase over the previous two-year period, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

Some of the most popular projects during this time of year included building decks and putting up fences. These types of projects typically cost less than adding a new bathroom or kitchen and can have a significant impact on your home’s curb appeal.

The majority of homeowners who took on projects over this two-year period cited a desire to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials in their homes (34%) as the primary reason for their home improvement efforts. Other reasons included adding features and improving livability (20%) and wanting a change (16%).

Those who were renovating for resale had a slightly different motivation: 35% of them wanted to increase the home’s resale value while another 22% said they simply felt that upgrading their home was a good investment. Overall, 84% of homeowners reported feeling satisfied with their finished project.

Aside from staying on top of basic maintenance, the best way to maximize the value of your home is to focus on high-return projects that add function or space. This could be anything from updating your kitchen to adding a backyard fire pit. It’s also a good idea to speak with a real estate professional before making any large, expensive upgrades, as they may not pay off in the long run.

When it comes to funding these projects, cash (from savings) continues to be the most common way for homeowners to pay for their renovations (83%). However, 20% of those who undertook a home improvement project over this two-year period had to sacrifice other discretionary expenses or sell items to fund the work, while 14% had to tap into or exhaust their emergency savings and 12% borrowed against equity in their home to cover costs.

If you decide to finance your home improvement, it’s a good idea to compare the rates and terms of different lenders before choosing one. Also, always hire contractors who are licensed, insured and bonded. If you’re not comfortable hiring someone directly, consider using a service aggregator that offers a database of vetted contractors and manages the entire process for you.