Home improvement can be costly and time consuming, but it is also an important investment. The term “home improvement” encompasses any addition, alteration, repair, replacement or improvement of the interior and exterior of a residential or non-commercial dwelling.
Some improvements add living space, such as a new bedroom or bathroom. Others can increase energy efficiency and therefore reduce costs. A well-planned home improvement project can boost a house’s value and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Certain home improvements can be tax-deductible. The cost of a new roof, for example, can be added to the cost basis of a home and subtracted at the time of its sale, while the installation of energy-saving windows is eligible for a tax credit.
Almost three-fourths of homeowners say they are able to pay for most home improvements without tapping into savings or going into debt. However, many people may overestimate how much a renovation will cost, and many don’t take the proper precautions when hiring contractors.
A homeowner should always hire a licensed contractor. In Maryland, a contract for a home improvement project must be in writing and signed by both the consumer and the business before work begins or any money is paid. The contract should include the name, address and MHIC license number of the business preprinted on it. Consumers should also check business references, verify insurance coverage and perform background checks on contractors before allowing them to do any work at their homes.