Home Improvement – Adding Value to Your Home

Home improvement, also called renovation, refers to the repairing, remodeling, altering, converting or modernizing of a residential building. It may include a driveway, a swimming pool, porches, patios, awnings and storm windows, fencing, landscaping, and other improvements to a dwelling house.

Home-improvement projects are a major part of the U.S. economy, and spending on them has risen more than 50 percent since 2010, according to a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Aging homeowners are responsible for most of that spending, and it has accelerated over the past year because of higher housing prices and a shortage of new construction.

Adding value to your home is an important consideration when planning your renovation, but not all renovations increase your home’s worth. Some may actually decrease your property’s value, because they turn buyers off or are overly personalized, says Jeremy Steckel, author of “The Complete Guide to Home Improvement.”

If you’re thinking about home improvements for a potential sale, get the advice of an experienced real estate professional first. That’s because what you get back on renovation investments is largely influenced by other factors, including the value of your neighbors’ homes.

Stay away from personalization and built-in technology

Those built-in TVs, iPod docking stations, oversized speakers, and other custom electronics take up room in an otherwise usable space, and can turn buyers off. They’re also more expensive to replace than traditional appliances and can quickly become outdated. Instead, choose standard lighting, cabinetry, and fixtures to keep your renovation costs low.