The Home Improvement Industry is Booming Even During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Home improvement

Home improvement is a huge industry, and one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. It encompasses everything from DIY projects to hiring professionals for a major renovation. The industry is booming even during the COVID-19 pandemic, with consumers eager to improve their living spaces. It’s important to remember that not all contractors are created equal, so never make a decision based solely on price alone. Other factors to consider include experience, reputation and length of time in business.

When it comes to home improvement, the majority of homeowners undertake relatively minor projects. As detailed in the American Housing Survey (AHS), in 2017, only 22 percent of homeowner households spent $25,000 or more on improvements, and only 10 percent of those projects were “high-end discretionary.” Most of the work undertaken by homeowners consists of repairs or replacements, with a typical project costing just $1,600.

Despite the low-dollar nature of most of this work, these fixes can add up quickly. According to the AHS, homeowner spending on home improvements averaged just under $21,000 in 2017.

The biggest projects most homeowners take on are sparkling bathroom overhauls, followed by kitchen remodels and adding an extra bedroom or bath. While these renovations can add value to a home, they are often expensive and can yield a lower return than expected. It’s also important to note that these types of projects may be subject to stylistic depreciation; a dated look isn’t necessarily a turnoff for potential buyers, but it can be an eyesore.

While these types of projects can add to a home’s resale value, it’s often more beneficial for a homeowner to focus on maintenance tasks that will add longevity to their property. For example, painting rooms with neutral colors and replacing dated light fixtures can help keep a home looking fresh and updated. Replacing worn doorknobs, fixing loose gutters and repairing sidewalk cracks are simple ways to make a home look well-maintained and cared for.

When choosing a contractor for your home improvement project, it’s best to compare several estimates before making a final decision. You should also ask a potential contractor for a written contract that includes an estimated timeline for when the work will be completed, a payment schedule and as many specifics about the project as possible, such as the types of materials or brands being used. Also, be sure to avoid any contractor who refuses to put the terms of a job in writing and require an upfront down payment before starting any work.

Lastly, New York State law requires that any contractor performing work on a home improvement project must be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The license must be in the name of the individual or business and not a corporation; ownership must be disclosed. It’s also recommended that you choose a contractor who has a MHIC certificate number preprinted on their contracts; this will exempt them from paying labor tax in most cases.

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