What Is Home Improvement?

Home improvement is a term that encompasses any renovation, repair or modification of the structure of a home. This includes additions to the home, kitchen and bathroom remodeling and landscaping. It also includes work to make a home more energy-efficient. In general, all work done on a home should be designed to increase its value and appeal.

Most homeowners who undertake home improvements do so with a return on investment in mind. Few projects recoup 100% of their costs, but high-quality, well-planned upgrades can significantly raise the asking price when it comes time to sell.

Getting started

After years of watching HGTV, it can feel overwhelming to move into your first home and realize that you are now responsible for not only its maintenance but its upkeep and whatever else you want to do with it. But don’t let that fear stop you from making your house a home. There are many do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that you can tackle, and others require hiring contractors. Either way, it’s important to understand the scope of any home improvement project before starting so you can avoid unexpected expenses and unforeseen problems.

A number of home improvements may qualify for tax credits, but only if they add functionality or adapt the house to new uses, according to IRS Publication 523. For example, adding grab bars and handrails in bathrooms or walk-in showers instead of tubs is considered a home improvement because it increases accessibility and could be necessary for people with disabilities.