There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes and for homeowners, home improvement projects. Whether they’re necessary repairs or an effort to keep up with the competition, home improvement projects seem to come looking for us even when we don’t plan them. From fixing a leaky faucet to adding an addition, these projects have a way of adding up quickly. The good news is that if you do your homework and choose your contractor wisely, these projects can also add value to your home.
According to a recent report, American homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvements between 2017 and 2019 with homeowners ages 55 and over leading the charge. This is a $72 billion increase over the previous two-year period.
When a home improvement project is in progress, it’s important to establish a payment schedule. Make sure you understand where your payments are going and never pay the final invoice until all work is completed, inspections have been made and all required certificates of occupancy have been issued. You should also get any warranties for materials and workmanship in writing.
The definition of home improvement is fairly broad but can include painting, resurfacing your driveway or patio, putting up fences and other structures, installation of any type of equipment, and the like. In New York, the labor portion of a home improvement is tax-exempt if the contractor provides you with documentation that your project meets the state’s definition of capital improvement.