Maybe you’ve been thinking about some work to be done on your home for a while, or maybe this is a sudden need brought about by a storm. Whatever the case, having work done on your home can be a confusing and sometimes stressful time for many homeowners. But what do you call this work you’re having done? When you call your Pro to have them come out for an estimate, what do you refer to this as? Home improvements, home repairs, and home renovations all have very specific definitions, but many homeowners overlap and confuse them. Learning the difference can help you get the proper funding (loans, grants, etc.) and find the right Pro for the job.
Many people think that a home repair is something small that you do to your home, maybe something under a certain price point. But size doesn’t have anything to do with it. A home repair is defined as something you do to maintain the current value of your home. For example, a roof replacement is considered a home repair because, without a well-maintained roof, your home could suffer damage and lose value. Fixing a hole in your flooring or a crack in your foundation is also considered a home repair because these things won’t add value to your home, but they will help you maintain its current value.
Home repairs are tax-deductible, and there are often grants available for homeowners living in rural areas, as well as for the elderly and the disabled, and for people whose homes have sustained damage after a major storm.
Home improvement is also not defined by size or scope. Instead, it’s defined as something that you do that adds value to your home. For example, a kitchen renovation can be considered a home improvement, because you will recoup up to 90% of the cost at the time you sell your home. Adding an addition, updating kitchens and bathrooms, or replacing old flooring are all considered home improvements.
Keep in mind that a home improvement is not tax-deductible. Because it raises your home’s value, however, you can often get home improvement loans from your bank, including home equity loans that let you borrow against your current and increased value. These same loans are often not available for home repairs because the bank expects that after a home improvement your home will be worth more, and potentially easier to sell.
A remodel is considered a type of home improvement. For example, you could remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or basement to make it a more up-to-date and usable space. This increases the value of your home and is therefore thought of as an improvement. You can use the two terms interchangeably when discussing your project with your Pro or your bank.
There’s a lot of overlap between home repairs, home improvements, and home renovations. The definition of the word “renovate” means to restore or to bring back to the former state. A total, whole-house renovation will often improve the value of a property like a home improvement, but will often involve a lot of repair and restoration.
Home renovations, therefore, often refer to a whole-house project. Purchasing a historic property or a foreclosed home that’s in bad shape and taking on a large project to restore the entire house qualifies as a home renovation. In doing so, you’re often dramatically increasing the value of the home. Keep in mind that most home renovations do specify that the house is being restored to its original condition. Hiring a Pro that specializes in renovations may get you someone who will want to bring back the original details of the home. If what you plan on doing is updating the home, you may want to find a Pro that specializes in home improvements instead.
Define Your Project
Taking the time to determine what it is that you’re having done to your home can help you secure funding and find the right person for the job. While there can sometimes be overlap in projects – homeowners that have sustained major damage sometimes decide to undertake improvements at the same time as repairs – figuring out exactly what you’re having done can help you get your project off on the right foot every time. And if you need some help with the next step of your project, whether that’s determining your style or getting matched to the right Pro, be sure to sign up to let us help you get your project going.