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Published on April 1st, 2018 | by David Morales

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Renovation Revolution: Homeowners are planning to spend big in 2018

It is that time of year when homeowners are starting to think about home improvement. Spring is just around the corner and according to a new survey home renovation are on the rise. According to Harris Polls, 45 percent are planning to spend $5,000 or more on their homes this year. The Hype magazine recently discussed with LightStream, a lending division of SunTrust Bank, the best home improvement trends of 2018. We also shared some new tax code changes that are driving home improvement plans that will help you save some money and some surprising stats about “aging in place” and the benefits of a DIY project. So, who are the game changers when it comes to home improvement? Find out by checking out our short satellite presentation with LightStream.

Kristin, tell us more about this survey and what the hottest trends are right now.

Each year LightStream asks Harris Poll to survey homeowners to see what they’re up to for the coming year. This year, we found a couple of key things and one is homeowners are actively investing. 58 percent of homeowners are saying that they are intending to do a home improvement project this year. Chances are if you’re a homeowner you’re doing something. Next, we’re seeing a trend away from renovating in order to sell in order to stay in the home. Whether it’s aging in place or staying in the home longer that trends across age groups. Not just boomers but Millennials as well want to stay in their homes longer.

We’re seeing a significant increase in intent to do more and to spend more on projects. So, 45 percent of people say they’re going to spend 5,000 or more, which is the highest we’ve seen in five years. LightStream is actually seeing that same trend in our home improvement lending business. So, this year our home improvement lending is up 20 percent year-to-date over last year, which is exciting. We’re happy to be helping people achieve their home improvement dreams even more this year.

What are some of the findings that really jump out at you from the survey?

One of the more interesting ones is around the tax reform. We’re seeing one in four homeowners who are planning to spend, actually change what they’re intending to spend based on tax reform. So, 18 percent of people are saying they will plan to spend more this year because of tax reform, seven percent are saying they’ll spend a little bit less because the tax reform, which was interesting. We’re also seeing in terms of the types of projects people are planning to spend on. Outdoor projects are at the top of the list for the fifth year in a row. So, people are looking at that indoor out living experience and building out pools, decks, patios, and hardscaping. Behind that comes bathrooms and kitchens and other various repairs.

You have a few tips for helping people save money in financing these makeover plans, right?

Yes, I do have some tips and I actually just went through my own kitchen remodel, so I was good at taking a dose of my own medicine and not just about the advice. Most important thing is to have a budget. Have a budget that is good for you and have the discipline to set it. Set the vision ahead of time and the cost associated with it and to stick with it. Anyone who’s gone through any kind of a home improvement project knows there’s so many temptations along the way to add this or upgrade that and it’s really easy to let it get away from you. So, if you can have the discipline to set the budget and stick with it that’s kind of rule number one.

Capturing those intended costs and cost estimates in a kind of a written agreement or written contract with your licensed professional who’s supporting you is also really important. Next is looking at all the options for how you fund a project, because there are a lot of options and there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it depends on your own personal situation. Savings is a great place to start, but you may want to do more than what your savings afford, or you want to leave some of your savings intact for other uses as well so considering things like credit cards for smaller purchases that you can pay off sooner. That can make some sense. If you’ve got larger projects, they can get expensive over time sitting on a credit card, so you may want to consider if you have equity in your home. Taking out a home equity loan or line it’s a low interest way of financing a project. If you want your funds pretty quickly and you don’t want to tap equity in your home or you don’t have it.

A LightStream home improvement loan is a great option. There’s no fees, you can have your funds as soon as the same day you apply, we’ve got terms up to 144 months, which is 12 years. So, if you want to take a larger project on and finance it over a longer period of time that may be a really affordable way to do it. Lastly people should consider some DIY in the mix if there are tasks you’re comfortable with doing you already know how to do or you’re comfortable learning quickly. Doing some of the work yourself can really take a bite out of the overall project cost as well.

Where can people go for more information?

People can go to lightstream.com. There they can learn more about the survey, the various results we’ve seen, as well as the LightStream home improvement loan. It may be a good option for folks out there.


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About the Author

is the Executive Editor of The Hype magazine. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, David has a background as an artist manager, writer, blogger, drummer, and in the human services industry. He is passionate about helping others, learning and has a deep empathy for the creative process. You can follow his social media @dcypherstudios


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