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Sixth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey: Is it time to invest in your nest?

More homeowners than ever are spending to spruce up their homes, according to the sixth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey, from the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.

This year’s survey found that most homeowners (73%) plan to spend money on home improvement projects, up 26% from last year. So why are so many people deciding to invest in their nests?

With more than half (59%) of homeowners planning to stay in their current residence for at least 10 years (or never move), the predominant trend is to renovate to reflect their personal lifestyle, rather than making improvements to necessarily increase a home’s value or prepare it to be sold.

And there are a number of ways to do just that. Outdoor projects are the most popular this year, with 41% of homeowners planning to make upgrades outside. Consumers also want to remodel areas inside the house, like bathrooms (37%) or the kitchen (31%). And 29% of consumers plan to invest in home repairs.

But costs for those improvements can add up—in fact, this year LightStream found the strongest spending projections in the six years it has measured renovation budget trends. The average homeowner will spend more than $9,000 on home improvement projects. And 11% plan to spend a whopping $25,000 or more.

Before you start tearing into that 80’s wallpaper and ripping up the shag carpet, it is important to get your finances in order so you can get the job done right.

Size up your savings

For some, that might mean using money already in your pocket. The 2019 LightStream study found that more than half (60%) of homeowners plan to use savings to pay for their projects. But what if you are saving for other priorities, such as retirement or your child’s college tuition? If you do not want your cash to disappear faster than the cookies you set out for the painting crew, consider your other options.

Calculate your options 

Credit cards claimed the number‐two spot on the list of ways to pay (32%). But in an environment where rates can be expensive—and rising—overall cost can make projects even more expensive than your budget predicts. Other homeowners (13%) plan to fund their projects with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). While tapping into home equity may be an option, many homes might not have accrued equity, or homeowners may opt for a faster, easier way to access the financing they need.

Look into a loan

One option that offers speed and flexibility is a home improvement loan. If you are thinking about renovating your space, consider applying for a LightStream loan. This type of loan allows you to fund all the costs associated with a home renovation — design, equipment, materials, labor, even furnishings and finishes. For people with good credit, LightStream offers low‐interest home improvement financing. You can apply online through a simple, stress‐free application, and you control the repayment process.

When you get a loan of $25,000 or more, you can choose extended repayment terms of up to 12 years,1 at rates as low as 6.89%2 APR with AutoPay. And here’s another nice bonus—there are no fees or prepayment penalties associated with the LightStream loan. With the money in your pocket as soon as the same day you apply,3 you will have the means to invest in your nest to create your own home sweet home.

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