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6 Top Home Improvements Projects

In a tough housing market, it makes sense to stay put in your house and just make the best of it. And that's what many homeowners are doing.

According to the latest home remodeling and home improvement survey from ServiceMagic, a website that connects consumers with home improvement professionals, homeowners are staying in their homes longer and making their own updates instead of moving.

ServiceMagic released its quarterly Home Remodeling and Repair Index, covering service requests from May to July 2010.

Of more than 1,200 consumers, 77 percent said they are making improvements to their home to increase their quality of life. Another 17 percent are making changes because they want to increase their home's value--even though they have no plans to sell.

Of all the possible home improvement requests, kitchen remodeling is still the top home improvement, the survey concludes. Service requests nationally for kitchen remodeling were up 93 percent this quarter following a 191 percent gain in the first quarter.

Bathroom remodeling is circling the drain however. For the first time in a year there's been a decrease in bathroom remodeling requests and the drop is a pretty big one--17 percent.

Here are the highlights for what homeowners are doing without when it comes to home improvement and remodeling and what they're are shelling out for:

Top Home Improvement Projects

  • Kitchen Remodeling +93%
  • Windows +81%
  • Air Conditioning +55%
  • Cleaning & Maid Services +53%
  • Cabinets +20%
  • Handyman Services +19%

It's interesting to see what people will sacrifice when times get tough. It's also interesting to see what they can't live without. Maid service anyone? (And, do people still use the phrase "maid service" anymore?)

Least Requested Home Improvement Projects

On the other hand, demand for some of these big-ticket home improvement projects has dropped precipitously:

  • Paving -45%
  • Garage & Garage Doors -33%
  • Foundations -26%
  • Designers & Decorators -25%
  • Countertops -20%
  • Heating & Furnace Systems -18%
  • Flooring & Carpet -15%
Are you thinking about starting a home improvement project this fall? How much are you thinking about spending?

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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at, a community for real estate investors.
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