This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

home spending is it worth itI feel pretty lucky that the house I raised my boys in is still humming along without any major unexpected financial event over these past 30 years later. Even though they moved out over 8 years ago, the house still works for my husband and myself.

This year it turns out, according to LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, homeowners across every age category are fixing up their homes and staying put and I’m one of them.  A Harris Poll survey revealed about home owner spending behavior:

  • Outdoor projects like pools, decks and landscaping are most popular.
    • Baths, kitchens and home repairs follow close behind.
  • Overall, spending is up.
    • 45% of people will spend at least $5,000.
    • The number of people spending more than $35,000 will double this year
    • 18% say they’ve increased their renovation budget due to the tax changes.
  • 62% of people say they’ll tap into savings to pay for all or part of their project.  But that can still leave a lot of expenses to cover. It turns out, currently we are experiencing the highest level of intended spending by homeowners that LightStream (an online lending division of SunTrust Bank) has found in the survey’s five-year history.
  • Remaining budgets will be paid for with credit cards and home improvement loans.
    • About a third of homeowners say they’ll pay for some portion of their project with a credit card, although credit card use is down significantly for Millennials since last year.
    • According to Harris, 29% more people plan to take out home improvement loans.
  • Additionally, homeowners are planning to invest sweat equity.
    • More than two-thirds of people are planning to do at least some portion of their home improvement themselves.

Although this Harris Poll didn’t survey me, I fit into this year’s trend of staying put and fixing up my home.  Just in the last 2 years I put in 2 new bathrooms and updated electronics in the open-space family room and installed nests for on-line heat and air condition control. These were the planned expenditures.

With just 2 of us living in the house, it still works but needs updating and the costs are never-ending but still less expensive than moving (according to my recent calculations).

No matter how updated the house FEELS, the reality is the mechanics of the home always needs fixing. The sprinkler system broke last summer and I was away. It was a scorcher and I needed to replace some burnt out trees as a result. That seemed avoidable, and I’m not sure why the guy who mows my lawn didn’t give me a ring, but alas, nothing I could do about it.

Now that the kids are gone, though, I am often reassessing how much this house costs to keep running.  When making a list of last year’s expenses, the carrying cost, beyond taxes seems to always meet the high end of my budget. Something always breaks and something always needs to be fixed.

Last year I thought I would have a reprieve as the house didn’t need painting and the landscaping had been dealt with. But wouldn’t you know it, the first 100 degree day, the 15 year old central air conditioner broke and the entire unit needed replacing. That cost $8,000!

So once again I was back to the upper end of the annual “home upkeep” number that I was hoping would improve.

I learned about LightStream as a lending source and wanted to share it with our readers.


To find out more about LightStream’s home improvement loans and its 2018 Home Improvement Survey, visit

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