Experts' Top Home Improvement Projects for a Booming Housing Market

Sheree R. Curry



More consumers are dusting off their cordless drills, tape measures and jigsaws, or at least are shelling out for paint, spackle or flooring products. Home remodeling is on an upswing, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. A byproduct of rising home sales during this past year, new homeowners are spending more at big-box stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot for their DIY projects. Home sellers are also adding to the increased sales at home improvement stores as they spruce up a home before putting it on the market. TV programmers, meanwhile, have been paying attention -- and adding new home-improvement series or renewing old ones.

"Homeowners are more comfortable investing in their homes right now," said Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. "Consumer confidence scores are back to pre-recession levels, and since recent homebuyers are traditionally the most active in the home improvement market, the growth in sales of existing homes is providing more opportunities for these improvement projects."

Home Depot and Lowe's both reported favorable earnings in August, with Lowe's saying that its net earnings rose 26 percent from a year ago and Home Depot recording its highest number of transactions in company history, according to MarketWatch. The unfortunate aftermath of natural disasters -- from hurricanes to tornadoes or wildfires -- have also sent homeowners to the home improvement stores.

But homeowners' inspirations don't necessarily come in retail aisles, but on the tube. With record-breaking ratings and a first quarter that attracted more than 67 million adults, HGTV and the DIY Network expect to premiere a combined 27 new series this year, plus bring back more than 50 series. These shows do not include the 50-plus specials they also expect to debut in 2013.

The TV specialists on home improvement shows give eager do-it-yourselfers and their armchair dreamer-counterparts ideas. From remodeling to design, Americans are tuning in and taking advice from the likes of the "Property Brothers," Jonathan and Drew Scott; licensed contractor Amy Mathews, home inspector Mike Holmes or real-life cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV's "Cousins on Call." These TV experts lower the wrecking ball on outdated, dysfunctional spaces or show us how to transform our spaces from playground rebuilds to fixing faulty roofing or how-to remove asbestos.

"Celebrity driven vehicles and 'hybrid hour' programs highlight the three things our viewers love the most: real estate, renovate and decorate," said Burton Jablin, president of Scripps Networks Interactive's Home Category, which operates HGTV and DIY Network.

"Rescue my Renovation" with John Desilvia (pictured above) premieres its second season Sept. 4 , and the "Property Brothers" airs Wednesdays on HGTV. These guys are just three of the experts who chimed in to give AOL Real Estate readers some DIY tips for home remodels and renovations. Flip through the slideshow to see what our celebrity and local experts alike have to say about what home remodels you should tackle first, or can do easily on a tight budget.

EXPERTS' TOP HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS FOR NEW OWNERS AND SELLERS:

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More about home improvement projects:
Top 5 Home Improvement Projects With Winter in Mind
Don't Move -- Improve: How to Rethink Space in Your Home
Home Improvements That Get Your House Sold

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