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At the top of many homeowners' to-do list is a remodel project. Whether it's a new bathroom, kitchen, room addition or garage -- some of the more popular remodels -- now could be an excellent time to get started.

A new study shows that many homeowners are interested in remodeling and taking advantage of the benefits that have arisen from natural catastrophes. Katrina and other disasters caused the building industry to respond by creating a greater supply of materials. Now it seems there may be a bit of a surplus that needs to be sold.

"It's getting easier and a little bit less expensive than it was last year just because the materials and laborers are more available than they were a year ago," says Dan Fritschen, owner of ABCD Publishing and the author of the study.

Better pricing and availability of materials and workers is critical for homeowners as many are deciding to remodel their existing home or fix up one that's being purchased.

"Homeowners are feeling less rich," says Fritschen. He says that's because prices have dropped and equity is not increasing as rapidly.

But the desire to have an updated look is pressuring homeowners to move forward with various remodel projects. Many, respondents of the study indicated that their remodel will involve a much more hands-on approach than in previous studies.

"I think a year and a half ago everybody felt much richer. I'm busy, I've got plenty of equity, I'm just going to go pay somebody [to do the remodeling]," explains Fritschen.

The study, which used 5,000 homeowners throughout the US, found that 32 percent of the respondents plan to be their own remodeling contractor. That figure has increased about seven percent since 2005. There was a five-percent increase, bringing the figure to 65 percent of respondents who say they will do at least a portion of their remodeling work.

"Now, these are [survey respondents] who have not yet remodeled but are considering it," says Fritschen.

Whether or not all the respondents actually end up taking a hands-on approach in their remodels may correlate to this finding: 55 percent of those who are considering remodeling are excited about the idea while 10 percent are dreading the process.

How much homeowners plan to spend is also expected to increase in 2007, according to the study. This year, 50 percent of the respondents who plan to remodel indicated that they will spend 30 percent of their home's current value of the project. That figure is up from 33 percent last year in this same category.

What they're looking for is more space. The majority of the respondents want to add bathrooms (this is consistent with past findings), while about half want more rooms such as bedrooms and dens. Nearly 50 percent plan to remodel their existing bathrooms and a little more than half, 55 percent, want to remodel their kitchens.

Most homeowners, 57 percent, said they are planning to do the remodeling revisions to create special features in their homes. A quarter of the respondents said the remodeling plans will make their homes comfortable. Nearly 20 percent said remodel projects will help them create their dream homes. For more information on remodeling, visit remodelormove.com.

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