With the popularity of home improvement shows like "Extreme Makeover," and "Trading Spaces," home remodeling has become a national trend. It has also become a financial fallback position for families in Wilmington's turbulent housing market. As housing prices in Wilmington rise, residents are investing more in their homes. Jayce Schmidt moved into her house in the Forest Hills neighborhood in 2001. She calls it her dream house. "It's an open, airy, thoughtful design. I don't have a lot of wasted space," Schmidt said. "I've got just enough space for a family of four, it's easy to maintain and the location is great!" But it's not the home she and her husband moved into six years ago. The house they purchased was about half the size. They figured instead of buying a large house, they would create one -- in a neighborhood they love. "There's no way we could've purchased a home in Forest Hills of this size that's been fully renovated for the amount of money that we put into it. The renovation was a much better value for us." The Schmidts aren't the only ones who saw an advantage in renovating. The national association of home builders predicts Americans will spend $233 billion on home remodeling this year. That's a 1.9 percent increase from the record $228 billion spent in 2006. In Wilmington--where the median price for a home is projected to rise more than $50,000 by 2011--things aren't much different. "What you're seeing now is people saying 'I don't really need to sell my house, I need to do a little extreme makeover or a little un-extreme makeover and get a better feel for the quality of life that we're looking for,'" said David Spetrino, Owner of Plantation Building Corp, a company that does home renovations in Wilmington. Schmidt's renovations have increased the value of her house considerably. But, she says, she doesn't plan on selling any time soon. At the end of the day, she says, there's no place like home. "Renovation is great because you can be actively involved in the design process," Schmidt said. "You can create a living space that fits your lifestyle. That's why i love the house." "It's turned out exactly the way I wanted it to."
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