Think old-house aficionados spend more on remodeling than new-construction buyers? Think again. A 2004 study by the Home Improvement Research Institute found that 52 percent of all home buyers completed one or more home improvements within the first year of purchase. Of those, buyers of older homes spent an average of $3,600, while those who bought new digs spent nearly double that—about $7,000. Whereas purchasers of pre-owned homes were more likely to update paint, flooring, electrical wiring, lighting, and appliances, owners of new homes were apt to landscape and to add patios and decks.