Best Home Improvement Credit Card – Great job on thinking of using a credit card to charge all home improvement and expansion expenses to earn rewards points. Home renovations can be very expensive, so you might as well try to get some freebies along the way. Using one of the best home improvement credit cards can help you earn rewards quickly.
As a homeowner of several properties in San Francisco, Honolulu and Lake Tahoe, I know how important it is to maintain and remodel the home to get top dollar for resale. I also appreciate a quality renovation that improves livability. A great home renovation is all about the details.
Best Home Improvement Credit Card
You will get the greatest return on your home remodeling if you can expand the livable area of your home. In more expensive cities, it certainly makes sense to build down, up and out.
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For example, in San Francisco you can build for $400/sqft and sell your property for $1000+/sqft. It’s the best arbitrage you can find.
I have renovated several properties since 2003 and have always used a rewards credit card to charge all my costs. In this post, I’ll highlight the best credit cards to use when remodeling or expanding your home.
The best credit cards for home improvement have the best welcome bonuses, the best cash back rewards and 0% introductory offers.
It’s a good idea to put everything from the marble slab to the 8-burner range on your credit card to maximize those reward points.
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When it comes to home improvement, mentally budget for the project to take at least 30% longer and cost at least 30% more than expected. If you do, you’ll be better mentally prepared.
While you are in the midst of remodeling, it can be very stressful. Just know that when the process is done, it will be one of the best things you will ever do.
After spending hours reviewing dozens of credit cards, here are my picks for the best home improvement credit cards out there today.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of our favorite cards because you get an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months. The 2019 home renovation required purchasing $50,000 worth of materials. Having a 15 month buffer with no interest is huge for those who need it.
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Furthermore, Chase currently offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases you make with your card. It’s a great way to earn rewards while renovating the master bath and remodeling the kitchen.
If you spent $50,000 on rebuilding materials like I did, you would receive $750 in cash back. That’s a lot of money to spend on white goods, furniture, a new vacuum cleaner, you name it.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card also generates points for travel, gift cards at Home Depot and Amazon, and more.
As a cardholder, you also get access to Credit Journey, which gives you unlimited access to credit scores. It’s free, even if you’re not a Chase customer, and is updated weekly. Checking your score does not affect your credit.
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Zero Liability Protection means you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized charges to your card or account information.
Purchase Protection also covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per damage and $50,000 per account.
Extended warranty protection extends the time period of the products’ US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on qualified warranties of three years or less.
The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is like the little brother of the Chase Freedom Unlimited. You can earn $200 in Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend just $500 on home improvements in the first three months of becoming a card member.
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Heck, buying fixtures like shelves, toilet paper holders, hooks, and a vanity for one bathroom alone is a lot more than $500. Getting 40% back on $500 is huge!
Plus, you’ll also earn an impressive 5% back on rotating categories like gas, groceries, department stores, streaming services and restaurants up to $1,500 each quarter. Just make sure you keep track of the rotating categories.
What’s more, you also get a 0% introductory period for 15 months, which is great for renovating your kitchen, bathrooms and so on. Let’s say you budget $10,000 for home renovations. You can pay $10,000 down by paying just $667 a month for 15 months with no interest. Not bad!
Apart from the quarterly incentives, you will also earn unlimited 1% cash back automatically on every other purchase you make.
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Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per damage and $50,000 per account.
Capital One is one of my favorite credit card companies because that’s their specialty – creating the best credit cards that fit your lifestyle. And my favorite credit card from my favorite credit card-focused company is the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Credit Card.
The Capital One Quicksilver card only requires spending $500 within the first three months of account opening to receive a $200 early-use bonus. That’s a 40% bonus, and one of the highest, if not the highest, cashback reward percentages you’ll see on the market today.
Other cards with $95 annual fees will require you to spend $3,000 and sometimes $5,000 in the first few months to get a similar bonus or less.
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Capital One Quicksilver cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5% back on all spending. With no rotating categories, you don’t have to think about which credit card to use when. You can charge all expenses to your Quicksilver card with security and ease.
Instead of having to wait until you reach a certain cashback threshold, like $100, you can redeem your cashback rewards at any time. In other words, your rewards points give you the ultimate flexibility. How annoying would it be to have to wait until you spend $6,666.70 to get $100 cash back?
A typical annual fee for a rewards credit card of Quicksilver’s caliber is $95 a year. The problem with paying an annual fee is that you are often more motivated to use the credit card when it is not in your financial interest.
So you’re lucky the Quicksilver card has a $0 annual fee. You won’t feel the need to spend more to save more.
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Remodeling and extending the home can be very expensive. But Americans spend billions of dollars on home improvement every year because it’s worth it.
All major expenses must be charged by credit card. In addition to paying for school fees and cars, home remodeling expenses rank right up there.
The key is to take advantage of rewards credit cards and not let rewards cards take advantage of you. Never carry a revolving credit card balance after the introductory 0% APR period is over. Always pay off your credit card every month given credit card rates average over 15% today.
Financing your home improvement with 0% APR for 12-15 months is a smart way to go. The more you can keep costs down, the higher your profits in the future if you ever sell.
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Real estate is my favorite asset class for building wealth. I have made millions in real estate since 2003 and plan to make millions more over the next few decades.
One thing you should also consider is investing in real estate crowdfunding to take advantage of lower valuations and higher appraisal rates in the heartland of America. Property has developed well and is also less volatile. The 32% selloff in March 2020 in the S&P 500 was terrifying!
After selling one of my SF rental properties for 30X annual gross rent in 2017, I reinvested $550,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 different commercial real estate properties across the country.
I earn passive income instead of having to deal with maintenance issues and tenants. Furthermore, I am benefiting from a long-term demographic shift towards lower cost areas of the country thanks to technology.
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My favorite real estate crowdfunding platform is Fundrise. They started in 2012 and are the most innovative, best funded and well researched platforms today. You can sign up and explore for free.
About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from The College of William & Mary and received his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34, largely due to his investments which now generate approximately $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends his time playing tennis, taking care of his family, investing in real estate and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom as well. “Expert verified” means that the Financial Review Board thoroughly evaluated the article for accuracy and clarity. The Review Board consists of a panel of financial experts whose aim is to ensure that our content is always objective and balanced.
Written by Holly D. Johnson Written by Holly D. JohnsonArrow Author Award-winning writer Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit card, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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