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An important step in any home improvement project is deciding how to pay for it. There are many ways to finance home remodeling, including options that use the equity you’ve built up in your home and non-equity options like personal loans and credit cards.

Can You Borrow Money For Home Improvement

Borrowing against home equity involves either replacing your existing mortgage or taking out a second home loan and using the funds to pay for the remodel. This type of financing often comes with single-digit interest rates, and interest paid on home equity loans or lines of credit is tax-deductible if they are used for home improvements.

Home Equity Loan Vs. Line Of Credit Vs. Home Improvement Loan

With equity financing, the lender requires a home appraisal, and you may have to pay closing costs. It also uses your home as collateral, which means the lender can take your home if you fail to make payments.

A HELOC is a line of credit that you draw on as needed. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow.

HELOC amounts can be up to 85% of the value of your home that is owed on your mortgage. Interest rates are usually variable, meaning monthly payments fluctuate with rate changes. You typically have 10 years to spend money from a HELOC and then 20 years to pay off the balance.

When it’s best: The flexibility to draw money as you need it makes a HELOC ideal if you don’t know exactly how much the repairs will cost.

How To Get A Home Improvement Loan

Like a HELOC, a home equity loan allows you to borrow up to about 85% of the value of your home that you currently owe. The difference is that you receive funds in a lump sum and pay over a period that is often 15 years or less. These loans have fixed interest rates and monthly payments.

When it’s best: Because home equity loans are fully funded at one time, they’re best when you know the cost of your renovation project.

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Cash-out refinancing replaces your current mortgage with a larger one. You get the difference between the existing mortgage balance and the new, larger loan in cash, which you use to fund your renovation.

When it’s best: Cash-out refinancing works best if you need a large loan to renovate a home you plan to live in long-term. Ideally, the new mortgage has a lower interest rate than your existing home loan.

Valley Credit Union

Atlanta-area certified financial planner Jovan Johnson says he sets aside money each month for future home improvement projects and needed fixes.

For do-it-yourself and other projects that don’t require full payment upfront, breaking up payments during renovations helps the project fit into your budget.

When it’s best: Use cash when doing so won’t disrupt other financial goals or exceed your monthly budget.

Unsecured personal loans can help homeowners finance a project quickly. Most lenders can fund a loan within a week, unlike home equity financing, which involves time-consuming underwriting and appraisal processes.

Personal Loans That’ll Fund You In 1 Business Day Of 2023

Rates on personal loans range from 6% to 36%, which is higher than most home equity options but lower than some credit cards. There are home improvement loans for borrowers with bad credit (scores below 630), but the lowest rates are reserved for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

Repayment terms on most personal loans range from two to seven years. A shorter term increases your monthly payments, while a longer term costs more in total interest.

Many online lenders offer pre-qualification for borrowers to see their potential rate, loan amount and monthly payment. Since these loans come in a lump sum and are repaid in fixed amounts, you can plan for them in your monthly budget.

When it’s best: Because personal loans are funded quickly, they’re a good option for urgent repairs or projects you want to start quickly. They can also cover larger projects if borrowing against equity is not an option.

Mortgage Banking & Home Remodel Loans

For small home improvements, consider a 0% APR credit card that you can pay off over an interest-free period, typically 15 to 18 months. You’ll need good or excellent credit (a score of 690 or higher) to qualify for these cards.

Some cards offer rewards on certain purchases, including home improvement expenses. Retail cards also offer special financing or promotions, which can make sense if you’re buying most of your supplies from one store.

When it’s best: Using credit cards can help you complete small DIY or short-term projects that don’t exceed a few thousand dollars.

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The government offers Title 1 loans to qualified borrowers who want to make specific updates to their home, including buying appliances, making your home more accessible or improving its energy efficiency.

How Home Construction Loans Work

You can borrow up to $25,000 for a single-family home, and repayment terms typically range from six months to 20 years.

Title 1 loans over $7,500 require your home as collateral. You must live in the home for 90 days or more before you can borrow.

Not all lenders offer government loans. Search the Lender List on Housing and Urban Development for a lender in your state.

When it’s best: If your project qualifies for this type of loan, it can pay for all or part of the project.

How Do I Pay For Home Renovations?

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Sign up and we’ll send you nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you and other ways to help you get more for your money. Home renovations can be expensive. But the good news is that you don’t have to pay out of pocket. A home improvement loan lets you finance the cost of renovations and repairs to your home.

Special rehabilitation loans such as FHA 203(k) mortgages exist specifically to finance home renovation projects. And there are other mortgages — home equity loans and HELOCs — that can provide cash for home remodeling or another purpose.

You Can Borrow Money To Renovate Your Home, But Should You?

So, what is the best home improvement loan? It depends on your needs. Here’s what you should know.

A home equity loan (HEL) allows you to borrow against the equity built up in your home. Your equity is calculated by evaluating the value of your home and subtracting the outstanding balance on your current mortgage loan.

Unlike a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan does not pay off your existing mortgage. If you already have a mortgage, you will continue to make monthly payments while repaying your new home equity loan.

A home equity loan is “disbursed upfront as a single payment. It’s similar to a second mortgage,” says Bruce Allian, realtor and real estate attorney.

Home Renovation Loan / Home Improvement Loan: All You Need To Know

With a home equity loan, your home is used as collateral. This means lenders can offer lower rates because the loan is secured against the property. A low, fixed interest rate makes a home equity loan a good option if you need to borrow a large amount.

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Remember that you’ll likely pay between 2% and 5% of the loan balance in closing costs for your home equity loan. So make sure that the amount you borrow makes the added cost worth it.

As a bonus, “a home equity loan or HELOC can also be tax-deductible,” says Doug Lever, Tropical Financial Credit Union, member with the FDIC. “Check with your CPA or tax advisor to make sure.”

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is another great way to borrow against your home equity without refinancing. A HELOC is similar to a home equity loan but works like a credit card. You can borrow from it up to a pre-approved limit, pay it back, and borrow from it again.

Heres How To Finance Your Remodel

Another difference between home equity loans and HELOCs is that HELOC interest rates are adjustable; They may rise and fall over the term of the loan. But the interest is only on your outstanding HELOC balance — the amount you actually borrowed — and not on the entire line of credit.

You can only borrow a fraction of your maximum loan amount at any one time, which means your payment and interest costs will be lower.

A HELOC may be a better option than a home equity loan if you have some less expensive or long-term remodeling projects to finance on an ongoing basis.

By the end of the term, “the loan must be paid off in full. Or the HELOC can turn into an amortizing loan,” Elian says. “Note that the lender may be allowed to change the terms during the life of the loan. This can reduce the amount you can borrow if, for example, your credit goes down.”

Home Equity, Heloc Or Refi?

Still, “HELOCs offer flexibility. You don’t need to withdraw money unless you need it. And the line of credit is available for up to 10 years,” Lever says.

Another popular way to get money for a home remodeling project is a cash-out refinance. With this option, you can a

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