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Making upgrades or the right repairs to your home can often be a wise investment, adding considerably to its resale value (not to mention its comfort, style, and looks). Unfortunately, people often can’t afford big property projects without taking a home improvement loan.
Whatever sort of task you want to tackle, it probably won’t be cheap: The average kitchen remodel in the United States costs more than $23,000. Bathroom remodels average $21,000 and up. Even a simple 16 x 20-foot wood deck could set you back more than $14,000.
If you’re looking for financing to cover home renovation or repair costs, you’re in luck. We’ve done a lot of the legwork for you—comparing interest rates, fees, terms, and other factors you should consider. Below are five of our favorite picks for the best home improvement loans currently available.
We display general loan information offered by lenders, but loan availability, specific rates, loan amounts, and loan length may vary based on the state where you live.
Online lender SoFi offers personal loans for home improvement (among other financial products). With fixed rates starting at 5.99% and a maximum loan amount of $100,000, SoFi's financing could fit a variety of renovation jobs—even extensive ones. In addition to its attractive interest rates and generous sums, SoFi offers borrowers the option to pre-qualify in advance, checking terms without incurring a hard credit inquiry.
No home equity or collateral requirements to borrow
Option to pause your payments temporarily if you lose your job
Soft credit check displays your rates and terms before you officially apply
It takes a long time to receive funds–loans typically fund within a week
Good credit recommended to qualify
Better interest rates may be available elsewhere if you have excellent credit
Other important information:
- Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000 in most states
- APR range: 5.99% – 20.89% (with AutoPay discount)
- Fees: None
- Minimum credit requirement: Reported to be 680, but not disclosed on website
- Other qualification requirements: Credit history, income, employment
- Repayment terms: 2–7 years
- Time to receive funds: Typical funding can take up to a week (from approval to the receipt of funds).
- Restrictions: You must be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident or visa holder) to qualify for a personal loan. Mississippi residents are ineligible for a SoFi loan.
Learn more about SoFi personal loans in our full review.
If you need a personal loan for home improvement but your credit rating is less-than-stellar, Avant may be worth considering. With APRs starting at 9.95% and an administrative fee of up to 4.75%, this online lender "for middle-income borrowers" doesn’t offer the most affordable financing option for home improvements. Yet when you compare its terms to those offered by others open to subprime borrowers, Avant starts to look a lot more attractive.
No home equity required to qualify
Fast funding, potentially as soon as the next business day
A soft credit inquiry (with no credit score impact) tells you if you prequalify
An administrative fee of up to 4.75% could increase the cost of your loan
Lower interest rates may be available through other lenders
Low maximum loan amount of $35,000
Other important information:
- Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $2,000 to $35,000
- APR range: 9.95%–35.99%
- Fees: administration fee may be as high as 4.75%
- Minimum credit requirement: reported to be 580, but Avant states that most customers have a credit score between 600–700
- Other qualification requirements: In addition to your creditworthiness, Avant will consider your income when you apply for financing. You must submit proof of employment and an active personal checking or savings account to borrow funds. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to submit your two most recent tax returns along with your loan application
- Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
- Time to receive funds: You’ll typically receive a direct deposit of your loan funds by the next business day (if your application is approved by 4:30 p.m.CT on a weekday)
LightStream is an online lending division of Truist (a newly formed merger between SunTrust Bank and BB&T). For borrowers with good to excellent credit, annual percentage rates on home improvement loans start at 4.99% and the lender charges no fees. Well-qualified applicants may be able to borrow as much as $100,000 with no home equity requirements.
Low rates start at 4.99% (with AutoPay)
Fast funding, potentially as soon as the day you apply
No home equity requirements or appraisals needed
4.99% rate only applies to loan amounts between $10,000–$24,999
No pre-approval option (with soft credit pull) available
Tough to qualify without several years of good-to-excellent credit history
Other important information:
- Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
- APR range: 4.99%–15.29% (with AutoPay discount)
- Fees: None (Note: If you are a Florida resident, a state documentary stamp tax fee may apply)
- Minimum credit requirement: Reported to be 660 (though not confirmed on LightStream’s website)
- Other qualification requirements: LightStream caters to borrowers with good to excellent credit. If you have several years of credit history and a mixture of account types on your credit report (credit cards, installment loans, mortgage, etc.), you may be in luck. LightStream will also consider your ability to save, your income, and your current debts
- Repayment terms: 2 to 12 years
- Time to receive funds: Funds may be deposited into your bank account the same day you apply for a loan
- Restrictions: LightStream won’t issue loans to cover education costs, to refinance existing LightStream loans, or to be used by a business.
Wells Fargo offers multiple ways to finance home improvement projects, including unsecured personal loans. If you choose an unsecured loan, you won’t need to put up any collateral, like the equity in your home, to secure financing. Wells Fargo is also a bricks-and-mortar bank, with thousands of branches around the U.S, which might appeal to those who like to discuss financing options in person, with a human.
Existing Wells Fargo customers may be able to secure a lower interest rate on their loans. If you already have a qualified personal Wells Fargo checking account (and you use it to make automatic payments), you may score a 0.25% relationship discount off your interest rate. The lender’s APR for an unsecured personal loan starts at a low 5.24% and there are no origination or prepayment fees.
Unsecured personal loans for home improvement available
Loan amounts as small as $3,000 available
Three application options: online, over the phone, or at a branch
Application process could take some time if the bank wants more documents
Hard credit pull may be required to learn if you qualify and discover your rate
Must already be a Wells Fargo customer to apply online or via phone
Source: Wells Fargo
Other important information:
- Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $3,000 to $100,000
- APR range: 5.24%–24.24% (with 0.25% relationship discount)
- Fees: Wells Fargo charges no origination fees and no prepayment penalties.
- Minimum credit requirement: Not disclosed, but the Wells Fargo Rate and Payment Calculator indicates that you might qualify for a loan with a credit score as low as 620
- Other qualification requirements: Your credit, income, and expenses (aka your debt-to-income ratio) will all be assessed to determine if you’re eligible for a loan
- Repayment terms: 12 to 84 months (12 to 36 months for loans under $5,000)
- Time to receive funds: Once your application is approved, personal loan funds may be available by the next business day
- Restrictions: You must either be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Alien to qualify
Upstart takes a unique approach to lending that may help borrowers qualify for a more affordable loan, particularly borrowers without much credit history. The lender, founded by a group of former Google employees, has created a loan application process that considers not just your credit, but also your education and job history in determining how risky a prospect you are, and thus what sort of rate you qualify for.
Unfortunately, Upstart loans may come with an origination fee of up to 8%. This fee comes directly out of your loan before you receive the funds. On a $10,000 loan, the origination fee could be as high as $800.
You might qualify for a lower interest rate based on education or job history.
Initial soft credit pull can help you check your rate without hurting your credit.
Borrowing flexibility with loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000 in most states
High origination fee of up to 8% possible
High average APR: 21% on a 3-year loan
Only two repayment options available: 3 or 5 years
Other important information:
- Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $50,000
- APR range: 6.53% – 35.99%
- Fees: Possible origination fee of 0% to 8%. Late fees are 5% of the past due balance or $15, whichever is greater. Returned check or ACH fees are $15. There is no prepayment penalty.
- Minimum credit requirement: 580 or 620 FICO or VantageScore depending on the state you live in
- Other qualification requirements: You must be at least 18 years old, with a valid Social Security number, and enough credit history to qualify for a FICO Score. Your debt-to-income ratio must fall within an acceptable range. Finally, your credit report cannot show any bankruptcies, currently past-due accounts, or more than six inquiries in the last six months
- Repayment terms: 3 or 5 years
- Time to receive funds: Funds may be available as soon as the next business day, once you accept your loan offer
- Restrictions: Loans unavailable to residents of Iowa or West Virginia, or anyone without a U.S. residential street address (outside of the military)
How Do Home Improvement Loans Work?
The term home improvement loan can describe a few different financial products. Personal loans for home improvement (secured and unsecured), home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit are three popular options.
Though all three of these loans have different features, they also have something in common. If you qualify for financing, a lender will lend you the money you can use toward a home improvement or repair project. In exchange, you’ll repay the money you borrowed, along with interest and possibly fees, over time.
Many home improvement loans are reported to the three credit bureaus. It’s important that you consistently make your payments on time if you want to protect your credit scores. And doing so can help them, of course.
Once you decide to borrow money for home improvements, there are numerous lenders who may be able to help you: online lenders, banks, and credit unions.
Are Home Improvement Loans Tax Deductible?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed many of the deductions that were once available to taxpayers. Yet, according to the IRS, the interest paid on home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and second mortgages may still be deducted from your taxes in many cases.
To deduct loan interest from your taxes, the funds you borrowed must have been used to “build or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan. All the loans described above are secured loans.
Therefore, if you use an unsecured loan to fund your home renovation, you might not be able to deduct the interest you pay. Confirm your situation with an accountant, tax attorney, or other tax advisor.
Can I Borrow More On My Mortgage for Home Improvement?
A mortgage is a type of installment loan. Unlike revolving credit cards and credit lines that let you borrow money, pay it back, and borrow again, an installment loan is issued in a lump sum. You can’t go back to your lender and ask for more money on your existing mortgage—for home improvements or for anything else.
You can, however, consider a cash-out refinance. With a cash-out refi, you apply for and (if approved) take out a new loan to pay off your existing mortgage. Assuming the equity in your home has increased, you may walk away from the closing table with some extra funds in your pocket.
Imagine you owe $150,000 on a home that’s worth $250,000. If you have good credit and can satisfy a lender’s other requirements (income, employment, debt, etc.), you might be able to borrow $200,000 in a cash-out refinance. Once your existing mortgage of $150,000 is paid off, you could use the extra $50,000 toward your home improvement project.
Note: Refinancing your mortgage isn’t always a great idea, so weigh the pros and cons before taking this step.
The Bottom Line
Terms and conditions of home improvement loans vary a great deal, depending not only on the lender, but on the borrower's credit score and history, and the sums of money involved. No matter what sort of financial shape you're in, there's probably financing available to you. But, regardless of which type of loan you’re considering and what type of lender you want to work with, shopping around will help you make sure that you’re getting the best rate and terms on your home improvement loan.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders for all borrowing needs. We collected over twenty five data points across more than fifty lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.
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