Remember, building a home takes a long time and the process has lot of moving parts, so you must select your financing with care. “Some lenders do an outstanding job of managing borrower and builder expectations,” Faries says. He recommends looking for an experienced construction lender who can lead you through the process with minimal frustration.
Home remodeling loans offer an influx of cash for homeowners with big remodeling plans but pocketbooks that won't quite stretch far enough for costly home improvements. When you own a home, remodeling loans can make it possible to build on an addition, put in skylights, add a pool or make any change you want. But you should know what to expect before jumping in and signing on the dotted line of a home improvement loan.
Before you start shopping around for a home improvement loan, put your project into perspective. A $55,000 master bathroom makeover might make sense in a neighborhood where home values are high, but installing a Jacuzzi bathtub and a matching Italian marble floor and countertop of your dreams might not make sense if your home and the rest of the neighborhood is valued at $180,000. Pouring money into renovations can add value to your home, but be careful to ensure your modifications don’t make your home difficult to sell in the future.
Loan shopping often starts with mainstream mortgages from banks, credit unions, and brokers. Like all mortgages, they use your home as collateral and the interest on them is deductible. Unlike some, however, these loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA), or bought from your lender by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two corporations set up by Congress for that purpose. Referred to as A loans from A lenders, they have the lowest interest. The catch: You need A credit to get them. Because you probably have a mortgage on your home, any home improvement mortgage really is a second mortgage. That might sound ominous, but a second mortgage probably costs less than refinancing if the rate on your existing one is low. Find out by averaging the rates for the first and second mortgages. If the result is lower than current rates, a second mortgage is cheaper. When should you refinance? If your home has appreciated considerably and you can refinance with a lower-interest, 15-year loan. Or, if the rate available on a refinance is less than the average of your first mortgage and a second one. If you're not refinancing, consider these loan types:
To qualify for a home remodeling loan, you will need a good credit score and enough monthly income to comfortably pay for all of your debts, including the monthly loan payment. While qualifying for remodeling loans isn’t as difficult as qualifying for a mortgage, “lenders will be very diligent about verifying debt ratios,” McBride said. So, be prepared to supply a lot of paperwork to prove your financial standing.
If you’re open to the idea of buying a fixer-upper, our renovation loans can help with that, too. They allow you to combine the purchase price of the home and the cost of repairs or upgrades into a single mortgage. That way, you don’t have to take out second loan after the purchase, likely at a much higher interest rate. And you can start repairs immediately after closing. Additional benefits include:
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