Sooner or later, you’ll decide it’s time to make some renovations to your home. Whether you put in the elbow grease and do it yourself or hire a contractor to cover the dirty work, any remodeling venture can be pricey. Finding the best way to finance a home improvement project can be tricky, and the ideal choice varies according to your financial situation.

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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:
You may also consider refinancing your home in order to finance a home improvement project. Many banks offer refinancing and renovation options that allow you to roll home improvement costs into your mortgage, even if you don’t have a lot of equity in your home. By basing the mortgage on the home’s renovated value rather than the current value, you’ll be able to finance everything with one loan. If you’re a do-it-yourself type, however, you’re out of luck: Many banks require you to hire a professional contractor to perform the work as part of a refinancing and renovation package.
We just scheduled the payoff of this loan which was to add an addition to our home. Before we part ways, we wanted to send you a note to say thank you. This room addition could not have been possible without such favorable terms and ability to obtain credit online with electronic signatures. Working with LightStream was easy and convenient. Your website is easy to use and the email auto payment reminders were appreciated. We are not fans of debt, but knew we would be able to pay off this loan early which we are doing now. Your company treated us with trust, respect and dignity and we appreciate it very much. While we hope not to need your services again, we know where we will go should we need to borrow funds again.
These FHA-insured loans allow you to simultaneously refinance the first mortgage and combine it with the improvement costs into a new mortgage. They also base the loan on the value of a home after improvements, rather than before. Because your house is worth more, your equity and the amount you can borrow are both greater. And you can hire a contractor or do the work yourself. The downside is that loan limits vary by county and tend to be relatively low. The usual term is 30 years.
*Credit scores are based on information collected by credit bureaus and information reported each month by your creditors about the balances you owe and the timing of your payments. A credit score is a compilation of all this information converted into a number that helps a lender to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan on schedule. The credit score is calculated by the credit bureau, not by the lender. Credit scores are calculated by comparing your credit history with millions of other consumers. 
A home equity/Line of credit, a closed end 2nd mortgage, an after-value loan or a host of other equity products are the options available for home improvement loans. What are the improvements to be made, the period it will take to complete and the amount of equity available are the important considerations to be made before going for a home improvement loan.
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When you borrow money to build a house, there’s no collateral to back up the loan the way there is in a traditional mortgage — at least not yet. This makes lenders nervous, so you have to jump through some additional hoops before they’ll fork over the cash. Expect a thorough inspection of the architectural plans and your builder, as well as your finances.
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HELOCs give borrowers the benefit of an extended draw period for using the line of credit. The common draw period is 10 years. During the draw period, you can use as much or as little as your line of credit as you want, similar to a credit card. Your monthly payments are typically interest only. For homeowners planning a variety of home improvement projects with different costs and time frames, a HELOC might work best.
Until recently, borrowing money for a new kitchen, second-story addition, or other home improvement meant going to the bank, seeing a loan officer, and hoping for the best. Today, however, you have many more options to help finance home improvements. A mortgage broker, for example, can offer more than 200 different loan programs. And brokers are just one of the many lenders eager to put together a loan that fits your situation—even if your credit history is less than perfect.
Sooner or later, you’ll decide it’s time to make some renovations to your home. Whether you put in the elbow grease and do it yourself or hire a contractor to cover the dirty work, any remodeling venture can be pricey. Finding the best way to finance a home improvement project can be tricky, and the ideal choice varies according to your financial situation.
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