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.

The most straightforward way to finance a remodeling project is with a home improvement loan, which can be a conventional loan or an FHA-backed 203(k) loan, which is intended for homeowners who want to spruce up their homes. These loans are packaged separate from your mortgage, and offer different rates and terms than your mortgage. You’ll need to be approved separately, so your credit score and current debt will greatly impact your ability to secure a loan.

Truist, SunTrust®, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey®, SunTrust Premier Program®, AMC Pinnacle®, AMC Premier®, Access 3®, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan®, SunTrust SummitView®, LightStream®, GFO Advisory Services®, BB&T®, BB&T Securities®, BB&T Sterling Advisors, Sterling Capital®, BB&T Investments, and BB&T Scott & Stringfellow® are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
After the kitchen, you may want to think about remodeling your existing bathroom. If your house is older, you may be sporting pink, blue or avocado tile or outdated fixtures. Even if your home is newer, styles can change. Invest in neutral-colored tile and give the room some personality with a fresh coat of paint, wall hangings and a new shower curtain. Update lighting fixtures and install a low-flow toilet to save on the water bill. You may even want to add a new vanity and matching mirror.
To possibly have the quickest impact on your home's resale value, replace overgrown bushes with low, uncluttered plantings. In the backyard, add a simple patio made of pavers, a fire pit or a fountain fashioned out of rocks or pottery. Choose evergreen, perennial plants as the primary elements in your garden. These are low maintenance, and in the winter your home will show better with full bushes instead of twigs. On the other hand, if you live in a warm climate, build an outdoor living space with gravel, pavers, umbrellas and plush patio furniture.

Only you can decide if your home improvement or repair is worth it to you. Some homeowners place a higher personal value on enjoying their living space while they occupy the home; for some, it is important to recover a greater percentage of renovation costs when they sell the home. Remember, a number of factors may determine whether you recover some or all of your expenses.

A credit card can be a better option for borrowing smaller amounts of money for your home improvements with lower interest rates than a personal loan. Credit cards can offer 0% interest rates for a set period of time on your larger purchases, which might include a new kitchen or bathroom suite. A credit card works best if you can pay it off quickly.


If you’ve owned your home long enough to build up a significant amount of equity in it you may choose to leverage it as a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. The line of credit functions much like a credit card. You can use it to pay off remodeling expenses as you incur them, and you may then pay it down as you can afford to. This option may yield the lowest interest rates available, but you’ll need to plan to pay for closing costs as part of the project.
Finally, compare those fees carefully. When you meet with a lender, up-front costs will start with a credit report running $50 to $80 and possibly an appraisal, which should cost less than $300. Some lenders use your property-tax valuation, others won't. Often, you can reduce lending fees in a competitive market. And if you're asked for a nonrefundable application fee, beware; reputable lenders try to keep up-front fees low.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.

There is a catch, however. Unlike other lenders like SoFi or Marcus, LightStream does not offer pre-qualification. This can be problematic if you want to see what your interest rate will be, but don’t want the hard pull to show up on your credit history. That aside, if you have an established credit history, it’s hard to pass up the competitive and flexible terms LightStream offers.

Some of that affordability is negated, though, by Prosper’s loan origination fee. This lender charges a fee based on your credit profile, which could cost you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on your credit score and how much you need to borrow. Other lenders offer lower interest rates and don’t charge loan origination fees, so make sure you weigh all the factors if you decide to go with Prosper for your loan.
Home improvement loan rates are dependent are a number of factors. The most common factor is borrower credit rating and score but that is not the only thing to consider. You must also consider the type of loan that you are interested in and the scope of the project that will be done. Many of the underwriting considerations look at total risk factor of the loan and the ability of the borrower to repay the obligation. Unsecured loans have a higher risk to the lender than do secured loans but the secured loan option is not as common unless you are thinking about an equity based loan.
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.
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.
×