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Best Home Improvement Loans in 2022

Learn more about choosing a home improvement loan and how to get started.

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Renovating a home has several benefits. It can boost your home’s market value and comfort level. But a drawback is that renovations can be pricey. Some home improvement projects cost thousands of dollars, which you might not be able to pay for out of pocket.

One solution is to take out a home improvement loan to get the needed cash. We’ll walk you through several options to help you make an informed decision.


Best Home Improvement Loans

Loan results will vary based on creditworthiness, loan purpose, loan amount, and other factors.

SoFi

  • Loan Amount: $5,000 – $100,000
  • APR Range: 7.99% – 23.43%
  • Loan Terms: 2 – 7 years
  • Credit Score: 680 or higher

SoFi is an online lender known for its lack of fees and high loan maximum.

Pros
  • No origination fees and no late fees
  • Loans up to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection available
  • Rate discounts
  • Co-borrower allowed
Cons
  • No physical branches
  • High minimum loan amount

SoFi offers a competitive personal loan product that boasts no origination fees, no late fees, and a high maximum loan amount of $100,000. SoFi is one of only a handful of lenders offering loans as large as $100,000. If you need a substantial loan to cover a considerable expense, like a home renovation, SoFi’s high maximum can be a strong option. Its repayment terms range from 24 to 84 months.

One standout feature of SoFi is that it offers unemployment protection, which might allow you to pause payments if you lose your job. This is a unique offering that sets it apart from competitors.

SoFi also lets you view your rate without impacting your credit score. While doing a soft credit pull is relatively common, it’s still worth mentioning because some lenders require a hard inquiry before they provide a rate. Those who decide to formally apply will likely need a strong credit score to get approved for a SoFi personal loan. 

LightStream

  • Loan Amount: $5,000 – $100,000
  • APR Range: 5.99% – 21.49%
  • Loan Terms: 2 – 12 years
  • Credit Score: 660 or higher

LightStream is an online lender offering no fees and low-rate personal loans for several purposes.

Pros
  • Relatively low APRs
  • No origination fees, no late fees
  • Personal loans up to $100,000
  • Autopay discount
  • Joint applications allowed
Cons
  • No physical branches
  • Rates and terms vary by loan purpose
  • No soft pull prequalification

Lightstream is Truist’s online lending division, formed in 2019 after SunTrust and BB&T merged. Offering personal loans for several purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, weddings, car purchases, and more, LightStream could be worth considering for those seeking flexibility. 

The lender offers relatively low rates compared to competitors, including autopay discounts. Eligible borrowers can get approved for personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000, and loan terms range from 24 to 144 months. Of course, the rate and term you get will depend on the specific loan purpose.

Its personal loans also have no origination fees, which can help keep borrowing costs low. However, borrowers will likely need a credit score of 660 to get approved for a Lightstream personal loan. 

Overall, it’s a good lender to add to your shortlist if you’re looking for flexible funding, no fees, and a low APR. Lightstream may also disburse loans as soon as the same day you’re approved, making this lender a decent choice if you need fast funding.

Upstart

  • Loan Amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • APR Range: 6.50% – 35.99%
  • Loan Terms: 3 – 5 years
  • Credit Score: 300 or higher

Using artificial intelligence to help evaluate borrowers, Upstart is a unique lending platform that looks beyond your credit score for personal loan approval.

Pros
  • Considers factors beyond your credit score in lending decisions
  • Loans up to $50,000
  • Fast funding time
Cons
  • No physical locations
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Has origination fees of 0% to 10%

Upstart is a first-of-its-kind online lending platform that uses artificial intelligence to help make smarter lending decisions. This means the company considers factors beyond a borrower’s credit score to help determine creditworthiness. Upstart indicates its model has resulted in 43% lower rates for borrowers than traditional credit score models.

Beyond your credit score, Upstart will also look at your employment history, income, and level of education when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. it states that borrowers with credit scores as low as 300 might be able to get approved for a personal loan, though that loan may come with a relatively high APR. 

Those seeking a personal loan can borrow up to $50,000 and as little as $1,000. While its repayment terms of 36 or 60 months are fairly limited compared to other online lenders, its rates are fairly competitive and loan funds are disbursed as soon as one business day after approval. In addition, this lender charges origination fees of 0% to 10%, so it’s important to read the fine print before applying.

LendingPoint

  • Loan Amount: $2,000 – $36,500
  • APR Range: 7.99% – 35.99%
  • Loan Terms: 2 – 6 years
  • Credit Score: 600 or higher

LendingPoint offers personal loans with flexible credit requirements and payment solutions for customers.

Pros
  • Fast funding available
  • Low minimum credit score requirement
  • Repayment terms up to 72 months
Cons
  • Relatively low maximum loan amount ($36,500)
  • No physical locations
  • Origination fee may apply (0% to 7%)

Established in 2015, LendingPoint is an online financial services company offering loans and payment solutions to customers and businesses. This company uses technology to help evaluate potential borrowers and has more flexible credit score requirements than some competitors. Borrowers could get approved with a credit score as low as 580. 

LendingPoint offers personal loans of up to $36,500 with repayment terms as long as 72 months. Its APRs are fairly competitive, ranging from 7.99% to 35.99%, and loan funds can be disbursed in as soon as one business day.

However, borrowers may need to pay an origination fee, ranging from 0% to 7% of the total loan amount. Still, LendingPoint’s low minimum credit score and lengthy maximum repayment term make it a compelling offering.

Upgrade

  • Loan Amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • APR Range: 7.96% – 35.97%
  • Loan Terms: 2 – 7 years
  • Credit Score: 560 or higher

Upgrade offers flexible terms for personal loans and is accessible to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit profiles.

Pros
  • Accessible to borrowers with bad credit
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Joint applications allowed
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Secured loan options
Cons
  • Has origination fees from 1.85% to 8%
  • No physical branches
  • Higher APRs than some competitors

Upgrade offers personal loans up to $50,000 for qualifying borrowers and is accessible to those with not-so-ideal credit scores. The low loan minimum of $1,000 also makes it an easy choice for those with small financing needs. However, borrowers in certain states will be subject to higher minimum loan amounts. If you live in Massachusetts, Upgrade’s minimum loan amount is $6,400.

While other lenders may offer longer repayment terms of up to 144 months, those are typically reserved for certain loan purposes. Upgrade has repayment terms of 24 to 84 months for eligible borrowers, no matter what expense you’ll be covering. This flexibility can be useful, especially if you’d prefer a longer timeframe to pay off your loan. 

With this lender, you can expect to pay an origination fee between 1.85% and 8%. Borrowers can view their rate before applying without impacting their credit score. 

Overall, Upgrade is worth considering if you’re looking for a lender that offers multiple banking products and loans with competitive rates and flexible terms.


What Is a Home Improvement Loan?

A home improvement loan is any financing a homeowner uses to fund home improvement projects. Common home improvement loans include personal loans, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and cash-out refinances.

Home improvement loans can be broken down into the following two general categories:

  • Secured. A secured home improvement loan typically requires you to pledge collateral — something of value like the equity in your home. If you default on the loan, the lender can take your home.
  • Unsecured. An unsecured loan doesn’t require you to pledge collateral. If you default on the loan, a lender can’t seize your assets unless it has a court’s permission.

Secured loans such as home equity loans, HELOCs, and cash-out refinances are usually backed by a home’s equity. Personal loans, on the other hand, are usually unsecured.

roof repair
iStock

Consumers take out loans to tackle a variety of home improvement projects. Below are some examples:

  • Kitchen remodeling
  • Bathroom remodeling
  • Whole-house remodeling
  • Patio remodeling
  • Home additions such as ADUs or new home office
  • New flooring
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Window replacement
  • Energy-efficient upgrades
  • Home repairs
  • Installing a new roof

Home improvement loans can be a helpful way to fund upgrades and repairs for a home, especially if you don’t have enough savings to cover the expenses.

Types of Financing for Home Improvements

As mentioned above, there are various ways to pay for home renovations and repairs. Let’s explore how some available loan options work, and the pros and cons of each.

Personal Loans

Pros

  • No collateral required
  • Some lenders issue funds as soon as the same business day

Cons

  • Good credit needed to qualify for a lender’s best rates
  • Some lenders charge origination fees

A personal loan is a fixed-rate installment loan that’s often unsecured. If you take out one, a lender usually deposits funds into your bank account. Then you repay the loan by making fixed monthly payments.

You can use the loan funds for almost any purpose, including home improvement projects. Loan terms vary but typically range from two to five years, or longer.

A major advantage of this option is that lenders can deliver funds fast — some lenders issue funds as soon as the same business day. However, a con is that average interest rates are often higher than secured loans.

Home Equity Loans

Pros

  • Fixed monthly payments can be easier to budget for
  • Lower average interest rate than personal loans

Cons

  • Defaulting on the loan can lead to foreclosure
  • May have to pay closing costs

A home equity loan, also referred to as a second mortgage, allows you to tap the equity in your home to pay for home improvements and other expenses. It operates like a personal loan — a lender issues a lump sum of money and you repay the loan in fixed monthly installments.

A major advantage of this type of loan is that average home equity loan rates are often lower than average personal loan rates. However, a lender can take your home if you default on the loan. Plus, you may have to pay closing costs.

HELOCs

Pros

  • Borrow as needed
  • Only pay interest on the amount you borrow

Cons

  • The interest rate varies based on market conditions 
  • Defaulting on the loan can lead to foreclosure

Another way you can tap your home’s equity to pay for home improvements is by taking out a HELOC. A HELOC operates like a credit card. If approved for one, a lender will issue you a line of credit you can borrow from as needed. Unlike a home equity loan, HELOCs usually have variable interest rates.

Another difference is that a HELOC has two repayment periods: a draw period and a repayment period. During the draw period which often lasts ten years, you can withdraw as much money as you need up to your credit limit. Also, while you’re in the draw period, some lenders will only require you to make interest-only payments.

Once the draw period ends, the repayment period begins. You’ll be responsible for making interest and principal loan payments in this phase.



How to Choose a Home Improvement Loan

couple going over home improvement budget
iStock

Consider these factors when choosing a home improvement loan:

  • Eligibility requirements. Although eligibility requirements vary, most lenders require borrowers to have a credit score, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and income. And if you’re considering applying for a home equity loan, HELOC or cash-out refinance, you’ll need a certain amount of equity in your home.
  • Loan amount. Maximum loan amounts also vary by lender. When choosing a home improvement loan, ensure the lender offers a loan amount that matches your borrowing needs.
  • Repayment terms. You also want to pick an option that offers a payment term that matches your needs. For example, a longer repayment term typically comes with a lower monthly payment. But a major downside is that you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.
  • Fees. The type of fees charged depends on the home improvement loan option chosen. Common personal loan fees include origination fees, late fees and prepayment penalties. In addition, if you tap your home’s equity to fund home improvements, you might have to pay closing costs.

How to Apply for a Home Improvement Loan

Although the application process varies, you generally take these steps to apply:

  1. Determine how much you need. Estimate the cost of your home improvement project to determine the loan amount you need to request.
  2. Review your credit. Lenders generally review your credit history when you apply to assess how likely you are to repay the loan. Review your credit reports from all three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — for inaccuracies by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
  3. Compare your options. Weigh the pros and cons of several financing options to find the one that matches your needs.
  4. Research and compare lenders. Compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to get the best deal. Factor in the full cost of the loan, including any fees, rates, etc.
  5. Submit a loan application. Once you’ve picked a lender, the final step is to apply for a loan. You’ll likely need to provide personal and financial information, such as your Social Security number, tax returns and W-2s.

Bottom Line

couple planning remodel home improvement project
Pexels

Finding a home improvement loan that matches your unique needs requires research and planning. Consider eligibility requirements, loan amounts, and funding speed when comparing your options. Before you apply for a loan, compare rates and terms from as many lenders as possible to get the best deal possible.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much can you borrow with a home improvement loan?

Loan amounts vary by lender, the option you choose, and your unique financial situation. Some lenders offer personal loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. The amount you qualify to borrow will depend on your creditworthiness.

What credit score do I need to qualify for a home improvement loan?

Home equity loan and HELOC minimum credit score requirements vary, but some lenders have minimum credit score requirements as low as 640. Personal loan credit score requirements vary by lender but can be as low as 600. The higher your credit score, the better your chances are of qualifying and securing a competitive interest rate.

How long are home improvement loans?

Repayment terms vary by lender. A personal loan typically has a loan term of two to five years. Home equity loans have repayment terms that range from five to 30 years.

Are home improvement loans tax deductible?

It depends on the type of loan taken out. If a homeowner uses a home equity loan to pay for home improvements, they may be able to claim an interest deduction. But if they use a personal loan to fund home improvements, they aren’t eligible for a deduction. Check with a tax professional to see if your home improvement loan qualifies.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Jerry Brown
Jerry Brownhttps://twitter.com/peerlessmoney
Jerry Brown is a personal finance writer and owner of the Peerless Money Mentor blog. He's written for major publications, such as Forbes Advisor, Business Insider, and Rocket Mortgage. Financial products he enjoys covering include credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages. Jerry was nominated for best social media for personal finance in 2020.

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