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Presenting Kukun's Home Lending Tool

We have a quick, easy, no-obligation home financing tool, aka a home improvement loan calculator or a renovation loan calculator, that allows you to review your financing options - all at the click of a button and without affecting your credit score!

Lending tool

What you need to know about home improvement financing

Planning a mortgage to buy a new home? You'd want to know how much money you can afford to borrow and at what rate. And, the next step would be to compare the current loan terms and rates. You need a reliable mortgage loan calculator that will estimate your home mortgage. And, calculate your monthly payments too.

Since a real estate transaction can cost you thousands of dollars, it's important to make sure that it provides you with a measurable financial benefit. And that, you stay in your home long enough to recoup the extra expense.

Kukun's mortgage loan calculator is quick and easy to use. What's more, the no-obligation home financing tool allows you to review your financing options - all at the click of a button and without affecting your credit score!

We understand that the process of getting a loan through a bank can be really tedious. Our home lending tool, based on a home equity loan calculator, is here to speed up the process. After answering just a few qualification questions, generally taking less than four minutes, the mortgage calculator (loan calculator) will show you the available home improvement financing options.

As with all of our tools, we take your security very seriously and have implemented the strictest information security measures when computing results through the mortgage loan calculator.

The mortgage estimator will help you save good money, and reduce your stress before you shop around for loan lenders. Using the tool, you can make an informed decision regarding your loan - choose a lower interest rate, lower your monthly payments, and even shorten your loan term. And another advantage is that you get to know if you can avoid paying mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) by hitting the requisite 20% down payment mark.

Kukun's mortgage calculator is easy to use and gives instant, reliable results.

All you have to do is choose whether you're planning to buy a home or mortgage refinance.

You'll be required to fill in details such as your zip code, the estimated property value, and your credit score. You can enter the loan amount you're planning to borrow, the loan term, and the loan type.

You can then select the property type and the property use. You should also mention if you're a veteran or a serving military person. Or, if you're open to FHA loan options.

The last step is to mention your mortgage points if any and your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

With just some basic information, you can quickly and precisely forecast your monthly mortgage payment and the requisite percentage of the down payment. Moreover, you can also see how much interest you'll pay overall over the course of your mortgage.

The online mortgage calculator utilizes certain information to deliver the most reliable results. These include:

Home price: The dollar amount you have to pay for a new home.

Down payment: The money you have to give to the home seller upfront.

Loan amount: The home value minus the down payment (if you're buying a house) or the outstanding balance on your mortgage (if you're refinancing).

Closing costs: The expenses incurred when a real estate transaction is completed. These costs generally include attorney fees, title service fees, recording fees, survey fees, property transfer taxes, brokerage fees, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, home warranties, pro-rata property taxes, and other miscellaneous costs.

Loan term: The length of the mortgage in years.

Interest rate: The rate your lender will charge you over and above the principal.

The primary component of your mortgage payment consists of the principal and the interest. Additionally, your lender may gather an additional monthly sum to be placed in an escrow account, which is usually used to pay your property tax and insurance bills.

Generally, your monthly mortgage payment will include:

Principal loan amount: The amount of money you borrow from the loan lender.

Interest: The rate (annual percentage) at which the lender charges you to lend you the money.

Property taxes: The annual tax on your property as assessed by the local authorities. Typically, you pay about one-twelfth of your annual tax bill with each monthly mortgage payment if you have an escrow account.

Homeowners insurance: The insurance policy cost which covers damage and financial losses from fire, storms, theft, a tree falling on your home, and other safety hazards. You might need a third insurance policy depending on whether you live in a flood zone or an earthquake-prone area.

Mortgage insurance: If you're unable to make a down payment of more than 20 percent of the home's purchase price, you'll need to pay private mortgage insurance.

When setting your housing budget, calculating your monthly payments is of utmost importance as it is likely to be your biggest recurring expenditure. The mortgage estimator tool can assist you in computing your mortgage payment while shopping for a home purchase loan or refinancing.

You can feed different details into the calculator and try out all permutations and combinations.

The mortgage calculator can help you:

  • Know how much house you can afford.
  • How much money you can expect to repay every month, including taxes and insurance premium.
  • Decide if you're putting enough money down or need to adjust the length of your loan.
  • Know how you can shorten your loan term by paying extra money toward your loan's principal.
  • Understand if paying off the mortgage early is a good idea for you or not.
  • Make a wise decision regarding the life of the loan - whether you should choose between a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage or a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Keep in mind that monthly payments are higher on 15-year mortgages than on 30-year mortgages.
  • Decide if an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a good option for you.

To determine the appropriate amount of income that should be allocated towards housing costs, you can follow the 28/36 percent rule of thumb. This rule suggests that you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross income on housing costs such as mortgage payments or rent, and no more than 36 percent on total debt - including credit cards, student loans, medical bills, and other debts.

While some loan types allow a debt-to-income ratio of up to 50 percent, it is not advisable to spend such a large percentage of your income on debt. You should also consider other living expenses, retirement savings, and emergency funds when determining your housing affordability. It is important to make financially responsible decisions, even if a lender is willing to provide a loan that is beyond your means.

If the loan calculator or home improvement loan calculator shows you monthly payments you're not comfortable with, you can always try to play with the variables to bring down the repayments. You can:

  • Choose a longer loan term.
  • Borrow less amount so that you have smaller monthly mortgage payments.
  • Make a down payment of more than 20 percent to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and reduce the loan size. Homeowners confess that paying PMI is something they would love to avoid at all costs.
  • Compare interest rates from several lenders to get the best rates available.

Once you estimate your monthly mortgage payment, the next step is to:

  • Get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. This includes the lender vetting your employment history, income, credit score, and finances.
  • Apply for a mortgage. Depending on your financial situation, you can choose between different loan types - a 30-year loan, 20-year loan, 15-year loan, 10-year loan, FHA loan, VA loan, ARM loan, or a Jumbo Loan.


Home improvement financing helps you pay for your remodeling projects or expensive home repairs. With the required loan funds, you can even pay your remodeling contractor or buy supplies to complete the project.

And, you get to pay the loan off over an agreed-upon loan term, with the best interest rates. That's why, a home improvement loan is a boon if you don't have sufficient cash to pay upfront for any major home improvement expenses.

Keep in mind that making any upgrades to your home is usually a wise investment as it adds to its resale value significantly, apart from enhancing its comfort, style, and looks.

And that's when a home improvement loan comes in handy - giving you financial assistance if you're unable to afford big property projects on your own. You can take the help of a good home renovation loan calculator such as Kukun's free online tool to analyze your exact financial situation.

And, most renovations are pricey. For example, the average kitchen remodel cost across the United States is more than $23,000. The average bathroom remodel costs around $21,000. And, a 16 x 20-foot wooden deck could cost you more than $14,000.

Your access to the best loans out there depends on your home's value to a large extent. The more home equity you have, the better are your chances to get favorable loans and interest rates. You can utilize a home equity loan calculator to find out what your house is worth.

When you're looking for home improvement financing, the first step is to look for the best loan options by comparing the interest rates, fees, loan terms, and other factors.

A home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or a personal loan are some of the possibilities. A reliable HELOC calculator aka a HELOC payment calculator will come in handy to make your decision easier.

Apart from these common types of home improvement loans, there are other options such as a cash-out refinance, government-backed loans, and funding through credit unions and online loan lenders.

For minor projects such as wall painting, using a credit card might work but for larger projects, you may want to consider the above loan home improvement financing options.

The bottom line is that the type of loan you choose depends on your financial situation, the estimated home value, and the scale of your home improvement project.

Fortunately today, homeowners looking to cover their home improvement costs have a lot of choices. We'll help you identify some of the best financing choices that will save you the most money.

SoFi home improvement loan

Social Finance, SoFi for short, offers personal loans up to $100,000 to those with a good to excellent credit score. This lender also offers easy, no-fee student loans, student loan refinancing, home loans, and even small business financing. The best part is, there are no late fees, and co-borrowers are accepted too.

  • Minimum FICO credit score requirement: 680
  • Loan amount range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

LightStream home improvement loan

The national online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, LightStream offers a variety of loans and personal loans up to $100,000 at very good interest rates. You can use the funds for nearly any reason. If you're looking for home improvement financing up to $50,000, this online lender is a good option.

  • Minimum FICO credit score requirement: 660
  • Loan amount range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Upgrade home improvement loan

Upgrade is another reliable online lender that offers personal loans and lines of credit across the United States. You can qualify for financing up to $50,000 and complete the entire loan process online.

  • Minimum FICO credit score requirement: Not disclosed
  • Loan amount range: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Prosper home improvement loan

Prosper is a trustworthy peer-to-peer lending marketplace that offers fixed-rate and fixed-term loans. It lends to borrowers with fair to excellent credit scores.

The best part is that you can choose a repayment period of three or five years without worrying about the prepayment penalties because there are none. That's to say that it does not charge any fees for paying off your loan early. What's more, Prosper offers loan pre-approval with a soft credit check. Plus, joint personal loans are also available.

  • Minimum FICO credit score requirement: 640
  • Loan amount range: Smaller loans
  • Repayment terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

If you have a good credit score, getting a home improvement loan is not such a grueling task. Moreover, an excellent credit score means that you could benefit from lower interest rates and better offers. And, you get to choose how long you want to take to pay back the loan.

Here are a few steps that you can follow to start the loan process:

  • Check your eligibility for the loan you're looking at. Most home improvement lenders require a minimum credit score to approve your loan. The general benchmark is around 620 and above.

  • Review your credit report to check for any errors. Reach out to your credit bureau if you find any.

  • Work on improving your credit score by paying down your debt, before applying for a home improvement loan.

  • Determine the loan amount you need. Factor in some extra money for any errors or sudden expenses in your remodeling budget.

  • Get a good idea of the loan payment amount you may have access to through a reliable mortgage payment calculator.

  • Choose your preferred loan term. A home improvement loan can be up to a period of 30 years depending on the amount and project. However, keep in mind that a long-term loan could make sense only if you're financing a large-scale renovation such as a room addition or a roof replacement. You shouldn't take a 30-year loan for minor home renovations such as flooring or kitchen cabinet replacement.

    Having said that, the results from your home improvement loans calculator will give you a better idea of the suitable loan term and rates for your situation.

  • Get prequalified with loan lenders to compare their loan rates and terms. Make sure the lenders only do a soft credit check, not a hard inquiry. It can pull down your credit rating.

  • Finalize the best loan option and get the money. With a personal loan, you can get the funds as quickly as the next business day after accepting the loan terms. A cash-out refinance, on the other hand, can take up to 45 days.

The best way to renovate a house without spending much money is to become resourceful and only buy materials that add more value than their cost.

Keeping the renovation costs low is as crucial for a homeowner as it's for a real estate investor who's flipping homes. The last thing a flipper would want is to go over budget and erode their bottom line.

  • Make changes that will add value to your home
  • Go for DIY projects instead of hiring labor
  • Or, trade and barter for labor
  • Borrow or rent equipment and tools
  • Shop around for the best bargains and deals
  • Buy only what you need, not what you want
  • Opt for second-hand goods

A home improvement loan with bad credit is always more challenging than when you have a flawless score. Most lenders have a minimum credit score requirement - usually 620 and more. However, government-backed loans such as the 203(k) loans or VA loans have a minimum score requirement of just 500. So, you still stand a chance with bad credit. Also, there are some bad credit home improvement loans and personal loans available on the market. You have to do some solid research and apply for them.

Keep in mind that your loan application may come through more quickly if you have good equity in your home.

A cash-out refinance is a type of mortgage refinancing that enables you to cash out your home equity. That is to say, in a cash-out refinance, your current mortgage is replaced by a new one, usually with better terms and conditions.

The new mortgage exceeds the previous mortgage balance, and the excess is paid to you in cash. And hence the name cash-out refinance.

The advantage of a cash-out refinance is that you might be able to decrease your monthly mortgage payments, lower your interest rate, renegotiate the periodic loan conditions, add or remove borrowers from the loan obligation, and access cash from the equity in your house.

Simply put, you can pay off your current primary mortgage with a cash-out refinance and pocket the difference.

When you want to replace your existing home loan with a new one because it's getting you better rates and terms, it's called mortgage refinancing. A majority of borrowers seek to refinance in order to get a more favorable interest rate, reduce the monthly payments, or shorten the mortgage term. The procedure to apply for refinancing is the same as applying for any other loan.

It entails a detailed examination of your credit score, income, work history, and financial situation. Moreover, a home appraisal is ordered by the lender to determine the current market value of your house as well as the amount of equity you have in it.

A homeowners' decisions to refinance a mortgage vary depending on situations that make financial sense to them. Some of these reasons include:

  • 1. Aiming for a lower interest rate after improving credit score or lowering debt-to-income ratio.
  • 2. Reducing monthly payments.
  • 3. Changing their adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a variable rate to a more stable fixed-rate loan. This step makes the mortgage payments more predictable and usually more affordable.
  • 4. Utilizing home equity through a cash-out refinance where you get to pocket the difference in cash by replacing your existing mortgage with a new one.
  • 5. Getting a borrower's name off the home mortgage. For example, removing a spouse's name in the case of a divorce.
  • 6. Eliminating FHA mortgage insurance. If you, as a borrower of an FHA loan (insured by the Federal Housing Administration) attain 20% equity in your home, refinancing into a conventional mortgage will help you get rid of annual mortgage premium payments.

During refinancing, your previous loan is paid off using the borrowed funds for your new loan. You can also seek a cash-out refinance, which allows you to borrow money against your home's equity and take out a percentage of the difference between what you owe and what it's worth now.

However, keep in mind that most loan lenders have a cap on cash-out refinancing - usually about 80 percent of your home's total value.

You can utilize the money you get against your home equity to pay off any high-interest debt or renovate your home to add to its value.

Refinancing may provide you with a long-term profit but it does come with its upfront fees. These fees are usually the same as the ones you paid at the time of getting your original loan. Some of them include:

  • Mortgage application fee
  • Loan origination fees
  • Appraisal fee
  • Title search fees
  • Escrow costs for property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance

And of course the fees for document recording and credit checks. The final closing costs will depend on the loan type, the new loan amount, the interest rate, your debt-to-income ratio, the current tax rate, and your credit score. Make sure to look for a reliable lender who offers you a competitive interest rate and the lowest fees.

Key takeaway

If you're planning to apply for a mortgage or a mortgage refinance, you'd want to compare your current loan terms and rates. Kukun's mortgage calculator is a handy tool that will let you estimate your home mortgage - calculating your monthly payments too. It will make funding your homeownership easy and reliable.

Lending experience

Best home renovation loans for 2023

You have a home renovation project on your mind. You've searched for inspiration, created a plan, estimated the cost, and found out the equity you have through a home equity loan calculator.

Now you are ready to set your project budget and check your financing options through a good home improvement loan calculator or a renovation loan calculator.

Read more

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