If you’re planning a major home renovation, the first step is to calculate the total cost of your project. And then, the next step is to explore the best financing options. The most reliable way to go about it is to use a home improvement loan calculator. It will give you a good idea of the monthly payment you can expect based on your budget.
What’s more, you can find out the maximum loan amount you may be eligible to borrow.
If you’re a potential borrower interested in updating your home, either to live in or to sell, you'll be able to see how much your monthly payment will be based on the interest rate and the loan amount you want to borrow.
Kukun's home improvement loan calculator is a simple monthly loan payment calculator to help you determine the potential loan payments for a particular loan amount. And, the best part is, you can enter or change the different parameters and arrive at the corresponding results. All within a few seconds!
This is a smart way to evaluate all the financial options you have so you can gauge what you can truly afford. It’s the most helpful way to budget your home project while determining the potential loan payments.
Once you get a cost estimate or budget for your home improvement project, you need to decide on the best ways to pay for it. A reliable home improvement loan calculator will help you estimate your total interest and monthly payments on any loan amount, loan term, and interest rate you choose.
Here's what your home improvement loan calculator should tell you:
Monthly payment: What you should budget for each month. While a longer term can lower your monthly payments, it will also increase your overall interest.
Total interest: This refers to the total amount of interest you'll have to pay over the loan's duration. Your interest rate is generally determined by factors such as your credit score, income, and debts. The amount depends on the loan term, loan rate, and the purpose of the loan.
The home improvement loan calculator is easy to use. Simply enter the loan amount, the loan type, the payment frequency, the interest rate offered by the lender and your loan term.
You will get a cost estimate within seconds! This figure will tell you how much you can expect to pay each month. Keep in mind that a longer term can lower your monthly payments, but will increase the total interest you'll pay.
Since you can choose different permutations and combinations on the calculator, it's easier to compare different results and know exactly how much you can save with each value.
Simply put, a home improvement loan is a monetary loan that's taken in order to update your property or get major home repairs done. The money is repaid in regular payments over a set period of time.
Here are some terms and values to understand your home improvement loan better:
A credit score refers to a number (ranging from 300 to 850) that indicates how “creditworthy” a person is. The score is determined from an analysis of the person's credit files and credit report. The higher the credit score, the greater the chance of that person will qualify for a loan. They will also get more favorable interest rates and credit limits.
This refers to the amount of money you receive from the lender, minus any origination fee. Borrowers with an excellent credit score and an impeccable credit report are usually able to secure a higher loan amount.
The loan type refers to the kind of home improvement loan that you receive from a bank or financial institution in exchange for future repayment of the principal amount as well as interest.
The types of loan you choose from are an unsecured loan (a personal loan or cash advance loan) or a secured loan (mortgage, home equity or home equity line of credit).
This refers to your loan repayment schedule. Most loan companies give you the option of choosing between monthly, semi-monthly or bi-weekly loan payments.
The interest rate is the percentage of the principal amount charged by the lender for the loan. The longer your repayment term, the more interest you can expect to pay.
This refers to your loan's duration, which is how long it will last if you make the required minimum payments each month. A typical loan term is 10 years but it may be as long as 30 years.
Here are some of the home improvement financing options that homeowners can explore.
In the case of a personal loan, you borrow a fixed amount of money and pay it back in monthly installments with interest. The loan amount is paid over the life of the loan (the loan term). It's usually somewhere between one year and 12 years. That means that your monthly payments may be significantly larger than for other types of home improvement loans.
However, applying for an unsecured personal loan is easier and quicker. If you choose an online lender offering a personal loan, the application-to-approval process could be completed on the same day you apply. Keep in mind that you'll need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the lowest rates in this type of unsecured loan.
A home equity loan is like a second mortgage. The loan is given using your house as collateral. With this type of loan, you receive a lump sum amount at a fixed interest rate to cover your renovation costs.
The entire amount of the loan will be in your bank account once the loan is approved. After that, you'll make repayments over five to 20 years.
Due to the fixed rate, your monthly payments remain more or less the same, even if interest rates rise during the life of the loan (loan term).
A home equity loan works well to finance home improvements if you have at least 20% equity in your house. Since you can use your home as collateral, the interest rates are typically going to be lower than for personal loans. Plus, you can borrow between 80% and 85% of your home's value, minus what's left on your mortgage.
This kind of a loan is best-suited for large-scale home renovations, such as remodeling a kitchen, a bathroom renovation or another major home project.
A home equity line of credit is almost like using a credit card. Instead of borrowing a huge amount of money at once, you can tap into your home's equity when you need it.
The average draw period - the amount of time you can withdraw funds - for a HELOC is up to 10 years, with repayment period going up to 20 years. After the loan has been repaid, the homeowner can renew the line of credit if needed.
A HELOC is your best loan option if you're either unsure about your total home improvement project cost or if you plan to pay for it in stages. The loan could be for anything, from adding a new kitchen island to building a sunroom or other addition.
You can get a line of credit worth up to 85% of your home's value, minus what's owed on any mortgages. Keep in mind that HELOCs come with variable interest rates, meaning they fluctuate to match current market rates.
This type of loan is a refinancing option that allows you to convert the equity in your home into cash. It replaces your existing mortgage, and you may be able to get better terms. The new home loan will be for a larger amount than the existing one, and then you get the difference between them paid out to you.
0% APR (annual percentage rate) credit cards, which waive interest charges for an introductory period of about 12 to 18 months, are another option to finance your home improvements, especially smaller home upgrades. However, you should only use this option if you're confident that you can pay off the card's balance in full before the introductory offer expires.
If you qualify and fit the specific requirements of a government-backed loan such as the FHA loan by the Federal Housing Administration or a VA loan by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you could save on the interest and insurance.
And, there are other benefits too. For example, the HUD property improvement loan by the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development lets you borrow up to $25,000 without having any home equity. It’s a good home repair loan option if you need to make upgrades to a recently bought house. The only condition is that the money must go toward renovations that improve the livability of the home and its value.
The advantage of government loans is that they generally have better terms and conditions than most private loans.
But, the drawback is that there are stringent rules for loan eligibility that not everyone may qualify for.
The maximum amount you can borrow to update your home is about 90% of the market value of the property.
Most home improvement loans are between $1,000 and $100,000. And the interest rates range from just under 6% to around 36% (the higher end is for those with a bad credit score). The loan terms for repayment usually range from 10 to 30 years.
The safest and cheapest financial option to pay for your home renovation is to save that amount of money in a savings account. Of course, it would mean waiting longer to begin your project. After all, not many people will have a large amount stacked away. This wait can become especially problematic for larger home projects or for emergency repairs.
However, paying by cash also means that you won’t have to worry about the high loan rates, repaying the loan, or paying large credit card bills. If you’re someone not in a hurry to update their home, this option may be best for you.
When looking for the best home improvement loan, you need to search for the one with the lowest interest rate, the shortest repayment term, and the fewest fees possible.
Here are some of the top home improvement loan lenders based on APR, loan amounts, repayment terms, and credit requirements. The data has been sourced from the consumer financial services company Bankrate.
|Loan Lender||Best for||APR||Loan Amount Available||Minimum Credit Score|
|LightStream||Long-term financing||3.99%–16.99% (with autopay)||$5,000–$100,000||Not specified|
|SoFi||Unemployment protection||5.99%–18.85% (with autopay)||$5,000–$100,000||680|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||Minor home improvement||6.99%–19.99% (with autopay)||$3,500–$40,000||Not specified|
|Best Egg||Consumers with limited credit history||5.99%–29.99%||$2,000–$35,000||600|
|Upstart||Consumers with below-average credit||6.76%–35.99%||$1,000–$50,000||600|
|TD Bank||Convenience||6.99%–21.99%||$2,000–$50,000||Not specified|
|LendingClub||Emergency home repairs||8.05%–35.89%||$1,000–$40,000||660|
Taking a loan to cover home renovations can be a smart move because the improvements you make could add to your home’s value – helping you get a higher sale price if you decide to sell your home in the future. Also, interest rates on a house renovation loan are much lower than that of an unsecured personal loan or a credit card. Additionally, you may get a tax benefit on interest paid on a house renovation loan that helps to increase the value of your house.
However keep in mind that although you can use the funds to carry out repairs or renovation to your home’s structure, this loan type cannot be used to buy or repair moveable household items such as furniture or furnishings.
Applying for a renovation loan makes good sense when you’re planning to buy a fixer upper or are making value-enhancing upgrades to your existing home.
The benefits of a renovation loan include:
It allows you to borrow money based on the expected value of your upgraded home.
You can use the loan amount to restore an old home.
Since you’re applying for both a mortgage for the house and renovation, your interest rate will usually be lower – with a longer period of time to repay the loan.
If you’re making improvements that will add value to your home, you can expect the interest to be tax deductible.
A renovation loan does involve a certain amount of risk for the borrower. Only if your home's value increases with the renovations, will you be able to justify the cost of the purchase and renovation. A few downsides to a renovation loan include:
There are not many loan lenders or banks who’re willing to offer special "renovation loan" programs.
You'll have to prove to the bank or your mortgage lender that your renovated home will have a higher value.
Qualifying for a loan takes longer than a traditional mortgage.
Learn more about the right loan and proper rates for you. Pros and Cons of Home Improvement Loans