Best Home Improvement Loans of September 2021

Racheal Vazquez

Best For Good to Excellent Credit

SoFi Personal Loans

sofi logo

5.99% - 20.69%

Est. APR

680

Min. Credit Score

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan Amount

Overview

SoFi offers online personal loans that are ideal for people who want to borrow a lot of money at a low cost. You can use the loan for personal, family or household needs. Borrowers can't use the loan for real estate, business purposes, investments, purchase of securities, postsecondary education, or short-term bridge financing.

The APR ranges from 5.99% to 20.69% and requires an excellent credit for the lowest APR. Also, the repayment terms range from 2 to 7 years. SoFi evaluates applicants based on their financial history, credit score, monthly income, and expenses.

SoFi reports the payment to three credit bureaus, making it an excellent choice if you want to build your credit. This loan has low fees and offers a rate discount for auto payments, making it reasonably affordable.

SoFi provides unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you will receive up to 12 months of forbearance as long as you work with the SoFi team to find alternative employment. Other perks include free career coaching, free will-drafting services, referral bonuses, and others.

What we like

  • No prepayment fees, no origination fees, no late fees
  • High loan limits
  • Offers co-sign and joint loan options
  • Offers unemployment protection
  • Free career coaching and financing advice

What we don't

  • No borrowing below $5,000
  • No refinancing option
  • No secured loan option

Account Fees & Information

  • Min. Loan Amount$5,000
  • Max. Loan Amount$100,000
  • Loan Term2 - 7 years
  • APR5.99% - 20.69%
  • Interest Rate TypeFixed or Variable
  • Origination Fee$0
  • Late Fee$0
  • Prepayment Fee$0
  • Funds ReleasedWithin a few days
  • Loan SecurityUnsecured
  • Interest AccruedYes
  • Hardship ProgramAvailable
  • Autopay Discount0.25%

Eligibility Criteria

  • Min. Credit Score680
  • Min. Annual IncomeN/A
  • Min. Credit HistoryN/A
  • Min. Monthly Cash FlowN/A
  • Max. Debt-to-IncomeN/A
  • CosignerAvailable
  • Loan UsagePersonal, Family, Household
  • State RestrictionsN/A in MS

Best For Fair Credit

Upgrade Personal Loan

upgrade logo

6.98% - 35.89%

Est. APR

620

Min. Credit Score

$1,000 - $50,000

Loan Amount

Overview

Upgrade offers unsecured fixed rate personal loans of up to $50,000 in 44 states. APY ranges from 6.98% to 35.89% and is based on your credit score and history, loan terms, and other factors. Loans are available in two repayment terms only, 3 or 5 years. It has an easy online application process.

Personal loan features include minimal fees and multiple usages, including refinancing credit cards, debt consolidation, home improvement, and major purchases. However, you can’t use it for post-secondary education expenses, investment gambling, or illegal activities.

Upgrade charges 2.9% - 8% as origination fees deducted from the loan proceeds. There is also a late fee of up to $10 and a fee of $10 if your payment fails. Although there doesn’t appear to be a minimum income requirement, the organization uses your credit report and income statements to determine how much you can afford to borrow.

It offers discounts rates for auto payment and has no prepayment fees. It also allows co-signed, secured, and joint loans and provides a mobile app to manage the loan. There are customizable loan features and discount opportunities, making it an ideal option for borrowers with fair and bad credit but with strong monthly cash flow.

What we like

  • Flexible loan amount between $1,000 - $50,000
  • Faster funding compared to banks
  • Min. credit score of 620
  • Allows secured, co-signed, and joint loans

What we don't

  • Origination fees
  • Only two loan terms, 3 or 5 years

Account Fees & Information

  • Min. Loan Amount$1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount$50,000
  • Loan Term3 or 5 years
  • APR6.98% - 35.89%
  • Interest Rate TypeFixed or Variable
  • Origination Fee2.9% - 8%
  • Late Fee$10
  • Prepayment Fee$0
  • Funds Released1 - 4 business days
  • Loan SecurityUnsecured or Secured
  • Interest AccruedYes
  • Hardship ProgramAvailable
  • Autopay Discount0.50%

Eligibility Criteria

  • Min. Credit Score620
  • Min. Annual IncomeN/A
  • Min. Credit History3 years
  • Min. Monthly Cash Flow$800
  • Max. Debt-to-Income55% - 65%
  • CosignerAvailable
  • Loan UsageMultiple
  • State RestrictionsN/A in CO, CT, IA, MD, VT, WV

Best For No to Bad Credit

OppLoans

opploans logo

59% - 199%

Est. APR

None

Min. Credit Score

$500 - $4,000

Loan Amount

Overview

OppLoan provides personal loans through an easy online application process. It offers no credit check loans and gives people with bad credit a much cheaper alternative to payday loans. OppLoans are not secured by collateral and have an APR from 59% to 199% depending on your specific area of residence. It doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement.

Other features include same day funding as long as it approves your application before 7 pm EST from Monday to Friday. The OppLoans TurnUp Program helps you find more affordable loan options regardless of the lender.

OppLoans allows you to use your loan for various purposes, including medical bills, debt consolidation, home improvement projects, among others. On the downside, it is only available in 37 states.

To apply for this loan, you must have a minimum monthly income, provide proof of employment or benefits like Social security, have a bank account, and the option for direct deposit.

*The rates and terms for the products offered through OppLoans are specific to your state of residence.

What we like

  • Low minimum loan amounts of $500
  • No credit check
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Builds credit score

What we don't

  • High APR for long term borrowing
  • Direct deposit required
  • Not available in all states

Account Fees & Information

  • Min. Loan Amount$500
  • Max. Loan Amount$4,000
  • Loan Term9 to 36 months
  • APR59% - 199%
  • Interest Rate TypeFixed
  • Origination Fee$0
  • Late Fee$0
  • Prepayment Fee$0
  • Funds Released1 - 2 business days
  • Loan SecurityUnsecured
  • Interest AccruedYes
  • Hardship ProgramAvailable
  • Autopay DiscountAvailable

Eligibility Criteria

  • Min. Credit ScoreNone
  • Min. Annual Income$18,000
  • Min. Credit HistoryN/A
  • Min. Monthly Cash FlowN/A
  • Max. Debt-to-IncomeN/A
  • CosignerN/A
  • Loan UsageMultiple
  • State RestrictionsN/A in AR, CO, CT, IA, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, VT, WV

What is a home improvement loan?

A home improvement loan is used to cover the cost of upgrading, renovating, or repairing your home. This is an unsecured personal loan, which means that your home isn’t used as collateral.

Home improvement loans are available from most lenders, with amounts typically ranging up to $100,000. With a home improvement loan, the lump sum amount is paid to you at one time. The loan amount is then paid in monthly installments based on the loan term, ranging from one to 12 years.

Because these loans are unsecured, there’s no need for collateral. This means that the interest rate you’re approved for is solely based on your income and credit score. Not repaying your home improvement loan will negatively impact your credit.

Advantages and drawbacks

A home improvement loan is a great option if you don’t want to use your home as collateral or if you don’t have enough equity in your home to cover the costs. If you’re planning a big project, this type of loan may be the best option for you.

·  Home improvement loans are beneficial in that:

·  Monthly payments are fixed, which makes it easier to budget

·  Are available for amounts up to $100,000

·  Funding is fast with online applications

While extremely advantageous for homeowners, there are some drawbacks of home improvement loans to be aware of.

These loans may have higher rates when compared to a home equity loan or line of credit. This is because the loan is unsecured.

Home improvement loans also offer no tax benefits. You can’t claim a tax deduction on the interest paid as you can with mortgage interest.

How to compare home improvement loans

If you decide to go forth with a home improvement loan, it’s important to shop around and get pre-qualified. This way you can find a loan that offers the best rate, terms, and features. When comparing home improvement loan, be mindful of:

·  Annual percentage rates

·  Loan amount

·  Loan term

·  Ability to have a co-borrower or co-signer

By comparing home improvement loans from various lenders, you can ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

How to get a home improvement loan

Getting a home improvement loan isn’t as hard as you may think. Here are the steps to take to find and apply for a loan.

1. Compare loan options. As stated above, compare loans from various lenders while also comparing a loan to other financing options. Choose the one that offers the lowest interest rates, fits your payoff timeline, and offers affordable monthly payments.

2. Estimate your loan amount. By this time, you should have a good idea of what your project will cost. Most lenders offer pre-qualification so that you can ensure that you’ll get approved for the amount you need before applying.

3. Gather documents. After choosing a lender, gather documents such as your paystubs, W2s, proof of address, and other financial information. The lender will ask for this information during the application process.

4. Apply. And now comes the fun part! Larger lenders offer online applications. Smaller banks and credit unions may require an in-person application. You can expect to receive a decision within 1-2 days of applying.

Home improvement loan rates

Home improvement loan rates, like other rates, are always changing. However, current rates range anywhere from 5.99% to 35.99%. Remember, your interest rate is based on your credit score, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio.

Here’s what you can expect interest rate wise based on your credit score.

Credit ratingEstimated APR
720-850 (Excellent)11.8%
690-719 (Good)17.4%
630-689 (Fair)23.4%
300-629 (Bad)28.7% (with lowest scores unlikely to qualify)

How to use a home improvement loan

An unsecured home improvement loan can be used for any purpose. The loan amount you need will vary based on your project, location, and the size of your home. Here are some of the most common projects and estimated costs for each.

Project typeEstimated cost
Kitchen remodel$75,571
Bathroom remodel$24,424
Deck addition$16,766
Roof replacement$8,371
Swimming pool$14,940
Solar panels$20,000

Other types of home improvement financing

A home improvement loan is only one financing option. Homeowners have a long list of possibilities to choose from to fund their project. Some of the top options include a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan or line of credit, and an unsecured home improvement loan.

Federal loan programs

There are government programs that can be used to finance your home renovation, including:

·  Title I loan

·  Energy Efficient Mortgage

·  HomeStyle Renovation loan

·  FHA 203k loan

When comparing a conventional renovation loan vs 203k, there are some things to keep in mind. While these loans are similar, there are some key differences to be aware of.

A 203k home renovation loan is backed by the FHA, which makes it easier for homebuyers to get approved. These loans have lower interest rates when compared to an unsecured loan and are best used to purchase a fixer-upper property or to refinance a current home that needs repairs.

With a 203k loan, you must hire 203k renovation loan contractors that have experience in completing renovations under this program.

A great option for non-homeowners is the Homestyle Renovation loan for investors. The HomeStyle Renovation loan maximum is $548,250 or $822,375 in high-cost markets. Any costs above this amount will need to be paid out of pocket or financed using some other method.

Home equity loan and line of credit (HELOC)

A home equity loan offers a fixed rate and is paid to you in a lump sum. Like most loans, the amount is paid monthly over a set period of time. HELOCs have variable rates and allow homeowners to borrow and repay as you go.

Both options have lower APRs when compared to personal loans, with repayment terms up to 20 years. Home equity loans and lines of credit use your home as collateral. If you fail to pay, you could lose your home.

Cash-out refinance

If mortgage rates are lower than what you’re paying now, a cash-out refinance may be a good idea. With this financing option, you refinance your existing mortgage to a higher loan amount. You can then use the difference to pay for home renovations and repairs.

Credit cards

If your home renovation project is in the thousands versus the tens of thousands, strategically using a 0% APR card is a great way to save money. Using a rewards card with a low or no interest rate keeps money in your pocket and allows you to benefit by upgrading your home.