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Your home is probably one of your largest investments, so keeping it in tip-top shape is important. Whether you need to remodel, make major repairs, additions, or would just like to update the look of your home, financing home improvement projects doesn’t have to be difficult.

Getting a home improvement loan is the best way to finance these projects. And although there are a few different ways you can get a home improvement loan, one of the easiest is to take out a personal loan.

How to get a home improvement loan

If you’re looking to get a home improvement loan for any reason, here are a few basic steps you should follow.

1. Figure out exactly what you need the loan for

First, you need to figure out what you need the loan for. Then you’ll know about how much money you’ll need to finance. Home improvement loans can be used for many things, including, but not limited to:

  • Minor home repairs
  • Renovations
  • New hardware and/or appliances
  • Remodeling

Now, be specific. If you choose to add new hardware or appliances in the kitchen, for example, map out exactly what you’re planning on buying and installing. This way, you’ll be better prepared to estimate your costs.

2. Estimate how much you’ll need

Which brings us to the next step: Now that you know what you need the loan for, the best loan for you depends on the amount you need to borrow. Estimate the costs of the project, or have several contractors give you a bid so you have a good idea of how much your improvement will cost.

If you’re doing the project yourself, consider adding a 20% to 40% cushion; since you’re not a professional, you might underestimate and end up needing more materials than you originally thought. If you’re working with a contractor, though, it’s a good idea to add 10% for any unplanned expenses.

Here’s what you should consider for different levels of home improvement:

  • For relatively small repairs or renovations: $5,000 or less
  • For more significant repairs or renovations: $5,000 to $10,000
  • If you have major home renovation needs: $10,000 or more

3. Know what you need to qualify

Generally, it is easier to get a home improvement loan than it is to get a mortgage, but the lender will still look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to ensure you have enough money to meet all your monthly loan payments.

Personal loan lenders will also look at your credit profile, credit score, and a home appraisal if you’re doing an equity loan, so be prepared by looking at your credit report and knowing your credit history, before you seek credit approval from a lender.

4. Compare personal loan rates and choose the best lender

Regardless of what type of loan you need, you need to do your research and compare the rates and fees offered by lenders. Start with your current mortgage lender to see if they offer unsecured personal loans (you might even qualify for a discount with autopay), but don’t feel obligated to stick with them. Other banks or mortgage lenders may offer you a better rate or lower fees. Some offer both variable-rate and fixed-rate loans, too, so you have even more loan options.

If you’re using a contractor for your repairs, they might offer to finance your loan for you. But research the lender independently and ask about past lending history before signing any financing agreements with a contractor. It’s up to you which lender you choose, you don’t have to go with the lender the contractor suggests. Just be sure to compare rates.

The lenders in the table below compete for your business through Credible. You can request rates from all of these partner lenders by filling out just one simple form — without affecting your credit score.

LenderRates from (APR)Loan Amounts 
avant

View details
Fixed: 9.95%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a resident in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number
• Must have physical address (P.O. boxes are only accepted for military residences)
best egg

View details

Fixed: 5.99%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident Alien
• Can't be a resident of IA, VT, or WV
freedomplus

View details
Fixed: 4.99%+$10,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a resident in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number
• Required documentation includes verified income and bank account, a valid ID, and your signature
lendingclub

View details
Fixed: 6.95%+$1,000 up to $40,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien with a valid Social Security number and physical address, currently residing in the U.S.
• Must have valid government issued photo ID
Compare rates from all of these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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lightstream

View details
Fixed: 3.99%+ $5,000 up to $100,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 7 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Borrower must reside in the U.S.
marcus

View details
Fixed: 6.99%+$3,500 up to $40,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 6 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien with a valid Social Security number and physical address, currently residing in the U.S.
• Borrower cannot reside in MD
payoff

View details
Fixed: 5.99%+$5,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation and credit card consolidation only

Eligibility
• Borrower can't reside in DC, DE, IA, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, VA, VT, WA, WI, or WV
prosper

View details
Fixed: 6.95%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan amounts
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. resident with a bank account and Social Security number
• No collateral required (loans through Prosper are unsecured), you qualify for a loan based on your credit history
upstart

View details
Fixed: 7.99%+$1,000 up to $50,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Borrower can't be a resident of CT, CO, IA, MA, MD, VT, or WV
upstart

View details
Fixed: 8.89%+$1,000 up to $50,000Get Rates
Loan amounts
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a verifiable Social Security number
• Must have a bank account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number
• Must have a full time job, full time job offer starting in six months, or another source of regular income

All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream payment example

5. Consider other home improvement loan alternatives

If you can’t qualify for a personal loan, you have a number of other home improvement financing options to consider:

  • FHA Title I Loan: This program is available through a wide range of lenders and is authorized by Title I of the National Housing Act. The amounts and interest rates are negotiated case-by-case. These home loans can be used for upgrades that make a home more livable including built-in appliances, improved access for the disabled and energy conservation improvements, but not for luxury upgrades like swimming pools. Find a Title I Loan ender in your state.
  • Energy Efficient Mortgage: You can use this loan to finance part of your home improvements if they are for energy efficiency. For example, if you’re installing solar panels on your roof, you could consider this an option.
  • Home equity loan: With home equity loans, unlike traditional mortgages, borrowers get the entire loan amount up front and must repay it over the loan term. A 15-year term with monthly payments is typical, but with some lenders you can go as short as five years and as long as 30 years. With home equity loans, interest rates are usually fixed, but rates can be higher than with conventional mortgages.
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC): Similar to a home equity loan, a HELOC is taken out in one lump sum and has a fixed rate. But the difference is you only draw from it as needed, so you only pay interest on what you use.
  • Cash-out refinancing: If you went this route, you would refinance your current mortgage into a higher amount and then use the difference for your home improvements or repairs.
  • 0% APR credit card: This isn’t recommended unless the amount you need isn’t too large and you’re able to pay it off soon. But if that’s the case, you should consider opening a 0% APR credit card. If you have good credit or excellent credit and you qualify, these types of promotional offers will usually give you 12 to 18 months of zero interest. Just be prepared to pay interest once that promotional period is over.

Compare Personal Loan Rates Now