Remodeling your home can be an expensive endeavor so before you even start, it’s always smart to give considerable thought to how you plan to pay for everything. The following options are some of the more common ways that people finance remodels.
Paying for a remodel with money you’ve been able to save up is the safest way to finance a remodel. When you pay in cash there’s no interest to pay out. Since the amount your savings can earn you in interest is far less than the amount you’d have to pay out in interest by financing, it doesn’t make much financial sense to borrow money in order to keep your savings. The one caveat is that you don’t want to completely empty your savings to finance a remodel either since you never know when a financial setback will occur and it’s a good idea to have a cushion.
Of course, paying for a remodel with cash isn’t always feasible. The average American household doesn’t have tens of thousands sitting in the bank.
This is an obviously riskier way to finance a remodel since interest rates on credit cards tend to be higher than just about any other form of financing. If you’re going to go this route, you want to be absolutely sure that you can pay off the credit cards in a relatively short period of time. Some homeowners who have enough cash to pay out-of-pocket choose to use their credit cards for the perks and then pay them off immediately. When using credit cards, it helps to have a good credit score and try to use the cards with the lowest rates even if there are cards with better perks with a higher interest rate.
Second mortgage or HELOC
Some homeowners choose to borrow against the equity they have in their home to finance a remodel. Since this is a secured loan (the home equity is the collateral) the interest rates are usually 2-3 times lower than the rates on credit cards. This is a cheaper way to borrow long term but in some ways, it’s even more risky. If you default on these loans, you risk losing your home to the bank. Though a second mortgage and a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are similar, there are some important differences so make sure to consider both options and choose the one that’s best for your cirumstances.
A personal loan may be a good option if you have an excellent credit card. Personal loans are unsecured so there’s no need for collateral but they’re difficult to get with a lower credit score and if you are approved, your interest rate will be quite high. With an excellent score, the interest rates are usually a little better than the interest rates on credit cards.
All forms of borrowing money carry inherent risks. If you don’t have the cash for a major remodel and you’re nervous about borrowing, there’s no need to despair; there are plenty of small-scale home improvement projects that you can do as you work on building up your savings. You can repaint your home’s interior or install baseboard heater covers.