Home improvement loan rates
What credit score do I need to qualify Current home improvement loan rates are between 4.99% and 35.99%. Lenders decide your rate on a home improvement loan primarily by using your credit score, credit history and debt-to-income ratio.
Here’s what personal loan rates look like, on average:
|How’s your credit?||Score range||Estimated APR|
Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from March 1, 2022, to Aug. 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below a 500 credit score — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.
How to get a home improvement loan
To get a home improvement loan, first compare lender offers with other options, check your rate and monthly payments, prepare documents and apply.
Let’s break down those steps:
- Compare options. Compare the best home improvement lenders against each other and with other financing options, like credit cards and home equity financing. You’re looking for the one that costs the least in total interest, has affordable monthly payments and fits your timeline.
- Check your rate and monthly payments. Try to set your project’s estimated cost before this step. Many online lenders and some banks let borrowers pre-qualify to see potential personal loan offers before applying — but you’ll be asked how much you want to borrow. The process involves a soft credit pull.
- Prepare documents. Once you’ve chosen a lender, gather the documents you’ll need to apply. This can include things like W-2s, pay stubs, proof of address and financial information.
- Apply. You may have to apply in person at smaller banks and credit unions, but larger ones and online lenders usually offer online applications. Many lenders can give you a decision within a day or two of applying. After that, expect to see the funds in your bank account in less than a week. What credit score do I need to qualify What credit score do I need to qualify
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How to use a home improvement loan
Unsecured loans can cover almost any purchase. How much you’ll need will vary based on your location, home size and how extensive your plans are. What credit score do I need to qualify What credit score do I need to qualify
Here are some common projects and how much you could pay for each, based on the most recent cost estimates available.
|Project type||Estimated cost|
|Solar panel installation||$20,000.|
|Swimming pool addition||$14,940.|
|Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Housing Survey, Remodeling Magazine 2022 Cost vs Value Report, Center for Sustainable Energy.|
Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Housing Survey, Remodeling Magazine 2022 Cost vs Value Report, Center for Sustainable Energy.
Other types of home improvement financing
Some government programs can help pay for a home renovation. The Federal Housing Administration has two programs: Title I loans and Energy Efficient Mortgages. You can search for a “Title I Property Improvement” lender in your state on the HUD website.
When it’s best: Consider applying if your project and finances meet the criteria outlined by these programs. They can help make upgrades more affordable.
You can refinance your existing mortgage into a higher loan amount and use the difference to pay for your renovation.
When it’s best: Consider this option if current mortgage rates are lower than the one you’re paying now.
You can strategically use a credit card to cover the cost of your upgrades. Rewards cards can get you paid as you upgrade, while a card with a 0% introductory APR can cover short-term home renovations.
When it’s best: Use a credit card for projects small enough that you won’t max it out. You should typically aim to pay your full balance every month. You’ll need good or excellent credit (690 credit score or higher) to qualify for a zero-interest or rewards card. What credit score do I need to qualify What credit score do I need to qualify
What credit score do I need to qualify
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.
This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines. What credit score do I need to qualify
To recap our selections…
NerdWallet’s Best Home Improvement Loans of November 2022
- SoFi: Best for Joint loans with low rates
- LightStream: Best for Low rates and long repayment terms
- Upgrade: Best for Credit-building tools
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Low rates and midsize loans
- Discover® Personal Loans: Best for Excellent-credit borrowers
- Wells Fargo Personal Loan: Best for Existing bank customers
- Rocket Loans: Best for Fast approval
- Best Egg: Best for Secured loans
- Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan: Best for Credit union members