Home renovations can improve your lifestyle and add to the value of your property. Unfortunately, home improvements can be expensive. If don’t have enough savings to finance your home renovations, you can consider taking out a home improvement loan to cover the costs. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the financing options available, as well as the benefits and drawbacks so you can find the right loan for you.
You have a variety of financing options to cover home improvement costs, including:
Home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is typically your least-expensive option, since it uses your home as collateral. You can withdraw from your credit line whenever you need to without taking more than you need. How much you’re able to borrow depends on the equity you own in your home — among other factors.
Home equity loan. A home equity loan also uses your home as collateral but it differs from a HELOC in that you get the full amount of the loan upfront and pay it back in installments over the set term period.
Personal loan. If you’d prefer to avoid tapping into your home’s equity, you might want to consider a personal loan. They typically have much lower rates than credit cards and you might be able to borrow up to $50,000 depending on your eligibility. You’ll have to pay back the loan in monthly payments over the term set by your lender.
Credit card. While you likely won’t want to use a credit card to finance your entire home improvement project, it can help pay for furniture and other small purchases like paint. Credit cards tend to come with higher APRs than the other options on this list. However, some cards come with low interest rates that can sometimes match those offered by pricier personal loans.
Example: Jan finishes his basement
Jan has been setting aside money for years in order to finish his basement. He has $10,000.00 but has realized he will need at least another $9,000.00 to pay for contractors and supplies. The physical materials will cost him approximately $14,000.00, while labour will cost around $5,000.00. With an excellent credit score of 810, Jan heads to his bank and is approved for a loan for $10,000.00 – borrowing an extra $1,000.00 will ensure he can cover any unexpected expenses.
Cost of supplies/labour
Origination fee of 3.00% ($300.00)
Total loan cost
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
What to consider with home improvement loans
If you’re interested in getting a loan for home improvements, make sure you consider the following factors:
Security. You need to have enough equity in your home to get a secured loan. Alternatively, you may be able to use a vehicle as security for the loan, such as your car, boat, RV or motorbike, providing the value of the vehicle is sufficient. You will usually need to own the vehicle outright. You can also apply for an unsecured loan, but you may be charged a higher annual percentage rate of interest (APR).
Interest rate. This is the amount of interest you’ll pay on the money you’ve borrowed for your home improvements. Secured loans tend to come with lower interest rates than unsecured loans because it’s less of a risk for the lender since you’ve put up collateral.
Loan term. A longer loan term will give you lower ongoing repayments, but at the end of the loan term, you will have paid more in interest, making the loan more costly. In contrast, higher repayments and a shorter loan term help keep the overall cost of the loan down.
Processing time. Some lenders can disburse your funds on the same day you apply or usually by the next business day. Other lenders may take seven to ten days to approve your application and disburse your loan funds.
Compare home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
Compare home equity loans
Compare personal loans
How much do home improvements cost?
By the time you factor in materials and labour, home improvements are pricey. Here’s a breakdown of some of the average costs of common home improvements.
What it involves
Adding square footage
Removing walls to expand the interior of a home or apartment.
Putting down a floor, building walls, installing electric and plumbing lines.
Hiring a plumber to replace old pipes or install new plumbing systems.
$30–$50/hour + materials
Hiring an electrician to redo part of your wiring.
$28–$50/hour + materials
Getting permission to start construction.
Buying and installing solar panels
Pros and cons of home improvement loans
Carry out time-sensitive repairs. A home improvement loan lets you carry out repairs as soon as possible. Postponing repair work until you’ve saved the money can result in more damage, which can also lead to more expensive repairs.
Various loan options. No matter what type of home improvement you’re looking at doing, you have a range of loan options to choose from. These include home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, unsecured or secured personal loans and personal lines of credit.
Taking on too much debt. If you apply for a loan you can’t afford to pay off, you run the risk of taking on debt you can’t manage and negatively affecting your credit score if you make late repayments. Make sure you budget for your repayments before you apply for a loan.
Finance doesn’t account for renovation budgets or schedule changes. If anything happens that affects the budget or schedule of your renovations, it could impact your ability to make your loan repayments on time. Make sure you have some space in your budget so that you can still make repayments if anything unexpected happens and you need extra funds.
What to avoid with a home improvement loan
You should avoid the following when taking out a loan for home improvements:
Unplanned or poorly considered renovation projects should be avoided at all costs. This is especially true if you’re planning to finance it with a loan. Home improvements often involve long and expensive processes, and you need to be financially prepared to cover it.
If you think you’ll make late payments on your loan, look for another financing solution. Making late repayments can result in the lender reporting you to the credit bureau, which means your credit score will take a negative hit. Furthermore, your loan will end up costing you a lot more in fees.
If you think you may have problems repaying the loan entirely, don’t take one out in the first place. Look for alternate forms of financing, like borrowing money from friends or family.
FlexMoney Personal Loan
FlexMoney Personal Loan
Same day funding
Quick online application
Pay off loan anytime
FlexMoney Personal Loan
Apply online in less than 10 minutes. If approved, receive funds in as little as 24 hours. Pay off your loan at any time.
APR: 18.90% - 46.93%
Loan amount: $500 - $15,000
Loan term: 6 - 60 months
Fees: No application, origination or prepayment fees
You can usually apply for a loan online, however some lenders may also offer phone or in person applications if they have a physical branch location. Before you apply for a loan, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. If you have the necessary documents on hand, you can usually apply for a loan in around ten minutes or less.
Requirements may vary between lenders, however the criteria usually include:
Be 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory
Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
Have a working bank account
Have proof of an income
Meet any credit score requirements
When applying for a loan, you’ll typically need to have the following documents on hand:
Personal information. This includes your full name, address, date of birth, email, phone number and Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Income details. You will have to provide proof of your income from pay stubs or bank statements.
Employment details. You may need to provide the name of your employer and their contact information.
Banking details. This includes your bank’s name, address, transit number and your personal bank account number.
Frequently asked questions
With a home improvement loan, you receive all of the funds as a lump sum payment, usually directly into your bank account. You then have to pay interest towards the entire amount borrowed. Your repayment terms will be set out in your loan contract, which may involve making weekly, bi-weekly or monthly repayments.
A line of credit gives you access to a pre-determined credit limit. You’re then able to draw on the funds up to that limit when you pay for your renovations. You only pay interest on the funds you actually use, and if you make repayments on your credit limit, you can then use those funds again.
Home improvement loans are available for people with bad credit scores, however you will likely pay a higher interest rate than someone who has good or excellent credit. You might have a better chance of being approved if you apply for a secured loan, which means you will need to offer up collateral, such as your car or home equity, in order to secure a lower interest rate and be seen as a less risky borrower.
A home improvement loan can be used for either your investment property or your primary place of residence. Some loan providers won’t ask what you’re using the funds for, as long as you use them for a legitimate purpose. Others may have you specify what you will use the loan for.
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
Compare loan options for solar panels and reduce your carbon footprint while saving money.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.