Americans are financing $16.16 billion for home renovations — and not just on plastic
But how are we borrowing? And how much are we paying in interest?
What with so many of today’s reality shows focused on home improvement, it’s easy to wonder how a renovation might upgrade your own living space. But not all of us have the financial means to make the dream of a polished home a reality.
Instead, many Americans are turning to loans and alternative financing to improve their homes through remodels and upgrades. In the past year alone, 5.41 million adults sought outside help to improve their home’s value and appearance, borrowing an average $2,990 through friends and family, credit cards, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending and even personal loans.
Finder.com assessed the popularity of five top financing options to calculate the true cost of borrowing to pay for a home renovation.
How are Americans borrowing for home renovations?
A survey commissioned by finder.com and conducted by global researcher provider Pureprofile discovered that of Americans who say they’ve borrowed for home improvements, 46.3% did so using a credit card.
Paying with plastic was followed by personal loans (25.9%), borrowing from friends and family (16.7%), peer-to-peer lending (7.4%) and short-term loans (3.7%).
Interestingly, while 7.4% of adults say they’ve turned to peer-to-peer lending for home renovations, we’re less inclined to consider P2P to fund other life events. For instance, only 0.8% of those surveyed have sought a peer-to-peer loan to pay for a vacation.
Which financing option is cheapest for a home upgrade or remodel?
We took a closer look at the five financing options arising from our survey — credit cards, personal loans, borrowing from loved ones, P2P lending and short-term loans — to learn which might be more affordable at the end of the day. After all, it’s not just the base amount or principal we end up borrowing when taking on a loan. There’s also the interest that comes with most financing.
For our analysis, we assumed that borrowers repay their loans within a specified average loan term that ultimately depends on the specific financing option. We also incorporated an average interest rate for that financial product.
Through our analysis, we found that those paying for renovations with credit cards paid an additional $297.27 on average in interest, as opposed to other options that carried higher interest rates. We calculated this amount using an average 18.62% interest rate over a repayment period of 13 months.
What’s the takeaway?
With so many ways to pay for upgrading and renovating our homes, what’s best comes down to how much you’re looking to borrow and the loan terms and interest rates you’re ultimately eligible for.
For lower interest rates and longer repayment periods, you might consider a 24-month personal loan at 10.57% interest — the national average interest rate for loans. Taking on such a personal loan for the average $2,990 Americans borrow for home renovations, you’d end up paying $312.72 in interest over the life of the loan.
Peer-to-peer lending repayment terms average an even longer 38 months, though with a slightly higher 18.01% interest rate, which results in more than $800 paid on top of the initial $2,990.
Payday loans are also an option. But most require full repayment in two weeks, which means you’d have to have a lot of what you borrow in savings already to meet the short repayment terms.
|Method||Average interest rate||Average term||Principal borrowed||Total interest over life of loan|
|Credit card||18.62%||13 months||$2,990||$297.27|
|Personal loan||10.57%||24 months||$2,990||$312.72|
|Short-term loan||400%||2 weeks||$2,990||$54.54|
|Peer-to-peer loan||18.01%||38 months||$2,990||$802.82|
Home renovation apps
In need of some inspiration for your kitchen remodel? Looking to compare contractors to find the best one for your project? We rounded up some of the coolest apps out there to help you design the home of your dreams.
|Smith: Home Remodel|
Ask the experts…
Surprisingly, even though you are spending money on renovations, you can actually be making money while you are doing it. Think of things that buyers like and focus on appealing to their interests. The kitchen is where everyone spends the most time, especially those who do cooking. It is a place that most buyers walk through first and will usually know if they like the house or not if they like the kitchen or not. If you want to sell a house fast, make the kitchen and the bathrooms look great for the new buyer.
Make the physical home be the centerpiece people see when they drive up to the property. People walk past front yards and live in homes. Your goal is to make the front yard draw the buyers’ eyes toward the house passed the yard instead of away from the house because of the yard. Dirty walls in a home make people feel uneasy, dirty, or icky. A fresh coat of neutral color paint will go a long way to making a home buyer or renter feel more at home in your place. As you consider what renovations to do in your property, make sure you keep in mind what other people would like in the future. If you ever sell or rent out your home, you want the property to be appealing to as many people as possible.
For media inquiries:
More guides on Finder
401(k) loan calculator
See how much it’ll cost to borrow from your retirement with this easy-to-use calculator.
Mortgage refinance calculator
How to calculate your potential refinance savings.
Pool loan monthly payment calculator
Dive into how much you’ll pay each month for your new backyard oasis.
Basement finishing financing
Turn that dungeon into livable space — all while increasing your home’s value.
What happens if I need to sell my property for less than I owe?
What happens if you buy a property then the market takes a downturn? Will you still have to pay off the full mortgage amount? We find out how it works.
History of CD interest rates
See what the average interest rate was in the US for 3-month, 60-month, 1-year, 3-year and 5-year CDs since 2010 and learn how the economy affects rates.
Buying a shipping container home
A shipping container home offers cost savings, efficiency and improved construction time. Find out how you can finance a container home and how much they cost.
How much would I pay on a $750,000 mortgage?
Breakdown of what you might pay monthly over the life of a $750,000 mortgage.
Compare aircraft financing options
Explore starting rates, how much you can borrow and loan terms from 5 lenders.
Savings account ratings methodology
Here’s how we rate popular savings accounts, covering what we look for in interest rates, fees, minimums, customer service and account features.
Ask an Expert