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Best home improvement loans

Compare your funding options and interest rates for your next renovation project.

Home improvement loans are a great choice when you’re facing expensive repairs or renovations to your house. These personal loans are meant to cover a wide variety of expenses without risking your home’s equity or putting up collateral.

Our top picks are based on the size of your project and how you might want to use your funds. But like any personal loan, carefully compare your home improvement loan options before making a final decision.

  • Best for small projects: Discover
  • Best for midsize projects: Upstart
  • Best for large projects: SoFi
  • Best for ongoing projects: Upgrade

Best for small projects: Discover personal loans

Discover personal loans

Finder Rating: 4 / 5

While Discover is often touted as a great choice for debt consolidation, its personal loans can also be used for home improvement. Discover allows you to finance up to $35,000 for up to 84 months — good for small projects and small monthly payments. And although it doesn't offer automatic payment discounts like some lenders, signing up for autopay can help you avoid the steep $39 late fee.

  • Available in all states

Best for midsize projects: Upstart personal loans

Upstart personal loans

Finder Rating: 4.15 / 5

Upstart accepts borrowers with fair credit scores of 580 or 600, depending on your state. This makes it a good choice for a wide variety of borrowers who need to fund a midsize home improvement project — especially because its underwriting process considers your income and career alongside your credit score. However, some borrowers may pay a higher APR, and there is a chance you could face an origination fee up to 8%.

  • Not available in: West Virginia

Best for large projects: SoFi personal loans

SoFi personal loans

Finder Rating: 4.45 / 5

SoFi doesn't charge any fees — not even late fees — and its borrowers have access to benefits including a checking account, lower rates on future loans and career counseling. And for large projects, it's hard to beat a maximum loan amount of $100,000. But you'll want to plan ahead: Some borrowers have reported that it took 30 days to receive their funding. Borrowers who only meet the minimum requirements may not fare as well, either. Your APR could be over 20% — and you likely won't qualify for the maximum loan amount.

  • Not available in: Mississippi
Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 22.73% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 6/15/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Best for ongoing projects: Upgrade personal loans

Upgrade personal loans

Finder Rating: 4 / 5

Upgrade offers a flexible line of credit for borrowers with fair credit, so it's a good choice if you have an ongoing project with no set budget. That being said, each draw is its own loan with a 60-month term. This means you may receive different interest rates each time you borrow. But because it comes with its own Visa card, you can spend online or at a store to quickly cover unforeseen expenses for your home improvement.

  • Not available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at

Best for quick funding: LightStream home improvement loan

LightStream home improvement loan

Finder Rating: 4.9 / 5

Not only can LightStream get your funds on the same day you apply, it also offers some of the best terms out there for borrowers with good to excellent credit. You can borrow up to $100,000 for your home renovation, and LightStream even offers financing specifically for adding a pool to your backyard. But there's no preapproval process. When you apply, LightStream will do a hard pull of your credit. There's also no way to email or call its customer service team. Instead, you'll have to fill out a form on its website if you have any questions before or after you apply.

  • Available in all states
All loans are subject to credit approval by LightStream.

Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

Best for no fees: Marcus by Goldman Sachs personal loans

Marcus by Goldman Sachs personal loans

Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

Marcus by Goldman Sachs doesn't charge any fees — but late payments could be penalized with higher interest rates. However, its low starting rates and midsize loans make it a good choice if you're looking for a bank-backed loan for your home improvements and no fees. Service members can also take advtange of even lower interest rates, which are some of the lowest on the market.

  • Available in all states

Marcus By Goldman Sachs® Offer Terms and Conditions

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose, our evaluation of your creditworthiness, your credit history, if we have recently declined your loan application and the number of loans you already have with us. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. You may be required to have some of your funds sent directly to creditors to pay down certain types of unsecured debt. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.

Best for comparing lenders: LendingTree personal loans

LendingTree personal loans

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

LendingTree is a good choice if you want to quickly compare a variety of personal loans and pick the best option for your home improvement project. Its network of lenders have interest rates starting at an extremely low 2.49%. But you have to have good to excellent credit to get started. Some borrowers may also struggle with the high volume of marketing emails or phone calls — although you can unsubscribe from these.

  • Available in all states

What is a home improvement loan?

Home improvement loans are unsecured personal loans you use to pay for renovations and repairs. You won’t need to use your home’s equity as security, and lenders typically consider your credit score and other finances when determining approval.

How does a home improvement loan work?

When you borrow a home improvement loan, your funds can be used to pay for labor, equipment and supplies to complete projects on any part of your home. Like any personal loan, repayments are due monthly — and cover both principal and interest.

Loan terms and interest rates vary significantly between lenders. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to compare your options to find the best one to suit your budget and renovation plans.

Table comparing a home improvement loan vs. a home equity loan vs. a HELOC

When is a home improvement loan a good idea?

Most people don’t have the ability to save up thousands of dollars for necessary repairs and improvements. This makes a home improvement loan a good choice in a few circumstances, including:

  • Emergency repairs your savings can’t cover
  • Improvements to existing spaces
  • Increasing your home’s overall value before selling

Are home equity loans or HELOCs ever a better option?

It depends on your needs. People turn to home equity loans and HELOCs for lower rates and longer terms. But because the amount you borrow is limited to the current equity in your home and your ability to repay the loan, it may not be enough to cover the full cost of a large renovation.

However, if you struggle to qualify for an unsecured personal loan, a home equity loan or HELOC can be a good choice, since your credit won’t play as much of a role in determining approval.

Home improvement loanHome equity loanHELOC

Best for

Borrowing without using your home as collateral

Projects with a set budget that you pay off over a longer term

Ongoing projects that you plan on completing over several years

Loan amount

Up to $100,000

80% to 90% of your current equity

80% to 90% of your current equity





APR range

5% to 36%

2.5% to 10%

3.5% to 8.5%


2 to 7 years

5 to 15 years

Draw period: 5 to 10 yearsRepayment period: 10 to 25 years

What are the benefits of taking out a home improvement loan?

Here are a few ways a home improvement loan can beat out other types of financing:

  • Fund time-sensitive repairs. Home improvement loans typically cost less than credit cards — and may only take a few business days to process. If you don’t have the savings to cover a big expense, a home improvement loan can help you save money without postponing repairs.
  • Low rates. While some loans are more expensive than others, borrowers with good to excellent credit are likely to get a lower rate than they would on a credit card. This means less money paid overall, cutting the cost of your home reno.
  • Flexible terms. Every lender offers different terms. There are loans with shorter terms if you’re looking to flip your house and loans with longer terms for people who want to pay a little every month to modernize their home.
  • Minimal restrictions. Home improvement loans can be used to fund equipment, supplies and labor. Just be sure to calculate how much you’ll need before you get started — if you don’t borrow enough, it may be hard to qualify for a second loan.

How to choose the best lender

Because best is subjective, here are a few tips to guide you toward the best lender for your home improvement project:

  • APR. Most lenders charge an APR between 5% and 36%. Try to pick a lender that has a lower minimum and maximum APR. After all, if your lender doesn’t offer an APR above 20%, you won’t have to worry about hitting the upper end of 36% — the highest possible rate a personal loan provider can offer due to government regulations.
  • Loan amount. If a lender has a low maximum amount, you may not be able to borrow as much as you need to complete your project with the materials and labor you want. Make sure your lender offers loans that fit your budget before you apply.
  • Credit requirements. Only some lenders accept borrowers with scores lower than 640. Make sure your lender will work with your credit history and finances — or improve your credit score to avoid rejection.
  • Preapproval process. A preapproval process allows you to check your rate before taking a hit to your credit. This allows you to compare offers from multiple lenders to see which is the best deal.

Alternatives to home improvement loans

Beyond personal loans, there are a handful of other ways you can pay for a home improvement or renovation:

  • Home equity loans. A home equity loan allows you to borrow a lump sum against the equity of your house. This keeps rates low, and lenders typically allow you to borrow anywhere from 80% to 90% of your home’s value.
  • HELOCs. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) functions similarly to a home equity loan. Your credit limit is still based on the equity in your home, but rather than a lump sum, you’ll receive a line of credit that can be drawn from as needed to pay for work and supplies.
  • Federal programs. A Title I Property Improvement Loan can be used for both small and large projects. They have low, fixed interest rates and are typically secured by your mortgage or deed. If you plan on making improvements to make your home more green, you may also want to consider the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program.
  • State and local programs. You may be able to qualify for a specialty loan program provided by your city or state. These programs vary based on location, so check out the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website and ask the bank you normally work with to find out what’s available in your area.
  • Credit cards. Credit cards should be used sparingly for home improvements because of their high interest rates. However, they can be useful for weekend projects and emergency repairs. And if you qualify, you may want to look into a 0% APR promotional period to keep your expenses low.
  • Cash-out refinance. A cash-out refinance allows you to get a new mortgage for more than your home is worth. The extra cash can be used for home improvements. The exact amount you can borrow depends on your home’s equity.
  • Become your own contractor. Roll up your sleeves and DIY for your home renovation — even a portion of it. Getting your hands dirty during your home remodeling project will ultimately keep sourcing and labor costs down. You'll reduce how much you need to borrow, or eliminate it altogether if you have the skills to complete the work yourself.

How can I increase my home’s value?

While there’s no guarantee that your home’s value will increase after a renovation, picking the right lender and project can help add equity back into your property.

  • Consider the project. Different projects have different effects on your home’s value. A necessary repair will likely keep the value the same, while an upscale kitchen remodel may be a pricey way to sell your home quickly.
  • Plan for the future. Certain renovations may not add thousands of dollars to your home’s value, but if you’re planning on staying rather than selling, then it might be a worthwhile project to invest in.
  • Request an estimate. Keeping costs down and getting good work done depends on your contractor. Have a few contracting companies come in to give you an estimate on the project’s costs. This will help determine your budget and get you the most value for work done.
  • Compare lenders. Once you have a good idea about the cost and scope of your project, you can find a lender that meets your needs. This will help you avoid over- or under-borrowing — and ensure you’re getting the most out of your renovation or repair.

How do I apply?

The application process differs between lenders, but in general, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Visit the lender’s website and navigate to its application.
  2. Enter information about yourself, including your income and employment.
  3. Submit your application and wait for a response.

Your lender will process your information and either approve or deny your application. If approved, you may be required to submit additional documents to prove your identity, employment or income.

What do I need to apply?

When you apply, you will typically be required to provide some basic information, including your:

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Monthly or annual income
  • Bank account information
  • Government-issued photo ID

How much do home improvements cost?

The cost of your home improvement or renovation depends on the type of project you’re looking to complete.

ImprovementWhat it involvesAverage cost

Adding square footage

Removing walls to expand the interior of a home or apartment.

$7,000 to $100,000

Basement remodeling

Putting down a floor, building walls, installing electric and plumbing lines.

$10,500 to $27,000


Hiring a plumber to replace old pipes or install new plumbing systems.

$300; $45 to $150/hour

Electric work

Hiring an electrician to redo part of your building’s wiring.

$350; $50 to $100/hour


Getting permission from your state and local authorities to start construction.


Solar energy

$25,000 to $35,000

New water storage tank

Purchasing a water storage tank and installing it.

$100 to $2,500

Renovation cost guides

What to consider before getting a home improvement loan

A home improvement loan can be helpful if you don’t have time to build up your savings, but it’s still an expensive option.

  • Avoid 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. Make sure you budget for your repayments based on your financial situation before you apply.
  • Budget for the unpredictable. Construction doesn’t always go exactly as planned. If anything happens that affects the budget or schedule of your renovations, it could leave you without the money you need to finish the job. In this case, a personal line of credit may be a better way to cover unexpected costs.

Bottom line

If you don’t have the savings to handle an emergency repair or a much-needed renovation, a home improvement loan may be able to help — especially if you don’t have enough equity in your home to take out a home equity loan or HELOC.

Learn more about how personal loans work and find even more lenders with our best personal loans guide.

Frequently asked questions

Answers to common questions about home improvement loans.

What type of loan works best for financing home improvements?

It depends on your needs. An unsecured home improvement loan is a good option if you don’t want to use your home as collateral and don’t mind a higher APR. A home equity loan or HELOC is good if your home has plenty of equity and you want to score a low rate with a longer term.

Learn more about your financing options by reading our guide to home renovations.

How do I get a home improvement loan if I have poor credit?

There are some home improvement loans available for people without great credit. However, if you do have a low credit score, you might have a better chance of being approved if you apply for a secured loan, like a home equity loan or HELOC.

What are some useful credit cards for home improvement?

Some credit cards can offer rewards and discounts at home improvement stores along with other perks, such as deferred interest. Compare the best home improvement credit cards to narrow down your options.

How do I finance landscaping projects?

There are typically four financing options when it comes to landscaping projects: Personal loans, home equity lines of credit, home equity loans and credit cards. To learn more about the options and which best suits your project, read our guide to landscaping loans.

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