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Should I take a personal loan for my home renovation?

Setting up a new home can be an exciting time – until you realise the costs involved to create your dream home. But don’t let financial pressures deter you; there are ways to help you set up that safe haven you call home – a personal loan or renovation loan, for example.

The first wayto finance your renovation is to look into a renovation loan, which is offered by a few banks in Singapore like POSB, DBS and OCBC. Under this loan, you can borrow up to $30,000 or six times your monthly income, whichever is lower. You can choose a repayment period of anything from 1 to 5 years.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to taking a renovation loan, one of which is that you can borrow a maximum of only $30,000, which may not be enough to cover your total renovation costs.

Also, a renovation loan is strictly for renovation-related works like tiling the floor, painting the walls and electrical wiring. It does not apply to things like installing curtains or purchasing a sofa set (you’ll need a personal loan orhome loan for that).

Curtains in living room

On top of that, applying for a renovation loan requires you to submit a renovation contract or a quotation from the contractor because the bank wants to know where its money is going to go, which can be a tedious process.

Another way you could raise cash for your renovation is to apply for a personal loan. Personal loans are offered by most banks and under this loan, you get cash, and possibly, a higher loan limit than that of a renovation loan. A personal loan can be spent on anything you want, like furniture for your new house.

Compare personal loans in Singapore

1 - 7 of 7
Name Product Interest Rate From Loan Amount Processing Fee
Apply for a Personal Loan with Lendela
3.45%

EIR: 6.5%

$1,000 – $200,000
$0
Receive a customised personal loan that meets your financial needs.
Citi Quick Cash Loan
3.45%

EIR: 6.5%

$1,000 – Up to 4x your monthly salary
$0
Enjoy interest rates as low as 3.45% p.a. (EIR 6.5% p.a.) & up to 5 years loan tenure. T&Cs apply.
HSBC Personal Instalment Loan
3.2%

EIR: 6%

$1,000 – $200,000
$88
Apply online and get cashback of up to $2,100 upon approval and enjoy promotional interest rates from as low as 3.2% p.a. (EIR 6% p.a.) with no processing fee. Offer ends 30 June 2022. T&Cs apply.
Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan
3.48%

EIR: 6.95%

$1,000 – Up to 4x your monthly salary, subject to a cap of $250,000
$0
Get up to $2,400 cashback and Interest Rate as low as 3.48% p.a. (EIR 6.95% p.a.). T&Cs apply. Valid till 30 June 2022.
UOB Personal Loan
3.4%

EIR: 6.36%

$1,000 – Up to 95% of your available credit limit
$0
Get up to $1,500 cashback if you choose a loan of $20,000 or more with a term between two and five years. This online offer ends on 31 August 2022.
DBS Personal Loan
2.88%

EIR: 5.79%

$500 – Up to 10x your monthly salary
1% processing fee
Apply online using promo code 'POSBPL' and get up to 2% cashback on your approved loan with an interest rate from 2.88% p.a. (EIR 5.79% p.a), plus a 1% processing fee. Loans of up to 10x your salary may be available.
POSB Personal Loan
2.88%

EIR: 5.79%

$500 – Up to 10x your monthly salary
1% processing fee
Enjoy a fast approvals service and an interest rate starting at 2.88% p.a. (EIR 5.79% p.a), plus a 1% processing fee.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What’s the difference between a personal loan and renovation loan?

Here are some other differences between a renovation loan and a personal loan that you might want to consider before choosing between the two to facilitate your renovation.

Renovation loan

Personal loan

Do all banks offer it?

Not all banks offer it. Banks like DBS/POSB and OCBC offer renovation loans, but banks like UOB, HSBC and Citibank do not.

Yes

Who can apply for the loan?

Only the homeowner, or the homeowner’s family members can apply for a renovation loan. Joint applicants must be the main applicant’s parent, spouse, child or sibling. They must also meet the income requirements.

Anyone who meets the income requirements can apply

What is the minimum income requirement?

You need to earn at least $24,000 a year. If you are making a joint application, the main applicant must earn at least $24,000 a year and, for POSB and DBS, the joint applicant must earn at least $12,000 a year.

Banks like POSB, DBS and OCBC require a minimum annual income of $20,000. Other banks like UOB and HSBC require a minimum annual income of $30,000 a year.

What is the maximum loan amountyou can take out?

$30,000, or 6 times your monthly income, whichever is lower.

For joint applications, the cap is $30,000, or 12 times the monthly salary of the lower income earner.

If you earn more than $20,000 but less than $30,000 a year, you can borrow up to 2 times your monthly salary.

If you earn more than $30,000 but less than $120,000 a year, you can get cash of up to 4 times your monthly salary.

If you earn $120,000 and above a year, you can borrow up to 8 or 10 times your monthly salary, or up to $200,000, from banks like POSB, DBS and HSBC.

Loan tenor

One to five years

One to five years for most banks, but HSBC offers up to seven years forsalaried workers

What you can use the loan for

You can use the loan only for renovation-related works such as electrical and wiring works, built-in cabinets, painting and redecorating works (such as wallpapering), structural alterations, external works within compound of the house, flooring and tiling and basic bathroom fittings. The loan cannot be used to buy things like furniture.

You can use the loan for anything without having to show proof.

Interest rates

Interest rates vary between banks.

Currently, OCBC is offering a rate of 2.63% per annum for applicants who already have home loans with it and 2.86% per annum for new customers, while DBS and POSB are offering rates of 2.88% per annum for existing DBS Home Loan customers and 3.88% per annum for non-DBS Home Loan customers. (As of 22/7/19).

Interest rates vary between banks.

Currently, DBS and POSB are offering rates as low as 3.88% per annum if you meet their criteria. (As of 22/7/19).

However, note that the interest rate offered to you is based on your personal credit and income profile and may differ from the published rate and the rate offered to other borrowers. For example, if your annual income is below $30,000 and you are eligible for the loan, you will be offered a rate of 11% per annum.

How is interest calculated?

On a monthly rest rate basis.

This means interest is calculated based on the outstanding balance of the loan. As you pay off your outstanding loan amount every month, the interest also reduces over time.

On a flat rate basis.

With a flat rate, interest payments are calculated based on the original loan amount. The monthly interest stays the same throughout, even though your outstanding loan reduces over time.

Paperwork needed

You need to present a renovation contract or a detailed quotation from your contractor on top of your proof of income documents.

You need to submit your proof of income documents.

How is the money disbursed?

Cashier’s orders for the loan amount will be issued to the contractor’s company name.

The money will be credited into your designated bank account upon approval.

Should you take a renovation loan or a personal loan?

The prevailing belief is that it is better to go for purpose-specific loans like a renovation loan or a car loan rather than a general loan like a personal loan; it is believed that purpose-specific loans offerbetter interest rates thanpersonal loans.

This is true to some extent; banks often offer a better interest rate for renovation and car loans because your house or car become thecollateralwhich the bank can seize if you default on repayments.

A personal loan, on the other hand, require no collateral. This carries a higher risk for the banks, which they try to mitigate by charging a higher interest rate.

Furthermore, the interest for renovation loans and personal loans are calculated differently. Interest for renovation loans go on a monthly rest rate, which means interest is calculated based on the outstanding balance of the loan. As you pay off your outstanding loan amount every month, the interest also reduces over time.

Home under renovation

On the other hand, the interest for personal loans are calculated on a flat rate basis. This means interest payments are calculated based on the original loan amount. The monthly interest stays the same throughout, even though your outstanding loan reduces over time.

However, banks do sometimes offer promotions on personal loans, either in the form of reduced interest rates, processing fee waivers, or even supermarket vouchers.

Currently, DBS is offering cashback on online applications of personal loans. Approved loans of $30,000 to $49,999 will get you a cashback of $688 while approved loans above $50,000 will get you a cashback of $888 (accurate as of 22/7/19).

Promotions change all the time, and under the correct conditions, a personal loan could be just as attractive as a renovation loan.

nine major banks in Singapore, offer an unbiased comparison rating of the banks and also show you all the latest promotions in one place.

Considering a personal loan for your home renovation?

To start your search in GoBear, first, click on “Personal Loan”, then enter the amount of money you wish to borrow. After that, enter the number of years you want to repay your loan, and your monthly income.

Click on “Show my results” and you will get a list of banks that can offer a personal loan to you. You will also be shown details such as the maximum amount you can borrow, the monthly repayment, the interest rate, the total amount of interest you end up paying at the end of your tenure and the processing fee for your loan. This will be based on the details you enter when you start your search.

You can also select several banks to compare the rates side by side.

Happy with what you see? Click on the “Compare Personal Loans” green bar and you will be taken to the bank’s website to apply.

And there you go, a personal loan to set up your home. Home sweet home, here you come.

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