Most of us during our homeownership will need to get a home improvement loan. Whether you need to remodel, add on to your home or finish up a partially completed project, you will need to qualify. Here are some steps to take before you start the process.
- Know your credit score. Here is your chance to get the low down on what has been happening with your credit. Know where you stand before you start the process. Use any of the FREE credit score options to get an updated report. Look it over closely and then repair any mistakes you find. The higher your score the better your terms will be on a loan.
- Equity Evaluation. Take some time to evaluate how much equity you have in your home. The equity in your home will most likely be used to secure your loan. If your equity proves sufficient then you will need to prove you can pay back the loan on time.
- Appraisal Time. Getting an updated appraisal is something that your future lender may require. Better to be prepared. It may also help you get a lower rate.
- Project Estimates. Before you decide on how much to borrow get some estimates from local reputable contractors. Make sure to build in a corrective cushion in case they discover any issues once the remodel/construction begins.
Once you complete the four steps above, you can investigate any of the following loan options.
Home equity line of credit. This product will allow you to set up a specified limit. You will be able to use the funds as you need them and as you pay back the loan more funds will become available. Works like a credit card account.
- Home construction loans. Lenders are more cautious when giving out these loans and they require a higher precise qualification. This requires proof of good credit and financial health, comprehensive list of project details, an appraisal report, large down payment usually 20 to 25 percent, and working with a lender approved builder.
- Home equity loans. A loan that uses your home as collateral and is based on an appraised home value. Requires good credit and has additional fees such as appraisal, origination, title and closing.
- FHA 203(k) loans. This is a federally backed loan that was set up to revitalize neighborhoods. The borrower can purchase a property with the cost of repairs and upgrades included. Down payment is as low as 3.5 percent in most cases.
Although I have provided a quick outline here, seeking professional advice or assistance in figuring out which products work best for you is the best path. Let me know if you need a referral.