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You can use home improvement loans to cover expenses for any home renovation project without putting your equity at risk. (Shutterstock)
Staying in your own home as you age is called "aging in place," and it’s a goal for many Americans. Nearly 90% of Americans over age 65 want to stay in their homes as long as possible, according to a survey from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the AARP Public Policy Institute.
Fortunately, if aging in place is your goal, you don’t have to risk your valuable home equity — or your home — to make safety and accessibility improvements. You can use a personal loan for home improvements.
Credible makes it easy to see your prequalified personal loan rates from various lenders, all in one place.
Aging in place means making a conscious decision to stay in your home as long as possible as you age rather than relocating or moving into an independent living community or assisted living facility.
People who choose to age in place often need to make changes to their homes to make aging in place more comfortable — or even possible. These improvements might include installing grab bars or a walk-in shower in the bathroom, widening doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or walker, or replacing exterior stairs with ramps.
But paying for these home upgrades in addition to other retirement costs can be a challenge.
A home improvement loan is an unsecured personal loan that you take out to fund home improvements. You’ll repay the loan in monthly installments at a fixed interest rate for a certain period of time.
Unlike a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, a home improvement loan doesn’t require you to put your home up as collateral, so it won’t deplete your equity. And if you run into financial troubles and can’t afford the payments, you aren’t at risk of losing your home.
Visit Credible to compare personal loan rates from various lenders, without affecting your credit.
If you plan to age in place, the following 10 Credible partner lenders can help you finance necessary home renovations with a home improvement loan:
Best lenders for large loan amounts
Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000Terms: 2 to 7 years (12 years for home improvement loans)Minimum credit score: 660Fees: No prepayment, origination, or late payment fees
Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000Terms: 2 to 7 yearsMinimum credit score: Does not discloseFees: No prepayment or origination feesBest lenders for small loan amounts
Loan amounts: $2,000 to $36,500Terms: 2 to 6 yearsMinimum credit score: 580Fees: Origination fees from 0% to 7%; no prepayment penalty
Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000Terms: 2 to 5 yearsMinimum credit score: NoneFees: Origination fees vary by state; no prepayment penaltyBest lenders for good credit
Loan amounts: $10,000 to $50,000Terms: 3 to 6 yearsMinimum credit score: 700Fees: Origination fee of 0% to 2%; $15 late fee; $25 insufficient funds fee; no prepayment penalty
Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000Terms: 3 to 7 yearsMinimum credit score: 660Fees: Late fee of $39; no origination fee
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000Terms: 3 to 6 yearsMinimum credit score: 660Fees: No application fees, late fees, or prepayment feesBest lenders for poor credit
Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000Terms: 2 to 5 yearsMinimum credit score: 550Fees: Administration fee of up to 4.75%; no prepayment penalty
Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000Terms: 2 to 6 yearsMinimum credit score: 560Fees: Origination fee of 2.9% to 8%; no prepayment penalty
Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000Terms: 3 to 5 yearsMinimum credit score: 580Fees: Origination fee of 0% to 10%; late fee of 5% of the past-due balance or $15 (whichever is greater); $15 ACH return or check refund fee; no prepayment penaltyOther lenders to consider
The following two lenders aren’t Credible partners, so you won’t be able to easily compare your rates with them on the Credible platform. But they may also be worth considering if you’re looking for a home improvement loan.
Navy Federal Credit Union
Loan amounts: $250 to $50,000Terms: 3 to 15 yearsMinimum credit score: Does not discloseFees: Late payment and returned payment fee; no origination fee or prepayment penalty
Loan amounts: $1,000 to $35,000Terms: 6 to 60 monthsMinimum credit score: Does not discloseFees: No prepayment penaltyMethodology
Credible evaluated the best home improvement loans based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms, and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department, and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up to date.
A home improvement personal loan is an unsecured loan. This makes it different from home equity loans or home equity lines of credit, which use the homeowners’ real estate as collateral.
A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows you to borrow against your home equity in a lump sum. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) also allows you to borrow against your home equity, but you receive the cash in a revolving line of credit — similar to a credit card — instead of a lump sum.
Another option is a reverse mortgage, also known as a home equity conversion mortgage. Reverse mortgages are complicated, and if you become ill and have to leave the home for 12 months or more, the lender can call the loan due, requiring you to sell the home in order to pay back the loan and avoid foreclosure.
Home improvement loans offer a few advantages over home equity loans and HELOCs, including:
Don’t deplete your equity — Since unsecured personal loans aren’t backed by your home’s equity, home improvement loans don’t deplete the equity you’ve built up or put your home at risk.Usually faster to secure — Many lenders can approve a home improvement loan in a matter of days, versus two to six weeks for a home equity loan or line of credit. This makes them a good option for home improvement projects with more urgent timelines.Predictable payments — Most personal loans are fixed-rate loans, so you repay them in predictable monthly payments. HELOCs, on the other hand, are usually variable-rate loans. If interest rates rise, your monthly payment goes up, which could make your payments unaffordable.
If you’re ready to apply for a home improvement loan, Credible lets you quickly and easily compare personal loan rates to find one that suits your needs.