Home Improvement Projects: Home Equity vs. Personal Loans

Claire the Afena Mom Blog

Home Improvement Projects: Home Equity vs. Personal Loans

Mar 06, 2017

There’s something about the approach of Spring, the warmer weather and the glow of sunshine that seems to make you completely and totally aware of….every single flaw in your home. Every creak, crack, leak, draft, pile of clutter, worn carpet, chipped paint, uneven floor and lost shingle becomes glaringly apparent this time of year. Perhaps it’s because you’ve been confined to the indoors for most of the winter and you start to notice things because, well, you have nothing better to do. Perhaps you’ve been to a friend’s house and noticed their new kitchen updates or new carpet and have a strong urge to update your own. Or perhaps, it’s that list hanging on your refrigerator that you continuously add to when something goes wrong or starts becoming a problem that will soon need attention. Whatever the reason is there is another factor as glaring as the projects themselves, the cost.

I myself am that person with the list stuck on the refrigerator of home improvement projects that both NEED done and that I would LIKE to have done. A leaky shower and a multi-problem kitchen revamp are NEED done projects. Wanting new carpet and to repaint the living room are would LIKE to have done projects.  The problem is prioritizing said projects and deciding the best option to finance them. Everyone’s situation will be different so everyone’s avenue of financing will be different. Some people may have money saved for situations just like this, so having to find a way to finance home improvement projects may not be a problem. Others will need to look into a type of loan to cover the costs. Two very common types of loans that can be looked at for this situation are home equity loans and personal loans.

Home equity loans are a fixed amount of money borrowed against the equity in your home. For example, if you owe $300,000 on your home and it is valued at $500,000, a home equity loan allows you to borrow against that $200,000 in equity. Home equity loans are fixed-rate installment loans, which means they are repaid in equal monthly payments over a fixed period of time- usually around 15 years. An alternative to home equity loans that are rapidly emerging are personal loans. Personal loans are direct to borrower loans that are not secured by collateral. They are typically fixed-rate loans and, like home equity loans, involve borrowing a lump sum of money to be used at the borrower’s discretion and repaid in equal installments over a defined period of time. Interest rates on personal loans are typically determined by credit score and history.

To really determine what avenue of financing home improvements is right for you, the best thing to do is to do your homework. Decide what kind of improvements you’re going to do, estimate how much it’s going to cost and then, taking your own personal financial picture into account, and determine what you can afford in the event that you may be making monthly payments on a loan. Being partial to credit unions, that’s the first place I’ll go when we decide to dive into our home improvement projects. Speaking of which, I’ve just spotted another project that needs added to my list. Has my floor always looked like this??? I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.