It’s convenient to use a general contractor that offers financing for home improvements, especially if they are standing in your kitchen and ready to get started as soon as you pay.
Most contractors who offer loans work with specialists in home improvement financing. Although there are many benefits to this arrangement, it is important to shop around for the best financing.
Learn more about the various financing options available to contractors and other alternatives.
Rates are linked to credit, but not equity
Many contractors offer personal loans , which do not require that you have equity in your house or use it to secure the loan.
Your credit score and financial information will determine your eligibility and the rate you get. Borrowers with good credit score get the lowest rates.
A lender cannot take your property if it isn’t repaid, and it can also mean that the rate could be very high, Jovan Johnson, a certified financial planner in Atlanta, says.
Contractors might subsidize loans through financing partnerships. This could lower your interest rate, according to David Zalik (founder and CEO of GreenSky), a platform that provides loans through contractors.
Some loans offer zero-interest introductory periods to borrowers with good credit. This is especially useful if you are confident that you will be able to pay the loan off during the promotional period.
Loans can be funded quickly
Your contractor might be able to loan you money so that your project can get off the ground faster. Once the contractor has access to funds, they can start work.
Unlike lines of credit and home equity loans , contractors’ lending partners do not usually require an appraisal.
GreenSky approves borrowers in seconds and funds are immediately available, so there is no waiting period between getting the quote and actually starting the project. Zalik said.
However, getting a loan offer after you have already settled on an estimate is a time-consuming process.
“Just simply because it’s what you have in front of your face doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best,” Porter says, who is based out of Durango, Colorado.
Home improvement lenders offer pre-qualification to allow applicants to see their loan amount and rate. This doesn’t impact their credit score.
Zalik states that pre-qualified GreenSky deals are valid for 60 days so you can compare them to other offers.
Like other point-of sale financing options, you may feel pressured to get a loan offer before the contractor arrives at your house. This could lead you to spend more or start projects you don’t want.
Johnson states that he doesn’t like the pressure it places on clients. He says they are unable to take a step back and weigh all their options.
Tess Downing, a Certified Financial Planner at Complete View Financial, San Antonio, suggests that planning the project in advance will relieve some of the pressure. She suggests that you start with a budget and then get bids from several contractors to establish a cost before you look for financing.
Before you apply for a loan from a home-improvement company, make sure you get at least two to three estimates that you are comfortable with.
Other ways to get
Even though your contractor offers a loan, you should compare other forms of financing to get the best rates and terms.
Lines of credit and home equity loans are two options for financing. They often have low interest rates and long repayment terms, which keeps monthly payments low. If you use the home equity loan or line of credit for repairs or remodeling, interest may be tax-deductible.
Rates for home equity loans and the home equity line of credit (or HELOC) are fixed, but they are variable. Both rates have been increasing for approximately a year. Porter suggests that you lock in a fixed-rate home loan now, and then refinance later if rates drop.
Personal loans available from direct-to consumer lenders are an option if you don’t possess equity or prefer no-collateral financing. You can often pre-qualify online for personal loans, just like contractors. This will allow you to determine if your contractor is offering you a great deal.
You can even pay cash and avoid paying interest. Tap your emergency fund to pay for repairs. Porter suggests that a slow leak in your roof could be considered an emergency, particularly if it leads to costly repairs.
This article was written and published originally by The Associated Press by NerdWallet.