How to Fund Your Project: HELOC vs. Home Improvement Loan or Other

Making improvements to your home can increase its value, make it more energy-efficient, or just make it more comfortable to live in. However, house improvements can also be very costly. That’s why, if you’re considering making home improvements, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is how you’ll fund them.

A home remodel can be financed in a variety of ways. You can borrow money, use your own funds, or do both at once. The option you choose will depend upon your particular situation, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each funding method.

Read on to learn about the different ways to fund a home renovation.


You can borrow money using the equity in your home with a HELOC, or home equity line of credit. The equity in your home is the difference between the amount of your mortgage debt and the value of your home. 

You have $50,000 in equity, for instance, if your home is worth $200,000 and your mortgage balance is $150,000.

Most lenders impose a maximum LTV ratio of 80%, however others may allow up to 90%. You may be ineligible for a home equity loan if you don’t have enough equity in your house or if your credit score is low.


  • ⬥Access to funds based on the equity in your home
  • ⬥Rates are generally lower than that of credit cards
  • ⬥Interest may be tax-deductible (consult a tax professional for guidance)
  • ⬥Interest is only charged on what you borrow


  • ⬥It can be risky to borrow against your home equity
  • ⬥May require an appraisal and other fees
  • ⬥The interest rate can fluctuate and may increase over time (if you choose a variable rate loan)
  • ⬥Closing costs and other fees may be required

Home Improvement Loans

A home improvement loan is a type of loan that is specifically designed to finance home improvement projects. Home improvement loans typically have fixed interest rates, which means that the interest rate will not change over time. 

This can be a good option for homeowners who want to know exactly how much their monthly payments will be.

Home improvement loans typically have shorter terms than HELOCs, which means that you will have to pay them back sooner. However, home improvement loans also have lower interest rates than HELOCs. 

This is because home improvement loans are considered to be lower-risk loans, as the lender knows that the money is being used to improve a home.


  • ⬥Fixed interest rate
  • ⬥Monthly payments
  • ⬥Can be easier to obtain than a HELOC
  • ⬥No collateral required
  • ⬥You know how much you can borrow and for how long


  • ⬥Rates that are higher than HELOCs (but still less expensive than credit cards)
  • ⬥May have to pay fees, such as origination fees and prepayment penalties
  • ⬥Generally more rigid in terms than a HELOC or credit card

Other options

In addition to HELOCs and home improvement loans, there are a other ways to fund a home renovation project. These include:

Personal loans 

Personal loans, also known as “signature loans”, are unsecured. This means the loan doesn’t require putting up any collateral to get the loan. 

Personal loans can be a good choice if you don’t have enough equity in your house to be approved for a HELOC or home repair loan. Keep in mind, however, that they often have higher interest rates than either HELOCs or home improvement loans.


  • ⬥Unsecured personal loans don’t require collateral, such as a home or car
  • ⬥Budgeting is easier when you’ve got fixed interest rates and a monthly payment schedule
  • ⬥The loan amount and repayment term are predetermined
  • ⬥The application process is generally quick and easy
  • ⬥Can be used for a variety of home improvement projects


  • ⬥Higher interest rates than either home equity loans or lines of credit
  • ⬥Borrowing more than you can afford could lead to financial difficulty
  • ⬥The loan may have origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • ⬥May require a strong credit score and history to qualify
  • ⬥May take longer to get approved if you have a complex financial situation

Credit cards

Credit cards can be used to finance a home renovation project, but it is important to note that credit card interest rates are typically very high. Of course, should you choose to use your credit card to fund your home renovation project you’ll want to make sure that you pay off the balance as quickly as you can.


  • ⬥Convenient and easy to use
  • ⬥Some credit cards offer rewards, such as cashback or points
  • ⬥Some credit cards offer 0% introductory interest rates for a limited time
  • ⬥No collateral required


  • ⬥Higher interest rates than HELOCs and home improvement loans
  • ⬥May have annual fees and other charges
  • ⬥May have a lower credit limit than you need for your project
  • ⬥You may be tempted to overspend and accrue debt


If you have enough savings, you may be able to use your savings to finance your home renovation project. This is the most affordable option, but it is important to make sure that you have enough money saved up to cover the cost of the project.


  • ⬥No interest or fees to pay
  • ⬥No debt to repay
  • ⬥You retain ownership of your home equity


  • ⬥May take longer to save up enough money for your project
  • ⬥May have to delay your project until you have enough savings
  • ⬥Your savings may be needed for other emergencies or expenses
  • ⬥Your money may lose value due to inflation

As you can see, there are a number of different ways to fund a home renovation project. Your individual circumstances will determine which method of financing your home improvement project would be the best option. 

If you have a lot of equity in your home, a HELOC may be a good option. If you do not have enough equity in your home, a home improvement loan or a personal loan may be a better option. 

Alternatively, if you have the savings, you may be able to finance your home renovation project with your own money. Also, you could choose to break your project into different pieces, working on each one as you have the funds available to do so.

Finally, no matter which option you choose, it is important to make sure that you can afford the monthly payments. Home renovations can be expensive, so it is important to make sure that you have a plan for how you are going to pay for them.

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