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Best Home Improvement Loans 2019

Steve NicastroNovember 15, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Home improvement loans can help you finance renovations or repairs, with funding up to $100,000. Compare unsecured loans for home improvements.

Summary of Best Home Improvement Loans 2019

LenderBest ForEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Loans for small home renovations

6.99-28.99%

660

on Goldman Sachs's website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Loans for small home renovations

5.24-22.74%

600

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Lightstream

LightStream

on LightStream's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.49-17.29%

660

on LightStream's website

SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

on SoFi's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.99-17.88%

680

on SoFi's website

Earnest

Earnest Personal Loan

on Earnest's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.99-17.24%

680

on Earnest's website

LenderBest ForEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Loans for small home renovations

6.99-28.99%

660

on Goldman Sachs's website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Loans for small home renovations

5.24-22.74%

600

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Lightstream

LightStream

on LightStream's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.49-17.29%

660

on LightStream's website

SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

on SoFi's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.99-17.88%

680

on SoFi's website

Earnest

Earnest Personal Loan

on Earnest's website

Loans for large home renovations

5.99-17.24%

680

on Earnest's website

Our picks for

Loans for small home renovations

With lower starting loan amounts, Marcus and Wells Fargo are two options for borrowers planning smaller home improvement projects.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Min. Credit Score 
660 

Est. APR 
6.99-28.99% 

Loan Amount 
$3,500-$40,000 

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Marcus loans start at $3,500 and stand out for low rates, no fees, and flexible loan terms and payment options.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Requires good credit.

  • No co-sign option.

Qualifications

  • At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama; 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico).

  • Valid U.S. bank account, Social Security number or tax ID.

  • 660+ credit score.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 6 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36-month loans are generally lower than rates for 72-month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

Read Full Review
Wells Fargo Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Wells Fargo Personal Loan
Min. Credit Score 
600 

Est. APR 
5.24-22.74% 

Loan Amount 
$3,000-$100,000 

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

An option for existing Wells Fargo customers, offering rate discounts and a co-sign option with its personal loans.

Pros

  • Offers co-sign and secured loan option.

  • Offers free credit score access.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Borrowers without existing Wells Fargo accounts required to apply in person.

  • No option to pre-qualify.

Qualifications

  • Typically have a good credit score, above 600.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Loans for large home renovations

LightStream, SoFi and Earnest work for larger renovations, as the lenders have higher loan amounts — up to $100,000 with LightStream and SoFi.

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

LightStream

Lightstream
Min. Credit Score 
660 

Est. APR 
5.49-17.29% 

Loan Amount 
$5,000-$100,000 

on LightStream's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

LightStream offers no fees and low rates on home improvement loans. Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for extended terms up to 12 years.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Co-sign option.

  • Low starting rates.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 660.

  • No minimum income specified.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio varies depending on loan purpose.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). Rate quote includes AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which, may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $5,000 loan at 12.8% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $168. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. SunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved. SUNTRUST, LIGHTSTREAM and the LightStream logo are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust Bank.

Read Full Review
SoFi

on SoFi's website

SoFi Personal Loan

SoFi
Min. Credit Score 
680 

Est. APR 
5.99-17.88% 

Loan Amount 
$5,000-$100,000 

on SoFi's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

SoFi is a strong option for good-credit consumers, offering low rates, no fees and flexible payments.

Pros

  • Low fixed and variable rates.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Offers member perks.

Cons

  • Strong credit and income required.

  • Can take 7 days to fund.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680, but typically 700 or higher.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrowers' average is over $100,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 17.88% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 13, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 4.93% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Read Full Review
Earnest

on Earnest's website

Earnest Personal Loan

Earnest
Min. Credit Score 
680 

Est. APR 
5.99-17.24% 

Loan Amount 
$5,000-$75,000 

on Earnest's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

Earnest is a good option if you're new to credit and responsible with money. Offers low rates and no fees.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Flexible payments.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan options.

  • Requires permission to scan checking account.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680.

  • Proof of consistent income.

  • No open collections accounts.

  • Live in the District of Columbia or a state other than Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada or Rhode Island.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application. Earnest offers personal loans with fixed interest rates between 6.99% APR and 18.24% APR for three, four, or five year terms. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 07/03/2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility. The information provided on this page is updated as of 07/03/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of- service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our personal loan product.

Read Full Review

» MORE: Pre-qualify for a home improvement loan on NerdWallet

Details about home improvement loans

A personal loan used for home improvements is like any unsecured personal loan: It’s not guaranteed by your home, the rate you receive depends primarily on your creditworthiness and the rate and payments are usually fixed, which means you can reliably schedule monthly payments into your budget.

  • Loan flexibility: You can use a personal loan for any purpose, whether it’s for major home repairs, a kitchen remodel or swimming pool installation. You control how you use the funds.
  • Higher rates: Since the loan is unsecured, the interest rate may be higher than on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Rates from online lenders range from about 6% to 36%. Rates for home equity loans and HELOCs are usually in the single digits.
  • Fast funding: Online applications typically take a few minutes, and funds are available within a day or two at some lenders. Learn how to get a personal loan for a smoother process.
  • No tax benefits: You can’t claim a tax deduction on the interest on personal loans as you might be able to do with mortgage interest.

Estimate your home improvement loan rate

Interest rates on personal loans generally range from about 6% to 36%. As with most credit products, the rate you receive depends a lot on your credit score. The better your score, the lower your rate and the less interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. The interest rate also affects your total monthly payment, as does the term length; a longer term means lower monthly payments, but more interest.

Use our personal loan calculator for home improvements to see estimated rates, total interest costs and payments for your home improvement loan.

» MORE: See estimated rates for personal loans

Home improvement loan alternatives

There are lenders that offer home improvement loans for bad credit, but if you don’t qualify or you want to try to get a lower rate, here are alternative options.

Credit unions: Your local credit union may be the best place to get a personal loan, especially if your credit is poor or average. The maximum annual percentage rate at federal credit unions is 18%.

Federal programs: Some government programs can help pay for a home renovation. The Federal Housing Administration has two programs: Title I loans and Energy Efficient Mortgages. You can look for a “Title I Home Improvement” lender in your state on the HUD website.

Credit cards: If you have excellent credit and a small- to medium-sized home improvement project, you can apply for a 0% interest credit card to cover the expenses. If you qualify, you’ll pay no interest charges for a promotional period, typically 12 to 18 months.

» MORE: Should you put your home renovation on a credit card?

Home equity loans and HELOCs: If you have equity in your home, you may be better off with a low-interest secured loan.

Both options are likely cheaper than personal loans, with longer repayment terms up to 20 years. Keep in mind that you can lose your home if you fail to repay the loan.

» MORE: Home equity loan vs. line of credit

Cash-out refinancing: You can refinance your existing mortgage into a higher loan amount and use the difference to pay for your renovation. Rates vary by lender, loan amount and the equity in your home.

» MORE: Compare home improvement financing options

Last updated on November 15, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Home Improvement Loans 2019

Frequently asked questions

A home improvement loan is an unsecured personal loan that you repay in monthly installments over one to 12 years. Unlike home equity loans or HELOCs, the loans are not secured by your home, and approval is based mainly on your creditworthiness.

» MORE: What to know about unsecured personal loans

The best loan to finance home improvements depends on factors such as your home equity, how much money you need to borrow and your credit score. In addition to personal loans, options include home equity loans and HELOCs, cash-out refinancing, 0% introductory APR credit cards, and federal programs.

» MORE: Home improvement financing alternatives

Home improvement loans may be a good idea when used toward renovations that improve the value of your home. Loans are also beneficial to cover home repairs to improve livability and safety. As with any debt, monthly payments toward the loan should fit into your budget.

» MORE: Personal loan calculator for home improvement