BEST OF

Best Home Improvement Loans of May 2022

Home improvement loans can help you finance repairs, renovations and additions to your home. Compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best rates and terms.

May 2, 2022

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An unsecured home improvement loan can help you pay for renovations and repairs. You can use this type of personal loan to upgrade your kitchen, install a swimming pool or repair your roof.

Home improvement loans let you finance a renovation without using your home as collateral. They're also usually funded more quickly than other financing options. Always compare offers from multiple lenders to find a loan that suits the size of your project and your budget.

Best home improvement loans:

  • Best for large loans with low rates: SoFi.

  • Best for low rates and long repayment terms: LightStream.

  • Best for credit-building tools: Upgrade.

  • Best for flexible terms and low rates: Marcus.

  • Best for excellent-credit borrowers: Discover.

  • Best for existing bank customers: Wells Fargo.

  • Best for fast approval: Rocket Loans.

  • Best for secured loans: OneMain.

  • Best for credit union members: Navy Federal.

Best Home Improvement Loans

Our pick for

Large loans with low rates

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

6.99-22.28%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

680
Get rate

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. Borrowers can add a co-signer or co-borrower to improve their chances of qualifying.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign loan options.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured or joint loan option.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 22.28% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 5/12/22 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. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. 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, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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.

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Our pick for

Low rates and long repayment terms

Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.99-19.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on LightStream's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

LightStream offers no fees, low rates and terms up to 12 years on home improvement loans. Borrowers can apply for a joint loan, which may help you get a lower rate or higher loan amount.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. 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. AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. 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 $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Our pick for

Credit-building tools

Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.44-35.47%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Upgrade lets borrowers add a co-signer or co-borrower to improve their chances of qualifying for a lower rate. It also has a mobile app to manage your loan.

Pros

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers significant rate discount for checking account customers.

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560; borrower average is 678.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrower average is $78,000.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: Two accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Less than or equal to 75%, including mortgage and calculating in your new personal loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.44%-35.47%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor.

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Our pick for

Flexible terms and low rates

Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Get rate

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Est. APR

6.99-19.99%

Loan amount

$3,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

Marcus loans start at $3,500 and come with low rates, no fees and flexible loan terms.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.


Cons

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660 FICO.

  • May need to provide proof of income, including recent pay stubs or bank statements.

  • May need to provide Social Security number, Individual Tax ID number or a photo ID.

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. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. 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. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.

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Our pick for

Excellent-credit borrowers

Discover
Get rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

5.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$35,000

Min. credit score

720
Get rate

on Discover's website


Min. credit score

720

Key facts

For good- to excellent-credit borrowers, Discover offers perks like a mobile app to manage your loan and a unique money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

Cons

  • Charges late fee.

  • No co-signed, joint or secured loan options.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 720; borrower average is 750.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $40,000.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

Disclaimer

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 5.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 6.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you’ll pay just $256 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

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Our pick for

Existing bank customers

Wells Fargo Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Est. APR

5.74-19.99%

Loan amount

$3,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Wells Fargo customers may be eligible for personal loan rate discounts and large loan amounts. Long terms and the lender's joint loan option help this loan stand out for home improvement projects.

Pros

  • No origination or prepayment fee.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Able to fund loans on same or next business day.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify.

  • Some features only available to existing customers.

Qualifications

  • Must provide personal and contact information.

  • Must provide employment and income information; documentation may be required to verify this information.

  • Must provide desired term and amount to borrow.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

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Our pick for

Fast approval

RocketLoans
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Rocket Loans

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

5.97-29.69%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

640

Key facts

Rocket Loans offers online personal loans to borrowers with fair credit and over two years of credit history.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • Offers a 0.3 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Able to fund loans the same day.

  • Offers small loans of $2,000.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 710.

  • Minimum credit history: Over two years.

  • Minimum annual income: $24,000; borrower average is $85,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 70% including mortgage; borrower average is 14%.

  • Must be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska).

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: $15 after 10-day grace period.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All personal loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Please refer to our Disclosures and Licenses page for state required disclosures, licenses, and lending restrictions. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident alien at least 18 years of age (in Nebraska and Alabama a borrower must be at least 19 years of age). All loan applications are subject to credit review and approval. Offered loan terms depend upon your credit profile, requested amount, requested loan term, credit usage, credit history and other factors. Not all borrowers receive the lowest interest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have excellent credit, meet certain conditions, and select autopay. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Please refer to RocketLoans.com and our Terms of Use for additional terms and conditions.

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Our pick for

Secured loans

OneMain
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,500-$20,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

OneMain is an option for bad-credit borrowers, but it comes with high starting rates and an origination fee.

Pros

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

  • Able to fund a loan the same or next business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum income: None; average is $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: $25 to $400 or 1 - 10%.

Disclaimer

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $300. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600. Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

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Our pick for

Credit union members

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.49-18.00%

Loan amount

$250-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Navy Federal’s personal loans are an especially good fit for members with fair credit who want to fund a home improvement project.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms.

  • Able to fund loans same-day.

  • Offers co-sign, joint and secure loan options.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.

  • No option to pre-qualify.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • No option to change your payment date.

Qualifications

  • No minimum qualification requirements.

  • Must meet membership requirements.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

Read Full Review

What is a home improvement loan?

A home improvement loan is an unsecured personal loan that you use to cover the costs of upgrades or repairs. Lenders provide these loans for up to $100,000. A home improvement loan comes in a lump sum, and you repay it in monthly installments, usually over one to 12 years.

Because you don’t use the house as collateral for this type of loan, the interest rate is based on information like your credit and income. If you can’t repay a home improvement loan, your credit will take a hit.

Home improvement loans vs. equity financing

A home improvement loan makes sense if you don’t have enough equity in the home or don’t want to use it as collateral. Equity is the difference between the home’s value and the amount owed on your mortgage.

If you have equity, you could get a lower monthly payment on a home equity loan or line of credit, but the lender may require an appraisal before approval.

Home equity loan

Home equity loans come in lump sums and have fixed interest rates, so monthly payments never change. You repay this loan in monthly installments on a term of up to 15 years.

Compare to personal loans: Home equity loans work similarly to personal loans, but they often have lower rates and longer repayment terms.

Home equity line of credit

A HELOC is an open credit line that you draw on as needed during a renovation and only pay interest on what you borrow. This is a variable-rate option that works best if you don’t mind a fluctuating monthly payment and need more borrowing flexibility.

Compare to personal loans: A HELOC lets you borrow at any time over a period of about 10 years, which can be ideal for long-term projects or unexpected expenses. A personal loan offers a one-time cash influx.

Home improvement loan pros and cons

Here are the pros and cons of using personal loans for home improvement projects.

Pros

  • Payments are fixed. Personal loans have fixed monthly payments, so you can reliably budget for them.

  • Funding is fast. Online applications typically take a few minutes, and funds are available within a day or two at some lenders, while funds from a HELOC or home equity loan can take a few weeks.

  • No collateral required. Unlike an auto or home loan, personal loans don’t require collateral, so the lender can’t take your possessions if you don’t make the payments.

Cons

  • They can have high rates. Since the loan is unsecured, the interest rate may be higher than on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, which typically have rates in the single digits.

  • 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.

How to compare home improvement loans

Shopping around and pre-qualifying can help you find the loan with the best rate and features. These are a few important features to compare among home improvement loans:

  • Annual percentage rates: APRs represent the entire cost of the loan, including any fees the lender may charge. If you’re a member of a credit union, that may be the best place to start. The maximum APR at federal credit unions is 18%.

  • Loan amount: Some lenders cap amounts at $35,000 or $40,000. If you think your project will cost more than that, look for a lender that offers higher loan amounts.

  • Loan term: A loan with a long repayment term may have low monthly payments, but you’ll pay more interest over the life of that loan than one with a shorter repayment term. You can use a home improvement loan calculator to see estimated payments on loans with different terms.

  • Ability to add a co-signer or co-borrower: Some lenders will let you add a co-signer or co-borrower to your loan application. Adding someone with better credit or higher income to the loan application may help reduce your APR or increase the amount you can borrow.

Home improvement loan rates

Current home improvement loan rates are between 4.49% and 35.99%. Lenders decide your rate on a home improvement loan primarily by using your credit score, credit history and debt-to-income ratio.

Here's what personal loan rates look like, on average:

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

10.5%.

Good

690-719.

15.5%.

Fair

630-689.

20.8%.

Bad

300-629.

26.1%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from Oct. 27, 2021, to April 27, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 FICO — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.

How to get a home improvement loan

To get a home improvement loan, first compare lender offers with other options, check your rate and monthly payments, prepare documents and apply.

Let's break down those steps:

  1. Compare options. Compare the best home improvement lenders against each other and with other financing options, like credit cards and home equity financing. You're looking for the one that costs the least in total interest, has affordable monthly payments and fits your timeline.

  2. Check your rate and monthly payments. Try to set your project's estimated cost by this step. Many online lenders and some banks let borrowers pre-qualify to see potential personal loan offers before applying — but you'll be asked how much you want to borrow. The process involves a soft credit pull.

  3. Prepare documents. Once you've chosen a lender, gather the documents you'll need to apply. This can include things like W-2s, pay stubs, proof of address and financial information.

  4. Apply. You may have to apply in person at smaller banks and credit unions, but larger ones and online lenders usually offer online applications. Many lenders can give you a decision within a day or two of applying. After that, expect to see the funds in your bank account in less than a week.

How to use a home improvement loan

Unsecured loans can cover almost any purchase. How much you’ll need will vary based on your location, home size and how extensive your plans are.

Here are some common projects and how much you could pay for each, based on the most recent cost estimates available.

Other types of home improvement financing

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 search for a “Title I Property Improvement” lender in your state on the HUD website.

When it’s best: Consider applying if your project and finances meet the criteria outlined by these programs. They can help make upgrades more affordable.

Cash-out refinancing

You can refinance your existing mortgage into a higher loan amount and use the difference to pay for your renovation.

When it’s best: Consider this option if current mortgage rates are lower than the one you're paying now.

Credit cards

You can strategically use a credit card to cover the cost of your upgrades. Rewards cards can get you paid as you upgrade, while a card with a 0% introductory APR can cover short-term home renovations.

When it’s best: Use a credit card for projects small enough that you won’t max it out. You should typically aim to pay your full balance every month. You’ll need good or excellent credit (690 or higher) to qualify for a zero-interest or rewards card.

Last updated on May 2, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Home Improvement Loans of May 2022

Frequently asked questions