Pros & Cons of Home Improvement Loans

A home improvement loan can do wonders for your home's value, but it's not without risks.

A home improvement loan can do wonders for your home's value, but it's not without risks.

Need to put a new roof on your home, or add on a new room for your growing family? Chances are, you don't have the money for such costly repairs and upgrades just lying around. That's where home improvement loans come in.

Secured Home Improvement Loans

A secured home improvement loan is one that uses your house as collateral. This is often called a home equity loan, or a second mortgage. The benefits of this type of loan are that you can generally get a higher loan amount at a fixed interest rate, and have 10 to 15 years to pay it off. Another great benefit of this type of loan, when used for home improvements, is that the interest is often tax-deductible. The major drawback is that if you default on payment, the lender can foreclose on your home. Whether you qualify for this type of loan, how much you qualify for, and the interest rate all depend on the age, condition, location and size of the property, as well as on your credit rating. Also, the terms of your loan might prevent you from being able to rent out your home.

Unsecured Home Improvement Loans

It's also possible to get an unsecured loan for home improvements. This type of loan uses no collateral, which makes it a bigger risk for the lender, but less risky for the borrower. Unsecured loan amounts tend to be smaller, with higher interest rates, and they typically must be paid back within 10 years or less. How high of an interest rate, and how much of a loan you qualify for, will depend largely on your credit score. Also, interest on unsecured loans isn't tax-deductible.


Home improvement loans are beneficial for making repairs and upgrades that will increase the value of your property. Strategic home improvements can increase a property's value so much that the loan pays for itself. A loan also allows you to jump on needed repairs instead of having to postpone them until you can save up enough money, which in turn can cause the damage to worsen and become more costly.


Whether a home improvement loan will be beneficial to your home's value depends largely on the economy. During a poor or fluctuating economy, interest rates tend to be higher, which means that the loan could end up costing more in the long run than any increase in property value your home improvements bring about. Also, shoddy work on the part of any contractors you hire for the improvements can end up causing your home to lose value; so it's important to research and strategize the best way to spend your loan in order to minimize risk.

About the Author

After more than a decade of devoting her people-helping skills to the confines of one company, one department, one office at a time, Jean Bauhaus has decided that it's finally time to remove the boundaries and expand her availability to the far reaches of the Internet. She has worked in the corporate world, in various support roles, since 1997, all the while honing her skills in web design, blogging and desktop publishing, and refining her craft as a writer of both non-fiction and prose. She has also decided that the time has come to parlay years of experience copy editing and proofreading papers, articles, short stories and novels for friends and colleagues into a workable profession, having recently completed formal copy editor training at Mediabistro. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Matt and their three pets. When she's not working for clients, she's usually working on her novel.

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