The features of a home improvement & renovation personal loan
Our partnered lenders offer personal loans starting at low interest rates, which can help you minimise the cost of financing overall and potentially save hundreds.
Personal loans range in size from as little as $2,000 up to $75,000, making them highly versatile and able to be applied to almost any renovation situation you need.
No matter whether you want to want to fix a leaky roof or install a pool, your personal loan will help you pay for your home improvement goals at a manageable pace.
As part of the application process, you’ll tailor your personal loan’s repayments to fit your income needs, with short terms from one year and long ones up to seven available.
You can also compare personal loans with differing rate structures: fixed rates enable more accurate budgeting overall, while variable interest could help you save if rates fall.
Our lending partners can work with you regardless of whether you’re working full-time, part-time, casually, are self-employed or receive Centrelink benefits (or a combination).
More about home improvement and renovation loans
What is a home improvement loan?
A home improvement loan is a personal loan which is used to cover the cost of any sort of property renovation or improvement. It isn’t a product in itself, meaning you aren’t solely restricted to using the approved funds for renovations in the same way you’re required to dedicate 100% of the funds you receive from a car loan to the purchase of your car. Personal loans are very deliberately designed to be versatile, so you can use them for any type of improvement you wish, from minor landscaping to adding a carport or expanding your home out into the backyard.
How do I compare home improvement loans?
Because they’re the same as any other personal loan, it’s important to compare home improvement loans just as thoroughly. Fortunately, you can do this right here with Savvy. With reputable lending partners from around Australia, you can quickly find and compare some of the best offers on the market right now so you can choose your ideal loan with more confidence. Some of the key ways to compare loans include:
Of course, you’ll first need to make sure the lenders you’re looking at can approve you for the loan amount you need. Although you’ll have the potential to borrow up to as much as $100,000 depending on the type of finance you choose, some lenders will cap their loans at just $50,000 instead. It’s especially important if you find yourself looking at larger amounts above this mark or smaller loans of $5,000 or less, as these are the areas in which lenders are most likely to differ.
One of the most important areas to nail down on your loan is the best interest rate you can manage, as this is the most significant cost factor on this type of finance. Your rate will be set based on a variety of variables, such as the size of your loan, your credit rating and the stability of your income, among others, so it’s likely to differ substantially between borrowers. Even a small difference in rate can save you hundreds of dollars, so it’s crucial to compare and find the lowest available to you.
Many loans also come with a range of extra costs attached which have the ability to eat into your money even further. The most important to look for are establishment (up to $595) and ongoing (up to $10 per month) fees, although both of these charges are commonly not imposed by lenders. Just like interest rates, seemingly small differences between costs can make a difference. For instance, you’ll save $300 on your five-year loan if you opt for a deal which comes with a $5 ongoing fee instead of $10.
Being comfortable when repaying your personal loan is also key to getting approved for the deal you’re looking for. You shouldn’t ever overburden yourself with loan payments, as although shorter loan terms are likely to cost less, it’s not worth putting yourself at risk of financial stress or default. If you want to pay off your loan in 12 months, you can rule out any lenders who impose three-year term minimums, as is the case for those looking at longer terms of up to seven years and lenders who cap theirs at five.
You should always try to lock in a loan which affords you the ability to pay more than the minimum required amount each month without penalty, as this can help you slash the total cost of the agreement in the long run. The shorter your loan term, the faster your outstanding loan debt decreases which, in turn, decreases the interest charged at a quicker rate. For instance, you could save $500 and trim five months off your agreement by paying an extra $100 each month on your $20,000, three-year loan at 10% p.a.
There are other handy features which you may gravitate towards as a borrower when comparing loan options. Redraw facilities are becoming more common on personal loans, enabling you to access the extra funds paid throughout your loan term and withdraw them for whatever purpose you need. These are useful if you decide to conduct more renovations before the end of your loan term. Also, you should look to ensure you can make your payments on your preferred schedule, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly, to suit your needs.
What are my home renovation finance options?
There are several types of personal loan which can be suitable for covering the cost of home improvements. It’s important to understand the differences between them before diving into your application, as you could miss out on the ideal offer for you by not taking the time to consider your options. The main loan types for renovation finance are:
Unsecured personal loan
The most common and widely available type of personal finance, unsecured loans are offered up to as much as $75,000, take up to seven years to repay and don’t require you to put forward any valuable assets as collateral for the agreement. Because of this, you can have your application processed, approved and funded in a short span of time and get the wheels in motion on your renovation as soon as 24 hours after you apply. It’s important to note, though, that these loans typically come with higher rates and fees than other finance types due to the fact that they’re seen as inherently riskier by lenders.
Secured personal loan
Unlike unsecured loans, secured personal finance does require an asset to be put forward as collateral for your loan, typically a car or motorcycle. There are a variety of benefits which come with secured loans, most notably that the rates and fees offered are lower due to the collateral attached to the loan and borrowing ranges are increased to $100,000. The need for your lender to assess the suitability of your asset as a means of potentially recouping lost funds means many prospective borrowers won’t be able to qualify for this type of loan due to the age and condition of their car.
Personal line of credit
While loans involve you receiving a lump sum from the beginning of your agreement and paying it off in instalments across a set period, lines of credit are different. Under this type of finance, you’re approved for a set limit and can withdraw up to that amount whenever you see fit, only paying interest on the portion of the balance you use. This type of finance can be useful for those who are arranging ongoing renovations and prefer the freedom to access funds from their revolving credit line when they need them. Interest and fees are often the highest on these loans, however.
If you’re looking to make an environmentally friendly installation or purchase, you might be in the best position to take advantage of a green loan. These are personal loans offered by select lenders who reward borrowers for reducing their carbon footprint and opting for more energy-efficient systems by reducing their interest and fees. The potential uses for green loans are obviously more restrictive that the other loan types mentioned above, but some of the ways you can make use of them include:
- The installation of solar panels
- The installation of more energy-efficient air conditioning
- The installation of a rainwater tank or other water harvesting systems
- Double-glazing your windows or further insulating your walls, floors and ceilings
- More eco-friendly appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators dishwashers
Can I use my mortgage to cover renovations instead?
Yes – many homeowners lean towards refinancing their existing home loan when covering the cost of renovations. However, it isn’t always the most cost-effective way to accomplish your goals, as finance costs build based on interest rate and term length. The easiest way to understand this is by looking at how interest adds up over different loan terms. Home improvement loans run for up to seven years, but the average home loan lasts for between 25 and 30. This results in a significant difference in how much interest you pay.
For example, if you borrowed $15,000 to redo your kitchen and added that to your 30-year, $600,000 home loan with an interest rate of 3.5% p.a., your repayments would only cost less than $70 extra per month. However, you’d pay an additional total of $9,248 in interest alone, meaning your $15,000 kitchen would end up costing you closer to $25,000.
Compare that with a three-year home improvement loan. To borrow $15,000 over three years at 10% p.a. would cost $2,424.28 in interest over the term, representing a saving of almost $7,000. However, it adds a new payment of $484 per month to your books for three years. This is why it’s always crucial to consider your options closely when determining the best solution for your home improvements.
Alternatively, you may wish to take out a construction loan. These are more suitable for significant renovations and are structured differently to other loan types. Payments are released in stages, enabling you to pay your builder in staggered instalments across the process. In some cases, you may only be required to pay interest on your loan during the period of construction, saving you on much-needed funds during a busy period. However, these aren’t as suited to smaller builds and may require significant deposits, which aren’t a mandatory aspect of home improvement loans.
Types of personal loan
With an unsecured personal loan, you can potentially borrow as much as $75,000 without the need to attach any valuable assets, such as your car, as security. These loans are the most widely available and often the quickest, with same-day approval possible.
Secured personal loans, on the other hand, make use of collateral. This lowers your risk profile in the eyes of a lender, potentially lowering your interest rate and expanding your borrowing power beyond what you may be able to get through an unsecured loan.
Variable interest rates remain open to fluctuation during your term. This means you can benefit from decreasing rates and save on your loan if the market heads in that direction, although you’ll also pay more if rates start rising.
Fixed interest rates are locked at the beginning of your loan and remain constant throughout your repayments. This acts as a valuable protection against interest rate increases, as your loan will be unaffected, but you’ll miss out on potential drops as well.
If you’re paying off multiple debts at the moment, particularly those with high interest (such as credit card debts), consolidating them into one payment can not only make them more convenient to manage but also potentially save you money overall.
Looking to take off on a holiday with your family but want to pay it off at your own speed? Travelling can be expensive, so you can distribute the cost of your next trip over a period you’re more comfortable with by taking out a personal loan to pay for it.
There are so many costs that go into making your dream wedding a reality, from venue hire to catering to dresses and suits and so much more. By taking out a personal loan, you can start planning the big day you want, even if you can’t pay for it upfront.
Home improvements are desirable for a range of homeowners to help keep their living space fresh and interesting, not to mention increase its value. You can get past the financial hit of renovations with a personal loan paid in instalments.
Personal loans aren’t limited to PAYG employees, though. If you’re running your own business, you can still be approved for financing by submitting tax returns and other alternative documents instead of payslips and utilise your funds however you wish.
There’s a variety of expenses which come with being a student, ranging from the cost of your courses, textbooks and computer to your accommodation. Taking out a personal loan can make these costs more manageable by spacing them out.
Some lenders offer green personal loans, which are designed to be used for energy-efficient appliances and products such as solar panel and air conditioning installation in your home. You can qualify for lower interest rates and fees with this loan.
Why compare personal loans through Savvy?
Common questions about financing your home improvements
Helpful personal loan guides
Still looking for the right personal loan?
Personal loans come in all shapes and sizes, so read more about the ways you can use them, as well as how they might work for you.