Best Home Improvement Loans

Compare home improvement loans to finance your renovations and repairs

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations .

When preparing to make home improvements, an unsecured personal loan may make a lot of sense—especially if you haven’t built up much equity in your home. While some options like HELOCs, home equity loans, and cash-out refinancing can help you fund your home upgrades, they may not be practical. A personal loan could help you accomplish your dream home improvement project, such as a new kitchen or bathroom. To help you, we reviewed over 50 lenders, evaluating each one for how much you can borrow, interest rates, fees, repayment options, and more to determine the best home improvement loans (that are unsecured) so you can achieve your home goals. These are the best home improvement loans to consider.

Best Home Improvement Loans of 2020

  • LightStream: Best Overall, Best for Low Rates, and Best Flexible Repayment Options
  • SoFi: Runner-Up and Best for Large Improvements
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Low Fees
  • Prosper: Best for Small Improvements
  • Avant: Best for Bad Credit

LightStream: Best Overall, Best for Low Rates, and Best Flexible Repayment Options

LightStream

If you’re hoping for an unsecured personal loan to help you complete your home renovations, LightStream may be a solid choice. You can borrow up to $100,000, with low rates that range from 4.99% to 15.29% APR when you sign up for automatic payments. Plus, if you’re approved by LightStream and a competing lender offers you a good rate, LightStream will aim to beat it by 0.10 percentage points. And on top of that, borrowers have the option to repay large home improvement loans ($25,000 to $100,000) for up to 12 years. This makes LightStream the best home improvement loan on our list.

What We Like
  • Rate Beat Program

  • No fees or home equity requirements

What We Don't Like
  • No preapproval process

LightStream Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR range: 4.99% to 15.29% with autopay
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Origination fee: Does not charge an origination fee
  • Late fee: Does not charge a late fee
  • Time to receive funds: Same day or 1 business day
  • Recommended credit score: Good or better

SoFi: Runner-Up and Best for Large Improvements

SoFi

SoFi also offers up to $100,000 in an unsecured personal loan, which can be used to make home improvements. Fixed and variable rates are available, starting from 5.99% APR to 18.82% APR with autopay. However, even though it’s possible to get a 7-year repayment term, there isn’t a special extension for home loans like with LightStream. Nevertheless, there are perks that come with being a SoFi member. For example, SoFi’s unemployment protection can help you if you find yourself without a salary. If you lose your job (and it’s not your fault), you can delay your monthly payments in three-month increments, up to 12 months.

What We Like
  • Extra membership perks

  • Fixed and variable rates

What We Don't Like
  • Good or better credit recommended

SoFi Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR range: 5.99% to 18.82% with autopay
  • Variable APR range: 6.24% to 14.70% with autopay
  • Loan terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Origination fee: Does not charge an origination fee
  • Late fee: Does not charge a late fee
  • Time to receive funds: Typically within a week
  • Recommended credit score: Good or better

Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Low Fees

Marcus

If you’re comparing the best home improvement loans and looking for a lender that charges no fees, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is your best bet. In addition to no origination fees, borrowers also don’t have to worry about paying late fees if they accidentally miss a payment date or prepayment fees if they pay off their loan early (though interest still accrues on the balance). Marcus has a minimum loan requirement of $3,500, but a lower a maximum than SoFi and LightStream—just $40,000. Rates start a little higher than others on our list, ranging from 6.99% to 28.99% APR. Repayment terms range from three to six years.

What We Like
  • No fees, including late fees

  • Ability to borrow a smaller amount

  • Easy to use website

What We Don't Like
  • Good or better credit recommended

  • Joint applications not accepted

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR range: 6.99% to 28.99%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Origination fee: Does not charge an origination fee
  • Late fee: Does not charge a late fee
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 1 to 4 business days
  • Recommended credit score: 660 or better

Prosper: Best for Small Improvements

Prosper

If you’re making small home improvements and only need to borrow a couple thousand, Prosper may be a good option. It’s one of the best home improvement loans because the minimum to borrow is just $2,000 and the repayment terms are fixed at three or five years. Rates range from 6.95% to 35.99% APR. Prosper also charges origination fees between 2.40% and 5% of the loan amount, which will be deducted from what you borrow, so be sure to apply for enough to cover your project. You may have to wait for your loan to be funded, too, as the average time to receive funds is about five days.

What We Like
  • Loan amounts from $2,000 to $40,000

  • Allows joint applications for co-borrowers

What We Don't Like
  • A variety of potential fees

  • May have to wait for funds

Prosper Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR range: 6.95% to 35.99%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Origination fee: Between 2.40% and 5%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% 
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 1 to 5 business days
  • Recommended credit score: 640 or better

Avant: Best for Bad Credit

Avant

What if your credit isn’t good enough to qualify for one of the other best home improvement loans? In that case, you might be able to turn to Avant. While its average customer has a credit score between 600 and 700, Avant works to offer loans to a wide variety of borrowers, which may help if you have poor credit. However, with interest rates that range from 9.95% to 35.99% APR, and an administration fee of up to 4.75%, you might end up paying the price for getting a personal loan with poor credit. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000, with repayment terms of two to five years.

What We Like
  • Options for less than fair credit

  • Low starting loan amount

  • Most borrowers receive funds by the next business day

What We Don't Like
  • High starting APR

  • Fixed administration fee

Avant Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Fixed APR range: 9.95% to 35.99%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Origination fee: Administration fee up to 4.75%
  • Late fee: $25
  • Time to receive funds: At least 1 business day
  • Recommended credit score: Fair or better

How Does a Home Improvement Loan Work?

With a personal loan for home improvements, you’re borrowing unsecured money to pay for upgrades to your house, and you don’t usually have to use your home as collateral. There are some situations where you might have to secure a personal loan with your home, but, for the most part, you can use the money to make renovations without putting your house at risk.

And because it’s a personal loan, it’s possible to use the money for just about anything you want. So, if you still have money left after you complete your home renovation projects, you can use it for other costs, such as consolidating debt or buying new furniture. However, it might make the most sense to put the leftover money toward paying down your loan faster.

When Does Using a Personal Loan for Home Improvements Make Sense?

If you have a small amount of equity in your home and you don’t want to put your home at risk, a personal loan might be your best bet—even though you might have to pay a little more in interest. Plus, a personal loan can be used for just about anything. So if you’re looking to renovate your kitchen and purchase all new furniture for your patio, you can do both with your personal loan.

Alternatives

Many of the alternatives to an unsecured personal loan require you to have equity in your home. Additionally, you secure these loans with your home, so if the unexpected happens and you aren’t able to make payments, you could lose your house. These other loans include home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), home equity loans, and cash-out refinancing options, and can be used for home improvements.

Another option may be credit cards with promotional financing. If you’re able to sign up for a credit card with a flexible credit limit and a low introductory APR, you may be able to pay for your home improvements while saving on fees and interest. For example, a credit card may have a promotional offer with 0% APR for the first 15 months, plus no annual fee. That means you can put renovation costs on the card and pay them off over those 15 months without accruing interest charges. Just keep in mind that you may not have a high enough credit limit to pay for many renovations, and after the promotional period expires, you’ll start racking up interest. Average credit card interest rates generally top 20.00%.

A personal loan will almost always come with an APR, and some have origination fees—those can eat into your loan amount and add to the interest that you pay over time.

Pros & Cons of Home Improvement Loans

Pros
  • Unsecured

  • Low- and no-fee loans available

  • Equity isn’t required

  • Options for those with fair or poor credit

What We Don't Like
  • Might pay higher APRs

  • Limits to the amount you can borrow

  • Can’t borrow repeatedly against your equity like you would with a HELOC

How Should I Choose a Personal Loan for Home Improvements?

When comparing the best home improvement loans, consider your needs and financial situation. Look at how much you’ll pay overall for the loan, including interest rates and fees. In many cases, it’ll make the most sense to go with the lowest-cost loan.

However, you also need to pay attention to your practical needs. If you need more than $35,000 or $40,000 for your home improvements, you might want to look at lenders like LightStream or SoFi. On the other hand, if you have small improvements, lenders with low minimums of $2,000 or $3,500, like Marcus or Avant, might work better.

You’ll have to find a lender that will approve you based on your credit score. If you have poor credit, you might need to choose a lender with a higher APR because it may give you a loan when other lenders won’t. But, while securing a new loan may ding your credit, paying it back on time and in full can help you build a better credit history and score. 

How We Chose the Best Home Improvement Loans 

Our writers spent hours researching loan options from over 50 lenders, looking at loan amounts, interest rates, fees, repayment terms, and more to determine which loans are likely to meet various needs. Loan recommendations take into account the needs and situations of various borrowers. One home improvement loan may not be right for every borrower, so consider all of your options before applying and securing your next personal loan.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. LightStream. "Kitchen Remodel Financing." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  2. SoFi. "Personal Loans." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  3. SoFi. "Disclosures & Disclaimers." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  4. Marcus by Goldman Sachs. "Personal Loans." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  5. Prosper. "Help Center: What Types of Fees Are Charged on Loans?" Accessed March 23, 2020.

  6. Prosper. "Prosper Personal Loans." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  7. Avant. "What Is the Typical Credit Score of an Avant Customer?" Accessed March 23, 2020.

  8. Avant. "Apply for a Loan Online, Check Your Loan Options." Accessed March 23, 2020.