Reno of the Month: How to pay for your Reston home remodel

Image Credit: Synergy Design & Construction

You’ve been thinking about a home remodel for a while. You know the type of design aesthetic you like, have figured out your “must-have” list and have started to research the different types of contractors and companies you could work with. But one question still remains: How do I pay for a home remodel?

We understand undertaking a home remodel is a big step that requires significant financial investment. It can be a daunting task knowing where to even start the process, so we’re here to help make life a little easier and walk you through the options of how you can pay for a home remodel.

Before you get started, do your homework and have open conversations with your chosen home remodeler or general contractor about how much your home remodel is going to cost. Any reputable contractor should be able to give you guidance on what you should expect to invest in your home if you use their services early on in the process.

Note: Synergy Design & Construction is not affiliated with any companies or services that provide home loan products or services. We do believe, however, that helping inform and educate homeowners is all part of the job. If this information helps relieve some of the stress homeowners feel when it comes to thinking about a home remodel, then that makes us happy!

1. Cash

If you are one of the fortunate few, maybe paying for your remodel isn’t an issue. One of the questions we often receive, however, is how payment can be made. Many homeowners would like to pay by credit card so they can accrue points or other benefits. This sounds like a great idea but, unfortunately, credit card fees are applied (usually 3%) that are, in most cases, passed on to homeowners. No fun. The same applies to debit cards and electronic check payments via PayPal Invoice. Our preferred method is the good old-fashioned check.

Image Credit: Synergy Design & Construction

Word of caution: Never pay the entire cost of your home remodel upfront. We do not even ask for 50% as a deposit. Your chosen home renovation company or general contractor should be able to provide you with what is called a “draw schedule” that aligns payments with the completion of significant milestones on your project.

2. Home Improvement Loans

Image Credit: Synergy Design & Construction

Unless you’ve been planning for your remodel for a long time and have been saving up to pay for it, you may need to take out a loan to pay for all or part of it.

Home renovation loans are often the smartest way for homeowners to finance their entire renovation project, but many people don’t know they even exist or how they work.

If you are looking for a bridge loan between your savings and the total cost of your home or you would like to borrow the entire amount, then a home improvement loan may be right for you.

Home improvement loans are personal loans, not equity loans, so the loan options are based on your income and creditworthiness. Companies that provide these types of loans give the money directly to the homeowner upfront, not the contractor. This makes life easier for both you and the contractor when it comes time to get paid.

3. Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Image Credit: Synergy Design & Construction

You may be in a position that you can increase your borrowing power with a loan that factors in the after-renovation value of your house. In other words, if you have paid down your mortgage to the point the value of your home exceeds the outstanding balance, you can borrow a percentage of the equity. The benefit of this approach is that it may allow you to tackle your entire home improvement wishlist at one time.

Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are secured by the borrower’s property. Home equity loans give the borrower a lump sum upfront, which the homeowner then pays back in fixed payments over the life of the loan. Like mortgages, they have a fixed interest rate.

On the other hand, HELOCs are like lines of credit which means you can use the loan as needed up to a preset credit limit. Unlike home improvement loans, HELOCs have a variable interest rate, and the repayments are usually not fixed.

A home equity loan is better if you prefer fixed monthly payments and know exactly how much money you need for your home improvement project. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) might be a better fit for financial needs over time or if you want flexible access to your equity that you can pay off quickly.

4. Construction-to-Perm Loans

Image Credit: Synergy Design & Construction

Construction loans are often used for homeowners who want to build a custom home or who are interested in undertaking a significant major renovation. This type of loan provides a line of credit to fund the purchase of the property and pay for the construction of the home as the work is completed. The loan then converts to a permanent mortgage upon completion of the project.

A construction loan is often the best way to finance your new home project because it uses the value of the house upon completion to determine your loan amount. This often means clients can fund more of the project through the loan. The application and approval process for a construction loan is very similar to a standard mortgage.

As a home remodeler, we cannot give financial advice on which is the right solution for you. We do, however, partner with our clients to help them navigate the various options and provide a helping hand in working out how they can pay for their dream home remodel.

For more information on financial resources, visit our website.

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