Jul 21, 2023

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Philip or Flop DIY deck renovation

In 2021, Discover® Personal Loans worked with Philip, self-described “DIY junkie” and author of the popular home improvement blog, Philip or Flop. Philip’s followers read his blog or Instagram account to watch the step-by-step process he uses for each of his projects, which range from installing landscape lighting to revamping his kitchen’s range hood. 

Philip decided to add a new porch to the back of his home. He used a Discover personal loan to help bring his dream porch to life.

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Saving for a DIY home remodel

The existing open-air wood deck was only about 10 feet by 10 feet and could barely fit an outdoor table. Philip wanted a much larger screened porch, complete with a sitting area, fireplace, and eating space.

Philip and his wife made a regular habit of setting aside money for their DIY home projects. They had budgeted for the porch project. But as often happens, they saw costs rise during the five-month project:

“We saved A LOT for this porch. But with the run-up in building prices in 2021, we needed some extra to cover the gap that created,” he said. “We used our Discover personal loan to help us pay for some of the materials to complete the construction.”

Options for financing DIY home projects

When Philip learned that his savings wouldn’t cover his DIY home improvement costs, he explored these other options and their pros and cons before settling on a personal loan:

Using an existing credit card

The main benefit of using an existing card is easy access to funding. But the credit limit might not be high enough depending on the project budget. Plus, interest and fees can add up fast if the whole balance isn’t paid every month.

Opening a new credit card with an interest-free introductory period

A new credit card may allow extra time to pay with no interest. But any remaining balance at the end of that period might rack up very high interest charges.

Using home equity for credit

A home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) could make sense for DIY home projects that cost more than a personal loan. Interest rates might be lower than for credit cards and personal loans, but these loans can take longer to fund. In addition, HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates, which means they could get more expensive if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

Using a personal loan for DIY home remodel

Discover personal loans range from $2,500 to $40,000, which gave Philip flexibility when he budgeted for the higher cost of materials. “We didn’t need a large sum of money where a home equity line might have been more useful,” Philip said. “And we didn’t want to use our credit card. So, a personal loan really made the most sense.”

“We have not taken out a personal loan before, but we love how easy this process was,” Philip said. “It was a 10-out-of-10 experience.”


- Philip, DIY expert and author of Philip or Flop

As a first-time personal loan borrower, Philip was surprised at how simple Discover Personal Loans made the experience. Discover offers flexible repayment terms, so you can choose the one that works for you. Plus, most people get a same-day decision. And there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

“We have not taken out a personal loan before, but we love how easy this process was,” he said. “It was a 10-out-of-10 experience. It was really fast and really easy to get through all the steps. Financial transactions can sometimes be confusing, and I felt that Discover’s process was designed really well.”

Making DIY home improvement dreams a reality

Discover’s dedicated loan specialists also played a role in his ultimate choice of loan product. “I really liked that, to finalize the loan in the last stage of the process, I got to talk to a real person on the phone who could answer any of my additional questions,” Philip said. “Computer systems are pretty smart these days. But there is still nothing like talking to an expert on the phone.”

Once the financing was in order, Philip and his father worked hundreds of hours to make his vision a reality. The finished porch looks like it was always part of the house. But the best part is that he thinks an observer would be hard-pressed to believe it was a DIY project and not one that used professional contractors.

Taking the stress out of home DIY projects

Now the family has a beautiful backyard retreat where they can relax and enjoy a meal, a wood-burning fire, or a cup of coffee in the morning. Philip’s Discover personal loan made it possible. In fact, he says the entire process was so easy the loan doesn’t cross his mind anymore.

“We are really glad that Discover gave us the option to set up automatic payments,” he said. “Now that we have those in place, we really don’t even have to think about it again until it is paid off!”

Learn more about how you can use a Discover personal loan to fund your dream home improvement project.

Go to Home Remodel Loans

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