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Home Repair & Renovation Loans

Common Home Improvement Projects and How to Pay for Them

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In the world of home improvements, there are a slew of projects that exceed the budget of a run to the hardware store, but fall short of a full renovation. The most common home improvement projects, in fact, fall into this monetary middle, often costing in the low five figures. From upgrading an outdated kitchen to refinishing a basement, these projects can add significant value to your home.

But how can you keep the costs in check? And more importantly, what are your options for how to finance a home improvement project without exhausting your savings or starting a lengthy home equity loan process? Start by looking at creative ways to save on some of the most common mid-range home improvements. Then you can explore financing options — such as applying for a personal loan — to make these home improvement upgrades a reality. 

Upgrading the kitchen

When it comes to improving your home, you might think immediately of your kitchen — and for good reason. Not only do you spend a considerable amount of time and energy in the kitchen, but it’s often the most important space to potential homebuyers.

While a kitchen remodel is one of the more expensive projects you can undertake, there are many ways to upgrade without embarking on a wholesale renovation. For example, painting existing cabinets can provide an instant update to your space for a fraction of the price of purchasing new ones. Refacing cabinets, which entails replacing the fronts of the cabinets but leaving everything else in place, is another cost-effective option. Upgrading appliances can also modernize the space and make working in the kitchen more enjoyable.

Another way many homeowners update their kitchens without a full remodel is by replacing countertops. Shop several different suppliers to get a sense of the price range of popular materials such as quartz and granite. To save, look at different thicknesses of countertops, explore whether a remnant could work in your space and consider alternative countertop materials.  

Updating bathrooms

Redoing bathrooms is a popular way to modernize your home and add some convenience and comfort in the process. Replacing the vanity can be a good place to start. Consider purchasing a freestanding vanity instead of custom cabinets to give your bathroom a refresh at a lower price point.

You can also make your dollars stretch further by identifying small spaces for tile accents, instead of tiling the entire room. For instance, you can purchase more expensive tiles for your shower floor but keep the walls relatively basic, or you can consider tiling behind the sink while leaving the other walls painted. Also, pay attention to accessories. Changing cabinet pulls, faucets and light fixtures can give your bathroom a modern edge (black handles, for instance, are very on-trend right now). Splurge on good lighting and then look for deals on handles or other items you need to buy in bulk.

How much will your remodel project cost? Use our home remodel calculator to find out. 

Revamping floors

Everyone loves the idea of pulling up outdated carpet to find pristine wood floors hiding underneath. In reality, redoing your floors usually entails a bit more planning, but it’s an effort that’s worth it. Replacing carpeting with wood, refinishing older wood floors or refurbishing outdated carpet can transform your home. The cost of flooring ranges considerably depending on the material you select, but the best thing you can do is explore multiple types of flooring before you commit. For instance, compare solid wood to laminate or engineered wood to see if you can save money without sacrificing style. Also, be sure to shop around — the lowest price isn’t necessarily the best. Talk to installers about what they charge and get a feel of how far your flooring budget can take you.

Readying for a home improvement project? Our Homeowner’s Financial Checklist can help.

Finishing a basement

Transforming unfinished space into usable square footage is a surefire way to add value to your home and improve your own quality of living while you’re there. To begin, think about what you need from the finished space — more room for the kids or guests, a home office or an extra bedroom, for example. Determine what parts of the project you can do yourself and whether you’ll need a contractor to help, and then price out materials and any outsourced labor. To keep the cost in check, consider creative ways to save. For example, instead of putting in new flooring, explore whether painted or finished concrete makes sense for your space.

Paying for improvements

These not-so-small common home improvements often come with a price tag to match. However, you may be able to use a personal loan to finance your upgrades. Unlike a home equity line of credit or home equity loan, a personal loan for home improvement projects doesn’t require that you use your house as collateral. You can customize your loan amount to fit your project and budget, borrowing up to $35,000. It’s a quick and easy application process — most people get a decision the same day — and funds can be sent as soon as the next business day after acceptance. 

Home improvement projects can help you upgrade your home without draining your savings or requiring a larger loan. Make smart choices about your mid-range remodel, and you’ll enjoy your home that much more. 

Want to know more about how Discover can help finance your home improvement project? Read About Home Improvement Loans