Which is the Best Home Improvement Loan?

Posted by bmedia on Friday, November 6, 2015

Stonebridge Mortgage Group_Which is the best home improvement loan

A home improvement loan allows you to finance a renovation project for your house. Home improvement could include remodeling, repairs, painting your home and more. When choosing the type of home loan that is right for you consider interest rates, tenor and the amount available. Find the best home improvement loan for renovating your house below. 

Top-up loan

This is a loan that can be taken over and above an existing home loan. But it can be taken only after a certain number of years of the home loan being sanctioned. Most banks fix this at over 3-6 years. The interest rate is usually base rate plus a certain percentage. For example, at Bank of Maharashtra, top-up loans are offered at base rate plus 1.25%, which would work out to be 11.5% at present.

The maximum tenure is usually 15-20 years, depending on the tenure of existing home loan. “A top-up loan is almost like a personal loan, except that it comes with lower interest rates,though not as low as home loan rates,” said Shetty.

Most top-up loans are restricted to 70% of the property value. But the actual percentage would depend on the market value of the property and the borrower’s repayment ability. The processing fee is typically 0.5-0.75% of the loan amount.

You can avail tax deductions for a top-up loan also if purpose of the loan is home improvement. “If the loan is for, say, an additional parking space, which is part of property acquisition, the customer will be eligible for a tax rebate on both the principal and interest paid towards the top-up loan. This is included in the rebate she would avail from the current home loan,” said Shetty. Most banks levy no prepayment charges on top-up loans taken by individuals.

Personal loan

Personal loans are among the costliest credits available, as their interest rates range between 15% and 24% per annum. Prepayment charges are also high—2-5% of the principal outstanding. The maximum tenure offered is usually only 5 years, which means the equated monthly instalment (EMI) would be high as compared to loans with longer tenures. The processing fee is also on the higher side—2-2.5% of the loan amount. There are prepayment charges and a lock-in period to contend with. For instance, ICICI Bank charges 5% of principal outstanding as prepayment charge and you need to wait for 6 months before you can prepay. HDFC Bank does not allow part prepayment; foreclosure is available only after 12 months.

While expensive, personal loans are easy to get since no collateral is needed, paperwork is less and disbursement usually takes place in 2-3 days. Some banks also offer special rates to women customers, for example, Bank of India offers 0.5% concession on interest rate for personal loans to women.

Gold loan

If you are not eligible for a home improvement loan or personal loan due to, say, credit history or if the house is not in your name (it may be a family or ancestral property), you could consider gold loans. These are considered as an alternative to personal loans. Disbursement usually takes only 1-2 days, but the interest rate at 14.5-17% per annum is much higher than a top-up or a home improvement loan. With a gold loan, you get only get up to 80% of the value of gold, and the tenure is typically 12-15 months. This means that you need to pledge more gold for higher amounts and pay higher EMIs.

Loan against property

If you have finished paying your home loan, you could consider taking a loan against property (LAP). Even though LAP has better rates and longer tenures than a personal loan, it should be considered only if the amount needed for home improvement is big.

“By opting for LAP, the borrower is mortgaging an expensive asset—the house—for a small amount of loan, and she cannot use the value of the property to obtain any other credit that may be available in the market later,” said Shetty.

There is a limitation on the loan amount that can be disbursed and it may vary across lenders. “Total loan exposure is restricted to 60% of property’s market value for an existing customer and 50% of the property value for a new customer,” said the HDFC spokesperson..

Mint Money take

In terms of cost, a home improvement might be the cheapest and easiest form of credit, followed by a top-up loan. “Home improvement loans score over personal loans or LAP as the interest rates are lower and tenors longer,” said Raj.

If opting for any of these two loans, choose a floating rate over a fixed one as in current conditions, interest rates are expected to move downwards. Only floating rate loans have no prepayment charges.

Ideally, you should save for home improvement and avoid taking a loan. However, if you decide to borrow, remember that a comparison between institutions for interest rates and charges could result in significant savings.

Buying a new home? Stonebridge Mortgage Group, Inc will secure the real estate loan that is right for you. Our years-worth of happy customer referrals demonstrate the care we put into every loan. Learn more about our Real Estate Loan Integrity.

SRC: Read more about  the best home improvement loans at: www.livemint.com/Money/jc8zjrIkGaICKub4XJrW1L/Which-is-the-best-home-improvement-loan.html

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