3 Ways to Afford That Fixer Upper

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We all have little things that bug us about our homes: no dishwasher in the kitchen, crummy carpeting in the bedrooms, not enough closet space overall. No home is perfect, and most of us make concessions when buying our houses in order to get other features we really want. But over time, these little annoyances can become too much to bear, and when they can’t take it anymore, many people opt to call up a local contractor and make arrangements to have the problem solved.

However, for most of us in this situation, solving one problem causes another. In the case of home renovation projects, the problem that’s created is how to pay for the work that’s being done. After all, upgrading your home isn’t cheap – even small projects can really add up in cost.

So what are your options for financing your home renovation project du jour? Here are three ideas for turning your house into a dream home:

Earmarked Savings

This is probably the slowest way to get the bamboo floors you’ve been lusting after or the ideal master suite, but it may just be the smartest. Creating a special savings account just for a home renovation project is a risk-free option for financing the work you’d like done to your home. Select an amount you’d like to have auto-drafted from your checking account on a regular basis and watch your savings grow, with very little effort on your part. To stay motivated, give your earmarked funds a nickname like “Dream Garage” or “Bathroom Makeover.”

An Interest-Free Credit Card

If the project you have in mind can’t wait, another financing option is using an interest-free credit card, especially if what you have in mind isn’t too expensive. Many credit card companies are hurting for new business, so there are lots of “teaser” introductory rates out there that will allow you to pay off the balance over 12-18 months without incurring any interest charges. A word of caution, though: only use a card if you have a history of being responsible with this type of credit. Otherwise, your renovation could end up costing much more than it needs to.

A Home Equity Loan

If you owe less on your house than it’s worth, a good choice for paying for a renovation might be to take out a loan against the equity in your home. Home equity loans typically carry lower interest rates than other types of credit and the interest you do pay is tax-deductible. Since many home improvements add value to your property, banks make it easy for you to obtain the funding to do so. Just be sure to pay back the loan on time and in full, as failure to repay a home equity loan could result in foreclosure.

Getting deck you always wanted or the kitchen you’ve been fantasizing about is easier than you think with one of the options above. So what are you waiting for? Get renovating today!

About Lindsay Meredith

Lindsay is a high school teacher and personal finance blogger. She lives, works, and plays in the Washington, D.C. area.

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