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Paying for Repairs or Renovations

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 10 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Home Repair home Renovation home

For most people, taking on a mortgage will be the biggest debt that they are ever willing to accept. They do this not simply due to the joy of owning their own home, but because these properties are also investments that are likely to appreciate in value during their lifetime.

For the lucky few this increase in value might happen overnight or with little effort, but most of the time keeping up the appearances of properties and making necessary repairs and renovations is required. Unfortunately repairs and renovations cost a lot of money, but there are some ways to free up cash for these purposes.

Speak with a professional financial advisor regarding your specific circumstances, but most homeowners can finance repairs and renovations with the assistance of grants, loans or by releasing equity from their mortgage.

Grants

Most local authorities offer some type of home repair or home renovation assistance grants to those who live within their borders. Though the terms and conditions of these grants will vary, most grants are awarded in order for home owners to make urgent repairs, to improve insulation or energy efficiency, and/or to increase home safety and security. Generally all of these grants are means tested in some way, meaning that you would need to prove both that these repairs are required and the details of your personal finances. Grants to help make your home more eco-friendly and accessible to disabled inhabitants may also be available from you local authorities. Check government websites or call in to government offices for more information.

Loans

Unlike grants, which are usually awarded on an as-needed basis and only when funds are available, loans are a much more common means of financing home repairs and renovations. Loans are usually taken out from banks, credit unions or private lenders and they may be at a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate. Fixed interest rate loans are those that are locked in at a certain interest rate percentage, while variable rate loans are subject to fluctuations. Often homeowners take out personal loans to cover the cost of home repairs and renovations, and usually the money lender will require details of your personal finances before agreeing to the loan. Read all of the terms and conditions of a loan carefully, as some may penalise you for extra repayments or paying back the loan early.

Releasing Equity from a Mortgage

Releasing equity from an existing mortgage is another common means of financing home repairs and renovations. In order to use the equity that they have built up, mortgage holders may either ask for more funds from their existing lender or remortgage with another lender. This frees up cash to pay for home repairs and renovations, but it does mean that the length of the mortgage will be extended and/or monthly repayments will increase. To prove that they can afford these new terms, prospective buyers will usually need to prove their personal income and finances.

Financing home repairs and renovations can be tricky, but most homeowners can free up funds by applying for grants, taking on new loans or releasing equity from an existing mortgage. Anyone considering repairing or renovating their home should obtain professional estimates regarding the cost of these operations, and seek professional advice on the means of financing that best fits their circumstances. Never should a repair or renovation scheme be undertaken that is so costly that it puts the home itself in jeopardy.

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