Tapping

How to Pay for a Home Remodel Without Tapping Your Equity

Erin Nelsen’s house could use more walls.

The certified financial planner works outside the home from an office in Cypress, California. But her husband, Shawn, works from a makeshift home office in their kitchen. From there, he hears his kids attending online school through an opening to the adjacent dining room.

To accommodate his new working conditions, Shawn taped a “sound-insulating foam barrier” in the opening, Nelsen says.

Other homeowners have used their time sheltering in place to make more permanent changes. About one-third (34%) of homeowners who have done improvements since March 1 started sooner than planned because they had more free time at home during COVID-19 social distancing measures. That’s according to a NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 800 homeowners who have done home improvements since March 1.

Seven percent of those renovating homeowners used a home equity loan or line of credit to pay for the update.

Equity can be a low-cost resource to finance your remodel, but it takes time to build up, which may make it difficult to start a project earlier than planned. Homeowners looking for faster options can consider the following non-equity ways to pay for a remodel.

Use your own money

The most common way people have been paying for their renovations is with their own money, according to the survey.

Roughly one-third (34%) of homeowners who have made home improvements since March 1 paid for their renovations with available funds from their checking accounts or current paychecks. One quarter (25%) used money they had specifically saved for the project.

Using your savings lets you cover renovations and repairs interest-free, says New Jersey-based certified financial planner James Kinney.

That means if you don’t already have the funds to remodel your kitchen, “my approach would be for

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