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As the name suggests, home improvement loans exist to enable borrowers to make improvements to their properties, with the aim of increasing the value of that home. Such improvements can include adding an extra room, remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, replacing the roof, building a garage, installing a pool, or completely decorating and re-carpeting the whole house. To be eligible for a home improvement loan, the borrower must own their own home or be making regular mortgage payments on their property.

These are secured loans, based on the current equity in the home. Borrowers can potentially qualify for tax deductions on the home improvements as long as the work is one their primary property and not a vacation home or rental property. The interest rates on these loans tend to be relatively low, when compared with personal loans, as the lender is not taking much of a risk, and can assume that the improvements will add value to the property.

There are two types of loan available to borrowers; traditional home improvement loans and FHA Title I home improvement loans. The traditional loan requires the borrower to own at least twenty per cent equity in their property, preferably more. The collateral for the loan is the existing equity in the house, along with the expected additional equity that will be generated by the home improvements. The lender secures the loan by taking out a first or second lien. The term for this type of loan is usually ten years, although this can be extended to fifteen depending on the amount borrowed. The interest paid on the loan is tax deductible.

The second type of loan, the FHA Title I loan, is part of a US Government sponsored program intended to enable homeowners to improve their properties, even when they have little or no equity in their homes. These loans are available through approved lenders, usually banks and the borrower does not need to have equity I their home to use as collateral.

Some home improvements that are considered luxuries, such as installing a pool or barbeque pit, are not allowed under the Title I program. The term of the loan can be up to twenty years, and these loans are available to individuals with poor credit history, so long as they can prove their recent financial affairs to be in order. Under this program, if the loan request is less that seven and half thousand dollars, the lender does not take a lien on the property. The requirements for Title I loans are less stringent that traditional home improvement loans, making it possible for almost all homeowners to take out such a loan.

If you are considering buying your first home you should check to see if there are any special programs available in your chosen community for first time buyers. There are various things to look out for in a first time buyers program which include ensuring that the provider offering the program has been established in your community for a reasonable length of time. Some mortgage companies come and go, and supposed special offers may be deceiving. You should also check the requirements for the program. The best programs will be aimed at helping low or moderate income families. They should offer low interest rates, reduced deposits and low closing costs. Also check if they offer education on home buying.

Whether you are buying your first property, or considering taking out a home improvement loan on your existing residence, always thoroughly consider your options, check what programs are available to you, and if you are confused, get some good financial advice from an impartial source. Choosing the right type of loan and a good provider can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.

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