Whether you are upgrading or remodeling your home, a home improvement loan can help you meet your needs. In addition to a home equity loan, there are other options you may want to consider. A home improvement loan can be used for a wide range of projects, including structural damage, accessibility upgrades, room remodels, and energy-efficient upgrades. These loans are secured by your home and may include closing costs and origination fees. They are generally more expensive than personal loans, and require a longer underwriting process.
If you are considering a home improvement loan, consider whether or not you want to pay off your loan in a lump sum or spread it out over a period of time. If you are planning on making major improvements, it may make more sense to take out a home equity loan. This is an installment loan that is repaid over five to thirty years. It may also include origination fees and closing costs, and the amount you borrow cannot exceed 85% of the value of your home.
Before hiring a contractor, check with your local building codes office to see if your project requires a permit. In addition, make sure that you are hiring a qualified contractor who is aware of the requirements for permits and inspections.
New York state law requires you to have a written contract for home improvement work. This contract must include details such as the scope of the project, the date the work will begin, and a payment schedule. If a contractor does not meet these requirements, you may be able to file a complaint with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and receive a civil fine of $100 per day. In addition, you may be able to sue for actual damages or reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Home improvement contractors must be licensed in certain counties. New York City, Westchester County, and Suffolk County are among the counties in which licenses are required. However, some counties allow license assignment. A licensed contractor can be assigned to another contractor, but you must get the approval of the licensing authority. The Department of Consumer Affairs can seize vehicles used in unlicensed home improvement activity.
If you are not certain whether or not a contractor is licensed, you may want to ask friends or neighbors for recommendations. Make sure you also ask about the contractor’s insurance, references, and performance.
Some contractors are members of reputable associations. However, many unlicensed companies are part of the “grey market.” Having a detailed list of all work needed will help you find the most qualified contractors. This list will also help you negotiate with contractors and lock in firm prices.
If you do not have a home improvement loan, you may want to consider a personal loan. These loans have higher interest rates, but do not have collateral requirements. In addition, they may be a more flexible alternative if you have good or excellent credit.