Low-cost borrowing options to fund your home improvement projects

Smart Money Secrets

Low-cost borrowing options to fund your home improvement projects

With better weather just around the corner, it’s that time of year when many of us aim to get those home improvement jobs and DIY projects underway.

Few of us are fortunate enough to have sufficient cash in the bank to pay for that kitchen makeover, revamp of the bathroom, or landscaping in the garden, so picking the right finance is important if you’re looking to keep the costs in check.

It’s important to do your homework before signing the dotted line for a loan or credit card as making the wrong choice can end up costing you a lot more than it ought to.

There are plenty of options when it comes to borrowing the money you need, but don’t fall into the trap of assuming that taking a loan from your own high street bank is best the way to go.

If you’re looking to borrow £7,500 or more then, yes, the banks are keen for your business and are offering some very tempting deals at the moment; at time of writing, M&S Bank is offering 3.3% APR, one of the cheapest interest rates ever seen for unsecured borrowing.

However, if you only need £2,000 or £3,000 towards the cost of your home improvements, this is where the banks are much more expensive.

If you wanted to borrow £3,000, the average personal loan rate is a whopping 16% APR, with some high banks charging as much as 29.9% APR, so you can see that it makes sense to shop around to avoid being ripped off.

If you’re comfortable that you can afford to repay what you borrow within the next two years, it’s worth considering a credit card offering 0% interest on your purchases.

The best-buy interest-free credit cards from Post Office Money and Sainsbury’s Bank are worth a look, giving you 27 months and 25 months respectively to repay your borrowing without charging you a single penny in interest – as long as you make the repayments on time.

If you’re not sure you can manage to repay within that sort of timescale, but still want a very affordable option, another smart choice is the Everyday Plus credit card from MBNA. This credit card charges a very competitive 7.4% APR and, unlike the vast majority of credit cards, it enables you to transfer money into your bank account without a transfer fee.

So while you’re on the lookout for those new kitchen appliances or getting a quote to give the bathroom a makeover, don’t forget to check out the specialist personal finance websites too. Try www.moneynet.co.uk and www.money.co.uk to point you in the right direction for the latest low-cost credit card and personal loan options.

Article by Andrew Hagger
Independent Personal Finance Analyst