Florida is the favorite state of many due to its warm tropical weather, lifestyle and abundance of entertainment. Some of the famous Florida attractions include Disney World, Universal Studios, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With so many amazing things to do, it’s not a surprise that many growing families flock to the Panhandle State.
In the past year, the population of Florida increased 1.3%, which is substantial on an annual basis. Because of this, the median price of a home in Florida has risen along with the demand for homes. The latest reports from the Florida Realtors Association is that two out of every three Florida sellers are getting their asking price or more.
With rising home prices, many Florida homeowners are turning to home improvement loans (also known as renovation loans) to improve their existing home rather than upgrade by buying a larger house. It’s an easy way to add value to your house without the hassle of moving, negotiating with a seller, and figuring out all the logistics of setting up home in a new place.
Many homeowners are not familiar with home improvement loans and how they work. They’re also unaware that with the rising home prices of the past five years, many homeowners can finance a home improvement project at very little upfront cost.
Benefits of a home improvement loan in Florida
As discussed above, there are a lot of benefits to taking out a renovation loan in Florida. These loans allow homeowners to finance updates or additions to their home, which improve the overall value of the home, while also providing more functionality to a growing family. They can also be used for landscaping projects and improvements to areas outside of the home.
Another popular use of a home improvement loan is adding office space. With many companies transitioning to a work-from-home environment (either full-time or part-time), it’s becoming more and more essential to have office space at home. Office space also increases the value of the home since many home buyers are looking for office space when purchasing a new home.
Others are using a home improvement loan in Florida to finance a new kitchen or to finish an unfinished basement, giving the family more space, and increasing the square footage of the entire home. Because home improvement loans are secured by the value of your current home, home improvement loans generally do not require collateral.
The best home improvement loans in Florida offer homeowners financing that is quick and easy to access with low APRs (annual percentage rate) and no penalties for prepayment. Most home improvement loans in Florida have flexible terms for repayment. When applying for a home improvement loan in Florida it’s important to find a lender that offers a loan suitable to your needs.
Many borrowers consider using a credit card or HELOC (home equity line of credit) when pursuing a home renovation or home repairs. While that’s a perfectly reasonable solution, often borrowers find that the loan amounts available in a renovation loan, combined with the minimal increases in their mortgage monthly payment, ultimately make the home improvement loan more appealing than a credit card loan.
It’s also important to make sure you work with a loan officer that specializes in home equity loans. Unlike traditional mortgages, a loan officer specializing in renovation loans will be able to guide you through the process and make sure you’re taking full advantage of the programs offered by the bank.
5 Best Florida renovation loans
1. TD Bank
TD Bank is one of the largest banks in the country with over $600 billion in assets, making it the sixth-largest by deposits in the United States. Not surprisingly, TD Bank has a robust home improvement loan product and has a lot of interesting features.
We spoke to a TD Bank loan officer who personally closed over $300 million of mortgages last year to learn more about the TD Bank renovation loan program. Here are the details:
- 720-740 FICO score desired
- Primary or secondary homes are eligible
- Fixed rate and ARMs are available
- No pre-payment penalties
- Interest rate locked before construction begins
- No Condos or Co-Ops. No investment properties.
If you’re interested in connecting directly with a loan officer at TD Bank that specializes in home improvement loans, we can put you in touch with them directly.
2. Space Coast Credit Union
The folks over at Space Coast Credit Union offer a home improvement loan up to $650,000, so long as you have a minimum credit score of 650.
We contacted Space Coast Credit Union to get more details about their program:
- One Application, One Closing and One Paperwork Filing
- Up to 90% Financing Available
- Fast Pre-approval Decisions, Online or Over the Phone
- No Intangible Tax
- SCCU Member Service for the Life of the Loan
- SCCU Interest Rate Guarantee
If you’re interested in connecting directly with a loan officer at Space Coast Credit Union that specializes in home improvement loans, we can put you in touch with them directly.
MidFlorida is a regional credit union based in Lakeland, Florida with a home improvement loan.
MidFlorida will review and approve your builder before funding the loan and requires inspections prior to each draw.
Our research indicated that you can also expect to find the following terms with respect to their home improvement loan program:
- Down payment as low as 10%
- Financing is secured before construction begins. You only need to be approved once.
- Interest-only payments during construction
- One-step, one-time closing
- Flexible loan terms up to 30 years
If you’re interested in connecting directly with a loan officer at MidFlorida that specializes in home improvement loans, we can put you in touch with them directly.
4. WinTrust Mortgage
Wintrust Mortgage is one of the top 20 bank-owned retail mortgage originators in the country that originates in excess of $4 billion in loans annually in all 50 states.
Recently we asked Wintrust Mortgage to provide us with details on their home improvement loan and this is what they said:
- One-Time Closing. Only pay the closing cost once
- Lock in your rate upfront and avoid interest rate risk
- FHA, VA, and Conventional options
- FICO 680+
- Stick Built and Modular Homes ONLY
- NO log homes or metal homes (barndominium)
- Tear Down and Rebuilds do qualify
- No self-build or owner builders. The builder must be approved.
- Does Not allow ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Unit – Granny Flat/Garage Conversions/Basement)
- Now lending in all 50 States
If you’re interested in connecting directly with a loan officer at Wintrust Mortgage that specializes in home improvement loans, we can put you in touch with them directly.
5. Lake Michigan Credit Union
Lake Michigan Credit Union is based in Michigan but also lends in Florida thanks to all the snowbirds who own homes in both states! Not surprisingly, Lake Michigan has a home improvement loan product for those that want to expand or improve their existing homes in either Michigan or Florida.
We contacted Lake Michigan Credit Union to learn more about their home improvement loan and this is what they said:
- One-Time Closing. Only pay closing cost once
- Lock in your rate upfront and avoid interest rate risk
- 5% down
- Loans up to $2,000,000
- 15-yr & 30-yr fixed or 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 AMR’s amortized over 30 years
- Interest-only during the construction period
- Escrows not required during the construction period
- Equity bridge loans available
- No minimum credit score
- No self build or owner builders. The builder must be approved.
- Not available in Miami-Dade County or Broward County Florida
If you’re interested in connecting directly with a loan officer at Lake Michigan Credit Union that specializes in home improvement loans, we can put you in touch with them directly.
Does a Florida home improvement loan make sense for you?
Before you begin the process of applying for a home improvement loan, you should ask yourself if a Florida home improvement loan makes sense for you and your family. There are a lot of reasons that a home improvement loan would benefit your home and its value.
Because of rising home prices, it can be difficult to justify buying a larger house, or an entirely new house just because you need an extra bathroom, a finished basement, or even an extra garage.
When considering these types of home equity loans, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind:
- The lender will not require excellent credit but will review your credit history, because the ultimate decision to lend is still based on your ability to repay the loan.
- There could be origination fees associated with the renovation loan, so you’ll want to speak to a loan officer to understand the loan options, loan rates, fees and everything else that ultimately determines the total cost of the home renovation loan.
- Some of the loans have minimum loan amounts and maximum loan amounts, so when reviewing the loan offers during the application process, you’ll want to make sure your renovation project has sufficient funds for completion.
- There may be tax benefits associated with home improvement loans (e.g. tax deductible interest). Consult with your tax professional to understand if the loan offer you’re reviewing has tax benefits for you.
- If you’re unsure about your eligibility for these type of loans, it’s easy to get pre-qualified with a lender before you commit to actually taking out the loan.
Once you’ve decided that increasing the value of your home makes more sense than buying a new home, the next step is to narrow down the list of lenders that provide home improvement loans in Florida so you can compare and make the best decision.
Whatever you decide, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with a loan officer in Florida that has a complete understanding of home improvement loans and preferably someone who specializes on home improvement loans to ensure you’re receiving the best advice and guidance during the process.
We’re happy to match you with a loan officer by connecting you directly. We’ve helped many people just like you secure a home improvement loan in Florida.
If you’re looking to explore home improvement loans in other states, check out our national guide to home improvement loans and get started exploring all 50 states.
Josh’s blog has become my one-stop shop for the latest in financial news, strategies, and tactics. There are plenty of other finance and investing sites, but nothing so squarely targeted at lawyers. If you’re a lawyer who wants to better understand your finances and the markets, it’s a must read! —Keith Lee