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Monday, October 25th
Personal Loans works as a referral service for those looking to borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $35,000. You submit your information through a short online form, and Personal Loans' lending partners decide whether or not to offer you funding. If you are offered a loan, you'll then have to complete an application with the lender itself.
A+ from the Better Business Bureau
The last time we evaluated Personal Loans, the company had no listing with the Better Business Bureau. More recently, however, we were able to see that this service has an "A+" rating there, with only two complaints filed in the 12 months prior to this review. While Personal Loans doesn't have accreditation with the BBB, parent company IT Media Solutions does. Those are all good signs!
No information provided about lenders
But, compared with other referral services for home improvement loans, we don't love this platform. Why? There's no information about the lenders that Personal Loans uses in its network, requiring you to provide a lot of financial details without knowing who is going to be receiving them. Most home improvement loan referral services tell you outright which lenders they partner with, long before you offer your credit score, employment details, or current banking situation. How can the average consumer know if they're getting the best possible loan offers - or just offers from lending partners that benefit Personal Loans the most? Unfortunately, they can't.
Lack of details is concerning
In fact, most of the information you'll get from Personal Loans is disappointingly vague. Do they offer loans in your state? Apply to find out. How much money can you get? Apply to find out. What will your rates be? You get the idea.
Standard questions in the online application
Still think you want to give Personal Loans a try? To get started, you'll choose the reason for your loan from the dropdown box; options include debt relief, auto purchase, education, emergency, vacation, and so on. You can use your funds however you like, but Personal Loans may be able to match you with a loan tailored to your specific financial needs. For example, you might get better rates and terms on a loan for debt consolidation than a basic home improvement loan for a special occasion.
Some conflicting details
On the next page, you'll have to decide if you want to provide your zip code, last four digits of your SSN and your date of birth, to allow Personal Loans to see if you have an account on file. If you already know you don't, you can click on "skip lookup" to continue. Then, you'll be asked for your first and last name; this page also has the disclaimer that Personal Loans may share your information with their marketing partners, not just their lending network. On the page that asked how much we'd like to borrow, we were surprised to see that we could enter a requested amount as low as $100: everywhere else we looked on the Personal Loans site, it referenced a minimum loan amount of $1,000.
No choice but to provide personal information
From there, expect to be asked for a lot of personal information: your employer's name and contact information, how often you get paid and when your next paycheck will be, and even your driver's license number and SSN. There were also two pages where we could theoretically opt out of having our information being given to "extended network partners" and receiving "other credit-related offers" , but unchecking the boxes led to a red flag saying they were required! So much for having a choice.
Waste of time
After entering information for a sample candidate, we were taken to a screen with "sponsored listings" from Personal Loan's partners and given the opportunity to click to search matching loan offers on those third-party sites...where we essentially had to start the entire process all over again. Why waste the time?
Better options out there for home improvement loan referrals
Generally speaking, referral services for home improvement loans are a good idea if you want to save some time and hassle, getting curated funding options tailored to your financial situation. However, Personal Loans doesn't have much to offer when compared with more transparent services out there. You'll have a better experience as a prospective client with one of the higher-ranked sources of home improvement loans in our review.
If you're looking to finally renovate that kitchen straight out of the 70's, or build on the extra bedroom you need, chances are good that you don't just have the cash sitting around to get it done. Most homeowners use a home improvement loan to access the funds required to turn their house into a "home sweet home" .
There are several types of financing that can be used to make improvements or repairs. These depend on a variety of factors: the amount of equity you have already built up in your property, your credit history, and the amount of money you need.
If you have little equity in your home - in other words, you haven't made many payments on your mortgage yet, and you didn't put down much money at closing - you'll most likely use a home improvement loan to fund your projects. These loans are based on your overall credit history; the higher your credit score and the lower your debts, the better rates and terms you'll get.
On the other hand, if you've built up equity in your home, you'll be able to access three other types of home improvement loans: cash-out refinancing, a home equity loan (HEL), and a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Each type has its ins and outs, and not every loan type is appropriate for a particular borrowing need. For example, a cash-out refinance is great if you can reset your mortgage at a much lower interest rate - but it also comes with closing costs (which can sometimes be rolled back into the loan amount). HELOCs let you take money out as-needed, but interest rates can be higher than some home equity loans and are often adjustable: your payments may increase in the future.
As you can see, choosing a home improvement loan leaves you with some research to do. While considering your options, here are some guidelines to help clarify which service you should use:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for home improvement loans available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the money you need for your next big project!
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