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Upgrade Review

Wednesday, May 29th

2024 Home Improvement Loan Reviews

Upgrade Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating
  • Home improvement loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, structured as personal loans
  • Origination fees from 1.85% to 9.99%, deducted from the loan amount
  • Repayment terms from 24 to 84 months
  • Accredited with an "A+" rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Collaborates with two lending partners
  • Collaborates with two lending partners

Founded in 2017, Upgrade has emerged as a prominent player in the financial services sector, offering a wide array of products tailored to meet the needs of consumers, including home improvement loans, rewards checking, credit cards, and financial literacy resources. With its headquarters in San Francisco and additional offices in Phoenix, Atlanta, Orange County, and Montreal, Upgrade has earned the trust of over 2.5 million customers, facilitating loans exceeding $24 billion since its inception.

No surprises in the application process

Applying for a home improvement loan through Upgrade is straightforward. Begin by specifying the desired loan amount, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, and indicating the purpose of the loan. (Be aware that, regardless of the purpose, loans offered by Upgrade are all structured as personal loans.) Provide personal information for yourself and any co-applicants, and disclose annual income details, with specific guidelines outlined for self-employed individuals.

ID verification required

Finally, to access loan rate quotes, create an account with Upgrade using your email address and chosen password. Identity verification requires providing your full Social Security Number. In instances where Upgrade cannot locate your credit profile, you will be notified of the denial and that's as far as you'll be able to go.

Origination fees deducted from loan

You'll need to factor in origination fees, which can range from 1.85% to 9.99%. Failing to account for these fees could result in an unwelcome surprise when your funded amount is less than you expected (because the fees are taken from the proceeds prior to landing in your account), so use that knowledge when deciding how much money is needed for your home improvement project.

Best Home Improvement Loans

A-B-C from the BBB

Upgrade collaborates with two financial partners, Cross River Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, to facilitate home improvement loans. While Cross River Bank holds a "C-" rating from the BBB, Blue Ridge Bank enjoys a more favorable "B+" rating. Despite those varying partner ratings, Upgrade maintains an "A+" BBB rating, giving us some confidence in its overall service quality.

Lots of compliments from clients

With nearly 40,000 Trustpilot reviews, Upgrade maintains a strong reputation, with 92% of customers awarding the company a 4- or 5-star rating. Although some customers make reference to experiencing slightly longer processing times than anticipated, the majority offer praise for the quick, easy, and reliable loan application process. Notably, Upgrade's willingness to accommodate borrowers with credit scores below 600 resonates positively with customers, especially those who've been turned down for home improvement loans in other places.

Good but not quite great

Upgrade receives a modest rating from us. While it remains a reliable option when you need cash for a home improvement project, particularly if you have a lower credit score, steep origination fees and high interest rates keep Upgrade from being able to compete with our higher-ranking lenders.

Where Can You Get the Best Home Improvement Loans?

Need some extra cash to make some changes to your house? Home improvement loans are here to help you tackle those renovation projects. Whether you're planning to overhaul the kitchen with all-new cabinets and countertops, get rid of that 70s-style bathroom, or add curb appeal to your property, these loans provide the financial support you need to make it happen.

When it comes to applying for a home improvement loan, going online offers you a convenient and accessible option. It's no wonder that online home improvement loans have become so popular. With just a few clicks, you can explore a variety of lenders and loan terms from the comfort of your own home.

The Best Home Improvement Loans Compare Home Improvement Loans Compare Home Improvement Loan Reviews What are the best Home Improvement Loans Best Home Improvement Loan Reviews

Home Improvement Loan FAQ

In general, there are four types of financing for home improvement: home improvement loans, which don't depend on having any equity in your home, cash-out refinancing, home equity loans (HEL), and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). The loan that's right for you will be affected by several factors, such as current interest rates, the amount that you want to borrow, and your credit history.
Great question! Both types of loan assume that you've got some equity built up in your property, and you use that property to "secure" your loan. Home equity loans are more like a traditional loan: you get an upfront lump sum and make fixed payments over your repayment term. On the other hand, a home equity line of credit lets you borrow as needed, up to a predetermined limit: your interest rate may be variable, so your payments can increase or decrease over time.
Basically, yes. Your loan is rarely tied to any particular use. Maybe you thought you wanted a new kitchen, but now an in-ground pool sounds more fun. Or, perhaps you planned to upgrade your bathroom, and then all of your appliances died after a lightning strike. No problem! The money is yours to use as you see fit.
That depends. With a traditional home improvement loan, the amount you can borrow will largely be determined by your credit history, current amount of debt, and your income. If you're borrowing against the equity in your home, you may be able to get a loan for up to 85% of your equity. For example, if your home is worth $300,000 and you've got $200,000 left to pay, then your equity is $100,000: you may be able to borrow up to $85,000.
If you need money fast, your best bet is a home improvement loan rather than a home equity loan. With a home improvmeent loan, you could get funds deposited within a day or two of being approved. Any lending tied to the equity in your home takes much longer, often including a (new) house inspection and underwriting. But, keep in mind that home improvement loans often have higher interest rates than home equity loans.
The home improvement loan process is much easier than an equity-based loan, and you'll receive your money much faster - but you're likely to get the best rates and terms with a cash-out refinance (if interest rates now are lower than when you obtained your current mortgage) or a home equity loan. Keep in mind, though, you can get your money with a home improvement loan in just a day or two, while an equity-based loan can take weeks.
It's not impossible. You're more likely to qualify for a home equity loan or line of credit, because your home's value can secure the loan. But, there are also some home improvement loan providers that work with individuals that have less-than-perfect credit.
You can... but unless you've got a 0% APR card with a high credit limit and you can pay it all off within the introductory no-interest period (usually 12-21 months), you're going to wind up paying a lot more in interest. A LOT more. Check out your other options, which are tailored for this type of project, before using a credit card to fund home improvements or repairs!
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Online applications streamline the process, eliminating the hassle of in-person appointments and extensive paperwork. Instead, you can submit your application quickly and easily, receiving loan offers and getting funds deposited - all without ever leaving your computer or smartphone.

Before you start filling out applications, it's important to understand that not all loans labeled as "home improvement loans" are structured the same way. Some are specifically tailored for home-related projects, while others, particularly those offered online, are often personal loans.

Personal loans provide you with a lump sum of money that you can use for various purposes, including home improvements. Unlike home equity loans or lines of credit (HELOCs), which are secured by the equity in your home, personal loans are unsecured and don't require collateral.

The distinction between personal loans and HELOCs is crucial for you to understand. HELOCs allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes, making them ideal for large-scale renovations or projects that require substantial funding. While HELOCs may offer lower interest rates and tax benefits, they also come with the risk of losing your home if you default on payments.

On the other hand, personal loans offer you flexibility and accessibility. They don't require equity in your home, making them accessible to homeowners with limited equity or those who don't want to put their homes at risk. Personal loans often come with fixed interest rates and repayment terms, simplifying budgeting and planning for you. Additionally, the application process is typically faster, with funds disbursed quickly - sometimes within a few days of approval.

So, with all of the options out there, how can you tell where to start your search for a home improvement loan? Here are some ideas for sifting through the various platforms and choosing the right one for you:

  • Referral service or direct lender. Do you want to compare loan offers from multiple financial institutions at once? Then choose a site that serves as a referral platform. But, if you'd prefer the peace of mind that comes from a single application with a lender you already know and trust, you've got solid options that way as well. It's a matter of personal preference.
  • Borrower qualifications. Does the lender or platform have any minimum criteria you'll need to meet, in order to be eligible for a home improvement loan? That could be a particular credit score, monthly income, or even a particular state of residence.
  • Maximum loan amount. If you've got a major home improvement project in mind, you may need more than a few thousand bucks to get it done. Some lenders cap their loans at $35,000 (or less), so check that out first.
  • Reputation. Have other homeowners successfully used the site to get the funding they needed? Were there any surprises during the application process or afterwards? Has the lender or the referral platform been rated by the BBB?

Ready for renovations? The experts at Top Consumer Reviews have reviewed and ranked some of today's most frequently-used sites for home improvement loans, so that you can turn your ho-hum house into something truly Insta-worthy in no time.

The Best Reviews of Home Improvement Loans