On the weekend, I touched on New Year’s resolutions, and with summoning the inner strength to hit the gym proving difficult and my rowing machine long gone, I decided to place fitness a little further down the totem pole in favour of getting our house in order. The deadline, of course, is Christmas, but given the extent of the renovations and changes we’re undertaking, it’s easier said than done for a number of reasons.
It was interesting to speak to friends who’ve taken on something similar, particularly those who have just purchased their first homes. One can easily forget that paying the deposit and getting a mortgage by no means represents the finish line when it comes to buying. Moving costs, stamp duty, agents and solicitors’ fees, surveys – these things all cost significant amounts of money, and by the time you actually move in, the costs of doing the renovations you originally envisaged can be quite prohibiting.
But, as far as possible, undergoing the changes which not only make your house more liveable, but also add value to it, shouldn’t be side-lined or deferred, even if it means turning to home improvement loans.
After all, as I recently discovered while doing some research, the marketplace for consumer credit has become rather user-friendly, and not only as a result of the record-low interest rates in the UK. Indeed, the online age has unlocked a new realm of loan providers within alternative finance, and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in particular have increased competitiveness in a sector formerly dominated by profit-hungry banks.
Good value and convenience
P2P platforms provide good value as a result of their lack of overheads (they function entirely online) and efficient business model, which involves matching those seeking a loan with fellow consumers, who opt to lend their extra money for better returns than they’d otherwise get in a savings account or ISA. As a borrower, this means low-cost loans, with a hassle-free process which involves a mere two-minute application process.
There is a screening process to ascertain your default risk, but, if approved, funds arrive within two working days. Furthermore, there is handy flexibility in both the amount you wish to borrow (£1,000 to £25,000) and the loan term (1 – 5 years). Some platforms like Lending Works even permit you the chance to make early settlements at no extra cost.
Price comparison sites give you an excellent idea of the best personal loans out there, and whether the best one for you turns out to be one from a peer-to-peer lender or not, you might be pleasantly surprised at the APRs – and convenience - on offer by the various providers.
What it all means is that if finance is your major hurdle for turning your house into a home, it need not necessarily be the blocker any longer. Certainly you wouldn’t want to take on any more debt than you feel comfortable with, but remember that your home is an asset, and taking on a loan in this case can effectively in time amount to an investment.
Of course it is only prudent to do a cost-benefit analysis of some kind, and perhaps overly-indulgent enhancements shouldn’t simply be taken on purely because of this new-found finance. But when it comes to our home, I know how excited we all are to get it into tip-top shape. Perhaps, if a little helping hand is what’s needed for you to do the same, it’s worth looking into?