How to Offer Home Improvement Financing to Customers
Over the last few years, home improvement financing plans have been more of a point of focus for homeowners and service providers than they have ever been before.
In a world where innovation and change continue to be central in our lives, it comes as no surprise that the need for home remodeling is still elevated.
The stats are revealing.
A research brief published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University stated that the home improvement and repair industry in the United States amounted to roughly $400B of homeowner expenditure in 2019.
With that in mind, a 2020 report from PR News Wire indicated that 75% of homeowners are actively seeking financing to fund part of their home revamp project. In fact, the report went on to reveal that 30% of the sampled market was willing to request funding for the entirety of the project. This represented a 7% increase from the previous year where only 23% were aiming to fully finance their home improvement project.
In summary, the demand for finance plans coupled with the sheer volume of expenditure that the industry consistently records makes offering home improvement financing a lucrative service for your business.
In this blog post, we will get into more detail regarding the benefits that offering finance plans has for lenders. We will also cover the types of finance plans you can deliver to customers as well as the best way to go about doing so for maximum impact on your business’ earnings.
Let’s get right into it.
An Overview of Home Improvement Financing
Home improvement financing is an unsecured loan granted to homeowners, property owners, or qualifying property overseers to offset the costs associated with home development.
Usually, these types of developments are categorized as changes within the physical structure of the home. However, home improvement may also include gardens, lawns, and outdoor structures such as porches, garages, and gazebos. They also tend to involve activities that lend themselves to home improvement but may not necessarily be structurally-related such as painting, home repairs, and moving.
Credits: The U.S. Census Bureau
In any event, the lender (the one providing the line of financing) determines the rates, terms, and conditions to which the borrower (the one to whom the financing is granted) must adhere.
In most cases, someone who is given a home improvement loan is bound to a repayment agreement that requires monthly payments or fixed installations. They are also known for having fixed rates of interest as opposed to ones that fluctuate throughout the life of the loan.
What Home Improvement Financing Does For Lenders
From the point of view of a home improvement company or small-scale contractor, offering lines of finance for customers who wish to leverage your services is one of the most beneficial initiatives you can undertake.
- Boost the sale/use of your services: Companies or professionals who offer home improvement finance options stand a greater chance at securing clientele for their services than those who don’t. The logic is all based on statistics. As has already been mentioned, ¾ of homeowners are actively looking for some way to finance their home improvement projects. The same report from PR News Wire shared that price was the single most important factor in deciding on a contractor. Therefore, the implication is that by offering a finance plan which enables a customer to avoid the full brunt of their home improvement costs all at once, it increases the chances that they will contract you to handle their project: therefore, the natural consequence is a surge in your orders.
- Improve your customer reach: Apart from augmenting the possibilities that you record more sales, offering finance options also widens the pool of possible homeowners who may be interested in partnering with you. By presenting finance plans to cover the cost of a project, you are now opening up your services to new sub-segments of your target audience who may not have considered collaborating with you previously but have since changed their mind. Therefore, in addition to growing your sales, you are also growing your client base by tapping into new niches within your market segments.
- Stand out among your competitors: When done correctly, attractive finance plans help to position you as an ideal option to possible partnering homeowners in the face of your competitors. With the need for financing for home projects on the rise, there are still many home improvement service providers who neglect to offer this type of help to their customers. By being one of the few that does, you enable your business to sit comfortably among competitors, especially if your finance plans are in line with what your customers are looking for.
- Improve brand image: Offering home improvement financing is a way to show customers that your company and brand care about their financial wellbeing. It forms a huge part of customer service as it indicates that you have taken time to understand your customers’ pain points and challenges in order to develop a solution that makes their task a bit easier. Not only does this help retain clients and build loyalty among your customers, but it also presents your branding in a positive light as one which truly cares about its homeowners.
Types of Home Improvement Financing
Before delving into the best way to go about offering home improvement financing to potential customers, let us first go more in-depth about what type of loans are most typically offered.
By examining what is currently on the market, you get to understand what homeowners expect you to offer so you can adjust your services to suit.
Here is a breakdown of the most common ones which are usually presented to customers:
Unsecured Personal Loans
In its purest state, a home renovation finance plan is packaged as an unsecured personal loan: this is the way in which it is advertised to customers. This is because in most cases, unlike secured loan options, this loan doesn’t require you to hold up assets or collateral in order to be approved for one.
Therefore, most homeowners will expect this type of finance plan to feature the terms and conditions of an unsecured personal loan.
For that reason, a home improvement finance plan is known to have a high-interest rate. This is because from the eyes of the lender, this type of financing is riskier than others since you are not binding any personal asset to it.
What’s more, these lines of finance also tend to demand that applicants have a good credit score or a history of excellent credit repayment supported by an institution (such as a credit union or previous lender). This is a way to gauge their chances of repayment based on their credit history since the loan is not secured by a linked asset.
To make matters worse, these types of loans do not promise any type of tax benefit to homeowners. This means that customers cannot claim any deduction on a personal loan as would occur with standard mortgage interest.
Home Equity Loans
Also known as a second mortgage, a home equity loan permits one to gain approval for a loan based on the equity that their property has acquired over a set period of time.
To provide you with an example, let’s say a homeowner has an existing mortgage balance on their property of $350,000 against a property value of $450,000.
This would leave that homeowner with a home equity loan of $100,000 against which they could borrow to fund their home improvement project.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
Oftentimes confused with home equity loans, home equity lines of credit is a different type of financial product that operates like a credit card.
As opposed to granting a homeowner a lump sum of money all in one go, it enables them to access a line of funding that has a credit limit.
The homeowner can then use the funds on an as-needed basis, never exceeding the limit which was set.
The credit amount granted varies based on the lender’s policies.
Usually, it is calculated as the difference between 80% of the value of your home and that of your home loan.
With cash-out refinancing, the homeowner is granted a new home loan that exceeds the current mortgage amount.
The difference between the two loans is then used as cash to fund your home improvement project.
With this line of credit, closing costs tend to be elevated (around 2-5% of the entire mortgage) private mortgage insurance depending on the amount borrowed, and overall higher interest rates.
The Dangers of Traditional Finance Plan Partners
The aforementioned finance plans are common throughout the home improvement industry. However, that does not mean that homeowners are satisfied with these types of lending options. As a business operating in the home improvement space, it is important to understand the dangers associated with offering these types of finance plans.
Here is a roundup of these challenges:
- Unsuitable interest rates: Offering a homeowner unsecured personal loans and cash-out refinance may subject them to high-interest repayment terms. These conditions may not be financially favorable to the borrower either due to the amount in the interest rate or the time period over which they are required to make those elevated payments.
- Unfavorable repayment periods: As previously alluded to, the terms and conditions which are integrated into each of these loans are different. Depending on your customers’ unique financial situation, none of the repayment time periods presented in these finance options may be suitable for their needs. Consequently, offering them a finance plan that does not align with their specific circumstances does nothing to help them.
- Loan limit: Some homeowners have ambitious remodeling projects which cost anywhere from several hundred thousand to even north of a million dollars. The loan types mentioned previously all have caps that can prevent homeowners from accessing the amount of funding they need to undertake their project.
- Stripping customers of tax benefits: Some finance loans and lines of credit offer tax deduction possibilities and other benefits to borrowers based on the peculiarities of their profile. However, some of the finance plans listed above forcefully deny homeowners these benefits. Needless to say, this constitutes a highly unattractive downside to a homeowner and can be decisive in your ability to capture that client.
In short, the type of plans examined previously are not flexible: they do not grant the borrower any room to work with. Either they accept the loan payment terms and conditions or they look for an alternative way to fund their home project.
These are the types of financing options that home remodel providers ought to steer clear of. After all, to offer a finance plan that your customers cannot use is equivalent to offering them none at all.
The best way to offer home improvement financing to customers is to create flexible, made-for-you options.
Why Customized Home Improvement Financing Works
Personalized home improvement financing is the best way to grant customers the solutions they are looking for. This simply means tailoring a finance plan to each customer based on their specific financial situation and needs.
The benefits speak for themselves: they are a guaranteed formula to satisfy customer needs.
Customizable finance plans are built to provide their target, the borrower, with a solution that matches their exact need.
Therefore, you drastically reduce your chances of putting your homeowner in a disadvantageous financial position since you are basing your solution on each one’s unique profile.
In doing so, you ensure that your homeowner is provided with an affordable interest rate (should you opt to go that route) that they are comfortable with.
You also get to determine a repayment schedule across a given timeline that doesn’t put too much financial strain on their wallets.
Most importantly, you make it easier for homeowners to want to partner with you, thus enabling you to secure more orders on your services.
Here’s how Time Investment Company can assist you in delivering these types of solutions to homeowners.
TIC for Home improvement Financing
Time Investment Company (TIC) is a family-owned finance company with over forty (40) years in the industry delivering finance solutions to both businesses and their customers.
Among these solutions, we have consistently provided flexible, customized financial plans for businesses that make it easier for their customers to get approval on loan amounts. We do this for companies across all niches, including the home improvement niche.
We partner directly with home improvement service providers to allow your customers to access lines of funding at reasonable interest rates and acceptable repayment terms and conditions.
In comparison to other finance home improvement entities, through TIC, homeowners do not have to assume the payment of a full lump sum for your services in one go. Instead, they can pay a deposit and then clear off the remaining bill by making monthly payments at lower interest rates for the rest of the loan term.
As a small, close-knit family-run business, we value the needs and comfort of both businesses and customers alike. We are also especially sensitive to the plight of small and medium-sized businesses in their quest to deliver finance options to customers at a time where companies still continue to promote inflexible credit plans.
TIC has proven that businesses do not have to settle for less.
As an online lender, in total, we have collaborated with over 250K clients and have funded in excess of 775M in successfully-repaid loans.
Partner with a company that has a proven track record of aiding businesses in satisfying the financial needs of individual customers.
Takeaways for Home Improvement Financing
All in all, figuring out how to offer home improvement financing to customers centers around providing flexible, personalized finance plans.
Businesses cannot go wrong in satisfying their customers’ specific economic needs when a finance plan has been drafted based on their profile.
If you want your business to stand out as an innovative game-changer who actually cares about the financial situation of its customers, then flexible finance plans are the way to go.
We at Time Investment Company are poised to assist you in delivering these types of solutions.
Reach us via (800) 236-1177 to find out more on how you can get started offering a flexible finance program to your homeowners today.
Also, visit our home improvement financing page to discover more about what a partnership with us can yield for your business.