Home Renovation Loan FAQ's

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about RenoFi home renovation loans.

RenoFi Home Equity Loan basics

Lenders base this on several different metrics including your current home value, your home’s estimated “after renovation value,” your outstanding mortgage, and your overall financial health. Most lenders allow RenoFi Loans up to $500k, though please note that loans over $250k will have stricter qualification criteria. Additionally, most lenders allow homeowners to borrow up to 125% of the current home value and up to 90% of the after renovation value. Try the RenoFi Loan calculator to see how much you can borrow.
RenoFi currently works exclusively with credit unions that provide RenoFi Loans. RenoFi will identify the best credit union for your situation, which usually means the one who can offer the best rates, lowest fees and the right loan amount.
Yes. RenoFi home equity loans are just like any other home equity loan, meaning the lenders offering these loans take a lien against your property. This is what enables the rates to be so low while also enabling you to borrow so much. Loans that don’t come with a lien, considered “unsecured,” like a personal loan, generally have rates that are 2-3x higher and limit how much you can borrow significantly.
Yes. RenoFi Loans act as a second mortgage, which means they won’t touch your first mortgage. No need to refinance your first mortgage if you’ve already locked in low interest rates!
No. RenoFi Loans act as a second mortgage, which means they don’t require you to refinance your first mortgage. With so many homeowners having locked in ultra low rates, this is especially helpful and one of the key things that makes RenoFi Loans so unique!
Yes, most lenders offering RenoFi Loans allow you to apply once you’ve closed on the home, meaning they don’t have any “seasoning” requirements. The RenoFi Home Equity Loan is specifically designed for homeowners who’ve recently purchased or are about to purchase a home, and are therefore “equity light,” and aren’t able to borrow enough with a traditional home equity loan.
Nope. RenoFi doesn’t charge any fees to the homeowner and doesn’t set rates so there will be zero difference in the cost of your loan. In fact, if you contact the lender directly, due to the nature of how we work with lenders, they’re going to send you right back to RenoFi to go through RenoFi’s unique Renovation Underwriting process.
Once you collect all of the documents necessary to apply for a RenoFi Loan and connect with a lender, it is possible for a loan to close in less than 30 days, but it depends on your unique situation and the lender that you’re matched with. Due to COVID-related delays in the real estate lending world today, loans today are taking about six weeks to close for most lenders. Once things return to normal, most homeowners will be able to close in under 30 days. RenoFi cannot guarantee that you will be approved for a loan with any of our lenders, or in any specific time frame.
See how much you may be able to borrow with a RenoFi Loan, get an estimated monthly payment and find a lender in about 90 seconds.

Rates, Terms, Fees and Prepayment

Rates are set by the lenders and can vary slightly lender to lender. RenoFi home equity loan rates vary depending on several different factors but the two most critical are: your credit score & the loan to value ratio (LTV) based on your after renovation value. In general, RenoFi Loan rates are often better than the home equity loan rates you’d find at most banks. That’s possible because RenoFi Loans are offered by credit unions who are well known for having low rates & fees. To learn more about rates, try the RenoFi Loan calculator today.
The lenders that we work with currently offer variable HELOC rates, as well as fixed and variable home equity loan rates, depending on your location and project. Fixed rate home equity loans are not available in all states. If you’re not sure which of these you’re interested in, click here to learn more about the different options that may be available. Get connected with a RenoFi advisor to learn more.

Lenders offering RenoFi Loans may charge fees as they would for any home equity loan. Fees for RenoFi Loans typically average around $495, which includes all processing and underwriting costs paid by the consumer to the partner lender other than the cost of the appraisal.

Your appraisal will range in cost based on renovation size, complexity, and geographic location. Most of the appraisals we facilitate on behalf of the lenders are under $500. It is important to note that the lender is taking the application and making a loan decision and that it is possible that you pay for an appraisal and are not approved for a loan.

During the renovation, some lenders may charge a monthly fee or a higher rate, but this is temporary and will cease once the renovation completes and RenoFi issues a certificate of completion.

RenoFi provides lenders with our Renovation Underwriting services. These services include a thorough review of the renovation project cost and scope, due diligence on the contractor, reconciliation of the appraisal and monitoring of renovations in progress. As such, if you decide to proceed with a RenoFi Loan, we will be paid for these services by the partner lender. RenoFi doesn’t charge any fees to homeowners and there is no obligation to obtain a RenoFi Loan.

The RenoFi fixed-rate home equity loan being offered by some of our lending partners has term options of 10, 15 and 20 years. The RenoFi variable-rate home equity line of credit structure varies by lender. You can learn more here on the RenoFi Loans page. Please note lender programs vary by lender and lenders vary by state. Speak with a RenoFi advisor today to learn more.
Nope! Lenders offering RenoFi Loans today do not have any prepayment penalties built into their loans.

Comparing RenoFi Loans to other options

A home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to borrow against the current value of your home, whereas RenoFi Loans allow you to borrow against the after renovation value, or future value of your home. For homeowners who have been in their homes for 10+ years, borrowing against current home equity is fine because they’ve built up a lot of equity over the years and don’t have as large of an outstanding mortgage balance. But for recent homebuyers, a true renovation loan often offers higher borrowing power. It is important to note that if you take a RenoFi Loan there is no guarantee your home will increase in value and, in rare cases, you may owe more than your home is worth.
Typically, cash-out refis only let you tap up to 80% of your home’s current value. That doesn’t sound too bad until you compare it to home equity loans, which can go up to 90% of your home’s current value. What’s even better is that RenoFi Loans allow you to borrow up to 90% of your home’s after renovation value. Some homeowners who are interested in refinancing due to record-low mortgage rates and who are also starting a renovation project will choose to combine a cash-out refinance with a RenoFi Loan. Learn more here.
RenoFi Loans do not require draw schedules, inspections or refinancing, like typical construction loans do. Many contractors despise construction loans because of these in-depth requirements. Read this article to learn more about the differences between RenoFi and construction loans.
RenoFi's lending partners are currently offering several variations of RenoFi’s financial products, one of which is a HELOC. You can learn more about the HELOC and all of RenoFi’s loan products here. We understand how the different terminology can be confusing - a HELOC (which stands for Home Equity Line of Credit) is a specific form of a home equity loan which typically has a variable rate and enables you to draw the money down as you need it.
Nope! We’ve designed RenoFi Loans in a way that makes life much easier for homeowners & their general contractors. The entire loan amount is made available by the lender up front. After the renovation is completed, the appraiser visits the home to issue a certificate of completion. Read more about the differences between RenoFi Loans vs other loan types.
Yes! The refinance will need to be completed before you officially start the application process with a lender, but we encourage you to get started by looking at our application checklist.

Appraisals based on the After Renovation Value (ARV)

After renovation value is the estimated value of your home after your renovation is complete. You can estimate your after renovation value by using the current value of your home, plus the added value of your planned renovations. Homeowners can borrow up to 90% of their home’s after renovation value through a RenoFi Loan. You can find out your home’s after renovation value by getting an “as completed” appraisal on your home. This appraisal is based on the proposed renovation plan, on the condition that it is completed. Read more about how the after renovation value is determined here.
RenoFi’s close partnerships with quality lenders in your area have given us a solid network of real estate appraisers. You must use an approved RenoFi appraiser, who we have ensured is capable of completing ARV appraisals, and who our lending partners have approved as well. You’ll need to complete your home appraisal before we send you off to apply with one of RenoFi’s lending partners. Keep in mind that paying for an appraisal is no guarantee that your loan will be approved. Learn more about how to prepare for a home appraisal.
We don’t re-appraise the home, but we do facilitate an inspection to confirm that the renovation was completed as planned and we’ll issue you a certificate of completion (CoC). This is required by lenders offering RenoFi Loans.
The after renovation value is determined using an "as completed" appraisal on your home before the renovation, and it will never change after that. However, if your after renovation value is less than originally estimated, then RenoFi will still do everything we can do to help you source financing. There is certainly a chance that the appraised value results in RenoFi's inability to source financing for you.

Qualifying for a RenoFi Loan

Before you apply with the lender, you will meet with a RenoFi Advisor to help you understand exactly what lenders require for eligibility. However, your lender will ultimately qualify you for a loan, not your RenoFi Advisor. Read the top 10 reasons homeowners aren’t ready for RenoFi Loans.
Most lenders require a score of at least 660. RenoFi doesn't run your credit, so your credit won't actually be checked until you formally apply with the lender. However, it's a very good idea to check this beforehand as this is typically a strict minimum and it will save you from wasting time. There are websites that allow you to do so for free online.
Yes. We can work with you before closing on a home to gather as many necessary documents as possible, so that as soon as you close, we have all documents needed to send the application along to our lending partner. Remember, you should let your proposed lender know before you close if you are sure that you will be applying for a RenoFi Loan.
RenoFi Loans can be used to finance primary residences only.
As of right now, no. Lenders offering RenoFi Loans don’t allow homeowners to use a RenoFi Loan to finance renovations on an investment property.
If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, it could cause your application to be declined from a lender depending on how recent the bankruptcy was discharged. Most lenders will require two years to have passed since the date of the discharge, but other lenders have more strict requirements. Schedule a call with a RenoFi advisor to get more information.
If you work for yourself you will have a slightly harder time getting approved by any lender. This isn’t specific to just RenoFi Loans, the same requirements exist for just about any type of mortgage. You should be prepared to provide additional documentation and information to the bank while applying, so the RenoFi partner’s underwriting staff will feel more comfortable lending to you. Our team can help you prepare for this — for starters, you’ll typically need two years of tax returns showing income at the same levels at which you hope to qualify. See #2 on this list for more information on debt to income ratio requirements.

Yes. However, this may inhibit how many subcontractors you can use, depending on your experience level. If you are a GC by trade, with years of applicable project experience and references, you can use as many subcontractors as you’d like.

If you are not a GC by trade, RenoFi will cap you at three subcontractors for two main reasons. First, RenoFi cannot evaluate your experience in managing subcontractor relationships if you don’t have significant GC experience. Second, RenoFi completes a detailed analysis of every GC a homeowner uses, and if you are not a GC by trade, RenoFi will have to instead complete that detailed analysis on each of your subcontractors, which requires a significantly larger financial investment on our side. This is why we limit our “part-time” GCs to three subcontractors or fewer.

This is tricky. Once the loan has closed it's not possible to go back and amend the loan. We work with our homeowners to ensure they have some wiggle room in their budget to pay for things that might pop up along the way.
Not yet. RenoFi’s lending partners follow government guidelines - so any home listed for sale within the last six months cannot be eligible for a RenoFi Loan. Therefore, if you were considering selling your home and had it on the market, or still do, it will need to be off the market for at least six months before you can qualify for a RenoFi Loan.
If you missed a mortgage payment in the last two years, it will be significantly harder to get approved for a RenoFi Loan. Some lenders have stricter guidelines, which can vary on the severity of the missed payment. Talk to a RenoFi advisor to find out more.
No. However, if you have an existing second mortgage, your RenoFi Loan would consolidate that loan.

Preparing to apply & finding a lender

There’s lots of documentable information related to your home, your income and your general financial situation that you need to have ready before you apply with a lender. If you’re interested in applying for a RenoFi Loan, we recommend reading this checklist, as well as the Top 10 Reasons Homeowners Can’t Qualify for a RenoFi Loan article.
If you know you’re ready to go, submit an initial form to get started, and our team will let you know what your next steps are, what lender options might work for you, and which RenoFi Loan product would work best for your project.
Yes, however you’ll ultimately apply with one of our lending partners. First, RenoFi will prepare you to apply for a RenoFi Loan and connect you with a lender, all of which can be done online (or over the phone). To start this process, schedule a call with a RenoFi advisor.
Our national network of lenders serves homeowners all over the country, and some of our lenders provide RenoFi Loans to homeowners in different states. We match our homeowners with the lender that can give them the best rates, lowest fees and most money, which may not be the closest lender geographically. Once you’ve submitted an initial form you’ll be connected with a dedicated RenoFi Advisor who will share the lenders serving your area. You decide whether to apply or not and with whom.

RenoFi’s services are free for homeowners, whether you decide to move forward or not. You can't obtain a RenoFi Loan without working with RenoFi first. We partner with specific credit unions to offer the RenoFi Loan, but our RenoFi team will do everything to prepare you to apply before handing you off to the credit union.

You can look at us as a concierge, who will walk you through the journey of considering and then preparing for a renovation. Banks love us because they prefer to work with educated consumers. After our process, you’ll be ready to rock and roll with your lender. Our RenoFi advisors are seasoned experts that will guide you through finding the best financing option for your renovation project, regardless of whether or not you decide to apply for a RenoFi Loan with one of our lending partners.

General Contractors

Yes. Lenders require finalized construction plans, along with a signed renovation contract between you and your contractor, and a detailed material and labor line item cost breakdown with a clear payment schedule. It’s important to get all of your ducks in a row before you make these commitments. Read this article to find out more about exactly what you need from your contractor in advance.
Different states have different rules and not all contractors need to be licensed, depending on your state. RenoFi follows the state requirements in this regard. Regardless, all contractors must go through a due diligence process that includes checking for licensing, general liability insurance and other parameters. This process is designed to make sure your renovation project, and any potential renovation financing, is set up for success.
Yes. However, they or you will still have to go through the RenoFi due diligence process, which is a process to ensure that your contractor is ready to tackle your proposed renovation project. Read more about the process in the answer below. This process ensures that your GC is licensed (as required by state), insured and experienced.
Your contractor must pass the RenoFi due diligence process. There are three main aspects to this process:
  1. Licensing - Most states require GCs to be licensed - even if your GC is a family member or friend, they still need to abide by state regulations for licensing.
  2. Contractors’ Insurance - Regardless of licensing requirements, your GC must provide proof of general liability insurance with sufficient coverage for the project.
  3. Experience - To pass RenoFi’s due diligence process, your GC must be a GC by trade with sufficient experience on projects of similar size and scope to what you’re planning.

If your GC is not a GC by trade, he/she cannot use more than three subcontractors. The process also requires that your contractor provide references, reviews, their reported average renovation size, and evidence that they provide workers compensation, if they have W-2 employees. If your GC is not a GC by trade, you will have to report this information for your all of your subcontractors. All of these steps are required to ensure that the homeowner and lender are protected in this process. Learn more here.

You’ll need to have finalized construction plans and a signed renovation contract before you officially apply with your lender. We realize it may sound counterintuitive to finalize construction plans before you have secured financing, and that’s why we recommend scheduling a call with a RenoFi advisor as soon as possible to learn more about eligibility requirements from the lenders offering RenoFi Loans.
The money goes directly from the lending institution to you, the homeowner. Then you, the homeowner, pay your contractors directly, just as if you were using your own cash to pay for the renovation.

About RenoFi

RenoFi serves as a home renovation financing chaperone, helping homeowners in each step of the renovation financing process. Often, the first part of our job as a chaperone is educating homeowners about all of the potential renovation financing options, and which options could work best for them. RenoFi aims to make sure that homeowners applying for RenoFi Loans with partner lenders are well-informed, confident in their decision, and well-prepared. Homeowners can use RenoFi advisors to learn about the different financing options available, get pre-qualifed for a RenoFi Loan, obtain a home appraisal, secure loan application documents or get matched with a lender.
We currently have two types of RenoFi Loan products, which have the structure of a traditional home equity loan but borrow against the after renovation value of your home, like a construction loan. We are currently working on launching our third product, a RenoFi cash-out refinance. See the RenoFi Loans page for more information.
The idea for RenoFi came in 2017, but the company wasn't officially started until January of 2018. In a very short time we’ve already helped homeowners fund hundreds of millions of dollars worth of renovation projects (including those in the works), and we recently secured funding to grow even more. Our credit union partners have been around for decades.
RenoFi partners with credit unions nationwide that offer RenoFi Loan products. We continue to welcome new lending partners all the time as we expand this network.

How do I know if a RenoFi loan is right for my project?

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