As you prepare to start your home renovation project, you're probably considering different borrowing options to help with costs. You may have heard of friends or family members borrowing from their 401(k) plans to pay large expenses. If you're wondering whether this is a viable option for you, consider the following information carefully before making a decision.
Depending on the type of 401(k) you have, you may be allowed to apply to your employer to borrow from it. Check any restrictions on how you can use the loan, such as only for education expenses, mortgage payments or medical expenses. Typically, 401(k) plans cap borrowing at half your vested balance or $50,000, whichever comes first. You will then have up to five years to repay whatever you borrowed plus interest. You may be thinking, 'It's my money. Why do I have to borrow it?' Since a 401(k) is designed to help you save for retirement, there are early withdrawal penalties if you don't pay back what you borrow within five years.
A 401(k) can seem like an attractive borrowing option as there is the potential for a lower interest rate, a quick turnaround, no need for credit approval and the fact that any interest is paid back into your account, not a lending institution. However, there are several disadvantages to consider:
Borrowing against your 401(k) plan should be carefully considered vs. alternative options. There are other ways to afford a home renovation that present less risk to your current income and future plans. A home equity loan borrows against the equity built in your home. Home equity can be accessed in the form of a loan or a line of credit.
If you are a planning a full-scale remodel, a home equity loan might be the best choice as it can cover the large up-front costs of such a project. However, if you are remodeling over a longer stretch of time, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) might be a better choice since it has more flexible repayment terms and a revolving credit line.
As you prepare to remodel your home, speak to a Home Loan Advisor from Citizens Bank for information on home equity financing. He or she can explain which home lending product will best meet your borrowing needs. Call or visit a Citizens Bank branch to ask a Home Loan Advisor about home equity loans or lines of credit today.