Comparing 4 ways to pay for home renovations

After months of lockdown during the pandemic, many have become aware of the failings of their homes. Whether you want a cosmetic update or think your home may have a more serious problem, how to pay for a renovation may be your main concern.

We asked Todd Nelson of home improvement lender LightStream for suggestions on how to decide which projects to do and how to stretch your budget without derailing your long-term financial plans.

“Rather than procrastinate because you don’t know what to do first, it’s best to prioritize your projects,” wrote Nelson in an email. “If you’re not sure about the condition of your home, consider having your home assessed by a licensed home inspector. Tackle structural and mechanical system issues as soon as possible to ensure your home’s physical integrity and safety, as well as to prevent costly repairs in the future.”

While hiring a home inspector

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11 programs that help first-time homebuyers get a mortgage

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  • To qualify for a conventional mortgage, you typically need a 620 credit score, 36% debt-to-income ratio, and 10% down payment.
  • But there are programs that help first-time homebuyers get mortgages even if they don’t meet conventional loan standards.
  • You may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage, a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or a program specific to your state.
  • You can also get a special loan if your home requires significant repairs after moving in.
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Buying your home may feel like an insurmountable challenge, because you have to meet multiple requirements to qualify. Conventional mortgages typically mandate at

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I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

Dear Moneyist,

I got married recently and moved into my husband’s house that he shares with his parents. (His name and his parents’ name are on the deed.) Currently, we pay a small amount for rent, but my husband hopes to take on the mortgage of the house over the next couple of years. I am the breadwinner, and so the majority (or even all) of the money that would go towards the mortgage would be coming from me.

Before fully committing to this, are there any precautions I need to take? Or what are the risks I could be facing? I am worried about what would happen if I end up paying off their home, and they want to sell it or my in-laws pass away, or if they decide to give their share of the house to my husband’s sister, or if my husband and I separate (which

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