GreenSky Review: Loans for Home Improvements

GreenSky Review: Loans for Home Improvements

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GreenSky is a financing platform that services loans to fund home improvement projects on behalf of more than a dozen banks in the U.S. Borrowers with at least fair credit, or a credit score of at least 650, are the best candidates for a GreenSky Direct Home Improvement Loan; if you have poor credit, you won’t qualify. You can borrow up to $55,000 with APRs ranging from 6.99% to 23.99% on loan terms of 36, 60 or 84 months.

Unlike a traditional loan, which fund your bank account with a specified sum of money, your loan balance will be loaded onto a GreenSky Direct payment card. Spending is limited to home improvement merchants, including contractors, big box home improvement stores and local hardware stores.

GreenSky review: Should you apply?

One of the standout features of a GreenSky Direct Home Improvement Loan is its deferred-interest option. Qualified borrowers can pay 0% interest for 12 months, then a 6.99% to 23.99% APR applies, when loan funds are spent to hire a GreenSky Pro — prescreened professionals in your area — for their home improvement project. That makes it a good option for those willing to limit their search for a contractor to GreenSky Pros. Complete a simple questionnaire to be automatically matched with a list of GreenSky Pro contractors.

If you choose not to take this route, APRs range from 6.99% to 23.99%. Funds on your GreenSky Direct payment card are available for six months — for home improvement-related purchases only — or until you’ve reached your credit limit. A GreenSky loan is not ideal if you need to fund an urgent home repair, though. That’s because it can take up to 10 days for your GreenSky Direct payment card to arrive in the mail. Borrowers also need at least a 650 credit score or higher for approval.

It’s best not to apply if you don’t meet this criteria, as the GreenSky application involves a hard inquiry on your credit. If you do apply and are approved, you can create a GreenSky login to use the company’s online portal to manage your account and make payments. In addition to the GreenSky online payment feature, you can also pay by check or phone.

A potential downside of taking out a GreenSky home improvement loan is the negative feedback the company has received from customers. About 300 negative GreenSky credit reviews have been filed against the company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Common issues include problems getting the loan and fees or interest charges customers didn’t expect. The agency notes that it doesn’t verify all the facts alleged in complaints, but it’s important to be aware of other consumers’ experiences when making a decision about whether to work with GreenSky.

Eligibility criteria

GreenSky has no income requirements for borrowers, but you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a credit score of 650 or higher

It’s worth noting that eligibility information listed on the GreenSky website is very limited. Additional criteria likely applies.

Loan terms and requirements

GreenSky offers home improvement loans of up to $55,000, with APRs starting at 6.99%. Your GreenSky payment will be due on a monthly basis.

Terms and Requirements
Loan amount rangeUp to $55,000
APR range6.99% - 23.99%
FeesNo origination fee or prepayment fee
Loan terms36, 60 or 84 months
Repayment optionsMonthly

Rates and terms accurate as of August 27, 2019.

Application process

Complete an online application to determine your GreenSky home improvement loan eligibility. The first page of the application requires personal information, including your Social Security number, annual income and whether you’re using a cosigner. Next, you’ll be asked to provide your address, loan details and information on your cosigner, if applicable.

After submitting your loan application, you’ll receive a decision in a few minutes, according to GreenSky. Since the GreenSky application process involves a hard inquiry on your credit, it could negatively affect your credit score. Therefore, it’s wise to apply only if you’re confident you’ll be approved for a loan. If you’re approved, you’ll receive a "Notice of Approval" via email, with a link to your loan agreement and other loan documents.

If your application is approved, you might be granted a higher loan amount than requested. GreenSky calls this "over-accommodation," which provides a buffer above the requested amount to assist borrowers with home improvement projects that go over budget. If you’re hit with unplanned expenses, this could keep you from having to seek additional financing elsewhere. But it might also tempt you to spend more, so make sure only to use the funds you need to complete your project as planned.

Upon approval, you can get a GreenSky credit login by creating an account on the company’s online portal. This will allow you to manage your account, view billing statements and make payments online. You’ll receive your GreenSky Direct payment card in the mail within 10 days.

Loan Process
Application processOnline
Time to get fundsUp to 10 days
Credit checkHard credit check when you apply
Cosigners/Co-borrowers allowedYes

Alternative financing options

GreenSky won't be the best option for everyone and there are other resources out there. We've listed some alternative options for you to consider below.

Federal renovation programs

The federal government offers several financing options for home repairs. The most popular form of assistance for home repairs or improvements is available through government-backed home improvement loan programs.

Some offerings are available at the national level, while others are only offered by certain states and counties. Options include the HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan Program and the 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program. To learn about programs available in your area, contact your state Department of Housing and Urban Development office or local or county government housing department.

Personal loans

A personal loan for home improvement can help you get the financing needed for upgrades or repairs. Some of the benefits of personal loans include not having to put up collateral, as the loan is unsecured, and having fixed monthly payments.

The biggest drawback of personal loans are the interest rates. Here’s a look at average best offered APRs by credit score as of the first quarter of 2019, according to LendingTree.

Credit score range
Average best offered APR
Average loan amount
Less than 560136.50%$3,549

Depending on your credit, taking out a personal loan could result in higher interest charges than option for a GreenSky loan.

Credit cards

A credit card with a 0% APR promotional offer could be a good alternative for smaller home improvement projects. But it’s crucial to pay off your purchases before the end of that period, when the APR will increase. As of 2018, the average APR on all credit cards was 14.22%, according to the Federal Reserve, which could easily make putting home improvements on a credit card pricey without a 0% APR.

Additionally, the average credit card limit was $22,589 as of the first quarter of 2019, according to Experian. Limited funding means credit cards aren’t a viable option for larger projects.

Home equity loans

Another option is to borrow against the equity you hold in your property with a home equity loan. If you have a lower credit score, this secured loan could be more accessible to you, since the loan is backed by your home. That means it’s less risky for lenders to extend you credit. But if you fall behind on loan payments, you risk losing your home.

In most cases, the maximum amount you can borrow is 85% of the equity in your home, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Other factors that contribute to the loan amount include your income, credit history and the market value of the property.

This can be a good option if you have enough equity in your home to fund the loan and are certain you can keep up with payments. Otherwise, try one of the many alternative methods of financing your home improvement project.

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