Whether out of necessity, or simply keeping up with today’s trends, you’ve decided to take on a significant home improvement project this fall. Or perhaps a specific element of your home finally went kaput after a long, Alabama summer. We’ve all been there.

Either way, it’s time for repairs and updates.

You’ve probably done the fun part – picked out colors, textures, technologies or any other details that you’d like to have as part of the finished project. You’ve also carefully researched contractors and businesses in your area who you believe can provide you with top-notch customer service at a fair price. And, you’re not alone in seeking the services of a home improvement business, either.

According to a recent poll by Trulia, 90% of homeowners plan to remodel or renovate their homes at some point – an increase of 6% from the same time in 2018. And two out of five homeowners plan to make those changes within the next 12 months. Home improvement is on the rise, so local companies, as well as some of the big-box retailers, are taking notice.

But have you planned on how you’re going to finance your home improvement project?

Financing can be a decision you live with long after your project is complete. It’s an even bigger decision if the project is brought on unexpectedly, and you haven’t planned financially for it.

It’s quite common to consider financing a portion of – if not all of – your home improvement project costs, especially if you have challenges saving enough cash or have underestimated what the final costs would be.

Not to worry. Businesses understand the need to provide customers with a variety of payment options, financing and more. Your home is likely one of the most important things you own. You want to protect your investment by keeping costs low and comfort high.

Important questions to ask before you finance 

Don’t let the aspect of financing your projects keep you up at night. There are various avenues that you can take, depending on your circumstances, credit score, the contractor you choose to work with, and overall financial situation. Even if your finances aren’t the strongest, or if your credit score has seen better days, financing may be an option for you.

Let’s dive in and discuss some of the questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to repairs, renovations, or remodeling.

Will it be easy for me to keep up with another bill?

If you struggle to keep up with the number of bills that come to your mailbox or inbox each month, you may or may not be ready to add one more to your list.

Consider financing options that allow you to manage payments each month easily. Depending on the option you choose, you may be able to combine bills, opt into online billing or have payments automatically deducted from your accounts.

Our tip: look for financing options that offer convenience when it comes to billing and payments. Alabama Power Smart Financing allows you to pay for home improvement services right along with your monthly power bill. Not an Alabama Power customer? Not to worry! Any homeowner in Alabama can take advantage of our financing program.

What are my alternatives if I don’t get approved? 

If your credit isn’t where it should be, traditional lenders might be hesitant to approve your application. We know that credit challenges can be frustrating for you and your family. It doesn’t mean, however, that you have to miss out on the benefits of home improvement financing.

Look for financing options that offer easy, affordable terms and, in many cases, can help you improve or build your credit over time by making regular payments.

Should I work with a small, local business or one of the big chains?

Many large businesses and chains offer financing and special promotions through their stores. You can sign up at checkout. But when it comes to customer service, small, local businesses often come out on top. How important is customer service and reliability to you?

Our advice? Ask your friends, family and neighbors who they recommend. Statistics show that when customers are satisfied with a product or service, they tell people. They also tell people when they are unsatisfied. Conduct an informal poll on Facebook or do a quick Google search for services in your area. If some of the same companies or services keep popping up, you’ll know you have a winner.

Find the Smart Financing providers near you. Any of the businesses we work with can help you fill out an application and see if you’re approved right on the spot.

You can also call us at 1-888-44-SMART to talk to someone further about Smart Financing. We enjoy helping residents of Alabama find the tools and resources they need to get home improvement jobs done. Contact us today!

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