With more people self-quarantining in their homes, now is a great time to consider upgrading your current amenities. If you’re someone who enjoys experiencing media in its highest quality, a home theater may be an especially worthwhile investment for you.
As with any improvement project, building or renovating an entertainment space requires careful financial planning. Especially during a time when you may be more hesitant to spend money, this step of the process has become increasingly important for those looking to move forward with renovations.
Once you’ve obtained a quote and know exactly how much money you’ll need for your project, you should start considering ways you can come up with the necessary funds. To help, here are four potential financing options for your home theater:
In the short term, cash is the most cost-effective way to finance your project if you’re looking to keep your debts to a minimum. While you may not have all of the necessary funds unless you’ve been planning your project for a while, paying even a portion of the cost in cash could help you save on interest over time and help you manage your debts.
Before choosing this route, though, it’s important to evaluate the impact of tapping into your savings. If you find that using cash could put you in a worse financial position or take away from other accounts, such as your retirement or emergency funds, you may want to consider other financing options first.
If paying in cash isn’t in the cards for you at the moment, you may still be able to leverage your current assets to secure funding. Your home equity is an often overlooked benefit of being a homeowner. If you have accrued more than 20% equity in your home, you might qualify for a home equity loan (HEL).
HELs allow you to convert your existing home equity into funds that you can use toward your home theater project. Since your home is used as collateral with these types of loans, you can usually lock in a lower interest rate than you can with traditional loans. This makes them a good option for those who are interested in an entirely new home theater system, as you’ll be able to pay the balance back in installments over time.
Home improvement loans are unsecured personal loans offered by most banks, credit unions, and online lenders that may be obtained without providing collateral. You can pay back these types of loans at a fixed rate in monthly installments, typically over the course of three to five years.
The total amount you qualify for will be based on factors such as your credit history and debt-to-income ratio, but will likely fall between $1,000 and $50,000. Offering a detailed description of your home theater project can also help lenders understand your specific needs and in turn expedite the approval process.
Due to their high interest rates and at the risk of overspending, it’s usually smart to avoid credit cards. However, charging your project on credit may make sense if you’re planning a smaller-scale project like upgrading your projection screen or replacing a speaker, as you may be able to pay them off quicker.
If you’re signing up for a new credit card, keep an eye out for signup bonuses, which are essentially rewards for spending above a certain threshold in the early months of your account. Most credit card companies also offer an introductory 0% APR period meaning you could avoid accruing interest if you’re able to pay back the balance within that time frame.
Regardless if you’re building a new theater system from scratch or are just making minor upgrades, you should work with a reliable home theater expert who can work with your budget to develop a project plan that suits your needs.
Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers