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It can be a conundrum. As home improvement guru Bob Vila notes, the typical cost to replace a window ranges from $200 to $1,800, each. The national average is approximately $100 to $650 per window depending on multiple factors like the type of glass, size, frame, and energy efficiency, as well as labor costs.
Your windows not only affect the appearance of your home’s exterior when they start to wear down, not opening and closing like they used to or letting the outside air in, but it can also affect your home’s efficiency too, causing higher utility bills. If you’re doing a remodel, replacing the windows can be an essential part of the upgrade. So what do you do if you can’t afford to replace them?
Fortunately, there are multiple options for window funding to make it easier on a homeowner’s wallet to replace those old, drafty windows.
A Home Equity Line of Credit
If you have good credit, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), allow you to borrow against the equity in your home. Once approved for a set amount, you’ll essentially be borrowing that money that can be tapped into to replace your windows. With the energy savings, you’ll get from new windows combined with the typical lower rate on most HELOCs, it frequently offsets the expense of buying the windows and having them installed. Of course, it’s always a good idea to shop around to compare rates and benefits with several banks and your mortgage company.
There are some companies that not only have professional contractors available for providing and installing your windows but offer their own financing options. For example, some might set you up with a loan or offer payment plans with interest like “90 days same as cash,” or even zero percent interest if you pay off the windows within a year. As the company will be especially motivated to get your business, it can make it a better option than taking out a traditional loan.
Rebates and Special Government Programs
Depending on the particular location, it may be possible to get a rebate on replacing windows through your local utility company or state to offset some or even all of the cost. Tax rebates are often available too which means you’ll be “reimbursed” the following year when your federal tax returns are completed. It’s also possible to apply for replacement window benefits through a government energy-efficiency program with qualifications based on income.
Refinancing Your Mortgage
Many people refinance in order to get a lower interest rate, but this is also a popular option for taking care of home repairs such as replacing windows.
If you haven’t had time to build up equity in your home, a personal loan can be an alternative to a home equity line of credit. Keep in mind that these loans tend to come with higher interest rates.
Best used only as a last resort, a credit card might be an easy way to pay for windows but you’ll pay the highest interest rate. One option that can make this a better deal is to obtain a new card with no interest that also provides points to use toward other items or cashback. Or, you may be able to take advantage of a balance transfer offer, charging the windows on one card and then transferring to the other that offers zero interest for a certain period of time, usually anywhere from 12 to 18 months.