I'd also check out community banks in your area. I just this month got one from one, I actually was contacted by them (I'm not a customer). It seemed much too easy,but I was pre approved for a promotional. They are very new to here,having just absorbed another small group. I got a $5000 personal loan,at 7% for 36 months with no prepay penalty. I was also trying to find out about a personal loan for about a year now, for the same sort of things, not wanting to go to a HEL, but needing some dead trees removed,repairs on the kithchen sub floor and such. This just fell into the right time-right place karma thing for me. Also is reporting as a personal loan already and didn't hurt my score very much. Good luck.