Financing repairs and improvements with home equity is okay for most homeowners but it is difficult for many first-time buyers. They have lower-incomes smaller savings and have made lower down payments on their homes than first-time buyers a decade ago. So they have little equity to borrow against. Unfortunately it is often lower cost older homes purchased by first-time buyers that need the most work.
Unless you have a cash reserve you will have to shop around for the best borrowing terms. In addition to the options listed above you can ask relatives for a loan. Borrow against your whole life insurance policy. Refinance your existing mortgage and take out cash. Get a second mortgage. Contact the government about home improvement programs. And - as a last resort - borrow from a finance agency which generally charge high rates.