Buy a fixer-upper with FHA 203(k) financing

WASHINGTON – June 5, 2012 – Sometimes the ideal house needs a little bit of work, and private lenders don’t like doling out more money than a home is worth. Unknown to many buyers, however, is an FHA program that allows them to add up to $35,000 onto their first mortgage with the extra money earmarked for immediate repairs.

The FHA 203(k) loan is available from approved FHA mortgage lenders nationwide, providing the borrower plans to live in the home. The downpayment is approximately 3.5 percent of the total loan amount including repairs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development lists the following steps to secure an FHA 203(k) loan:

• The first step for a potential homebuyer is to find an appropriate fixer-upper and execute a sales contract. Before bidding however, a buyer should a do a feasibility analysis of the property. The contract should then state that the buyer is seeking a 203(k) loan, and that the contract is contingent on loan approval based on the additional required repairs.

• The homebuyer selects an FHA-approved 203(k) lender and submits a detailed proposal on the work that will be done, along with a cost estimate for each repair or improvement.

• An appraisal will determine the value of the property after the planned renovation.

• Once a borrower passes a lender’s credit-worthiness test, the loan closes for an amount that covers the purchase (or refinance) cost of the property, remodeling costs and allowable closing costs. The loan includes a contingency reserve of 10 percent to 20 percent of the remodeling portion of the loan to cover any unplanned extra work.

• While the seller gets paid at closing, the extra repair funds go into an escrow account. As projects are completed, the new homeowner submits draw requests to pay the vendors who did the work.

If the borrower chooses to do so, he can also have up to six monthly mortgage payments added to the cost of rehabilitation if the home won’t be occupied for a while.

For a list of lenders offering the 203(k) Rehabilitation Program, check the 203(k) Lenders List on HUD’s website.

Reprinted with permission. © 2012 Florida Realtors®

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