Using the FHA Rehab loan to Buy and Repair a home, condo, or 2-4 flat into your DREAM property!

Real Estate Agent with Exit Realty--I'd love to service your Chicagoland referrals IDFPR # 471.016048

As a foreclosure specialist, I am given many properties by the banks and asset managers that are in (much) less than perfect condition but are SUBSTANTIALLY discounted, often 50% or more off the prices of traditional properties for sale in the same area.

My clients have been struggling with the often intense repairs being needed--how will they afford them?  How can they finance the home in the first place if it is in unliveable (aka, not FHA eligible) condition? FHA REHAB LOAN, aka FHA 203k PROGRAM, can potentially solve ALL these questions!

Here are the details and the way the program works:


  • Only 31/2% down payment required, which can be gifted by family members
  • More flexible qualification requirements allow those with less than perfect credit to purchase a home at competitive rates
  • A single loan for both purchase and improvement of your home means you make only one loan application and pay one set of closing costs - saving you time and money
  •  FHA loans are assumable and there are no prepayment penalties
  • An FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) can allow you to qualify for a larger mortgage to add additional improvements that will lower your utility expenses.
  • By including cost of renovation in your home mortgage, you pay for these improvements over time at a much lower interest expense than conventional alternatives
  • Rather than paying a premium for a home in "perfect" condition, take advantage of the great prices available on foreclosures or other homes on the market that are in need of repair or remodeling
  • Instead of paying for a previous owners improvements you may not desire, invest instead in exactly the features, colors, styles, etc. that suit your tastes and needs
  • Enjoy the opportunity to live in an up-to-date home in a great location closer to work, shopping, cultural activities and more
  • The FHA 203k renovation loan program provides funds for both the purchase and renovation of a home packaged into one mortgage loan. Once the purchase of the home is closed, renovation funds are held in escrow to pay for pre-determined renovation work done by approved renovation contractors.

    The purchase of a house that needs repair is often a catch-22 situation, because the bank won't lend the money to buy the house until the repairs are complete, and the repairs can't be done until the house has been purchased.

    HUD's 203(k) program can help you overcome this obstacle by enabling you to borrow funds for the purchase or refinance of a property plus the cost of making the repairs and improvements in one mortgage. The FHA-insured 203(k) loan is provided through approved lenders nationwide and is available to owners who will occupy the home themselves.

    Down payment, credit qualification, loan limits and other requirements are the same as standard FHA loans. Additional guidelines are set forth specific to 203k loans to provide for renovation of the home.


    1. The Standard 203k is intended for more complicated projects that involve structural changes, such as room additions, exterior grading and landscaping, or renovation that would prohibit you from occupying the residence. A Standard 203k is also used if your project requires engineering or architectural drawings and inspections.
    2. The Streamlined 203k is designed for less extensive improvements and for projects that will not exceed a total of $35,000 in renovation and related expenses. This version does not require the use of a consultant, architect, and engineer or as many inspections as the Standard 203k. As a result, when applicable, the Streamlined 203k generally becomes the simpler, less costly option.

    The Streamlined 203k program is intended to facilitate uncomplicated rehabilitation and/or improvements to a home for which plans, consultants, engineers and/or architects are not required.  This program allows discretionary improvements and/or repairs shown below:

    • Repair/Replacement of roofs, gutters and downspouts
    • Repair/Replacement/upgrade of existing HVAC systems
    • Repair/Replacement/upgrade of plumbing and electrical systems
    • Repair/Replacement of flooring 
    • Minor remodeling, such as kitchens, which does not involve structural repairs
    • Painting, both exterior and interior
    • Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc.
    • Purchase and installation of appliances, including free-standing ranges, refrigerators, washers/dryers, dishwashers and microwave ovens
    • Accessibility improvements for persons with disabilities
    • Lead-based paint stabilization or abatement of lead-based paint hazards 
    • Repair/replace/add exterior decks, patios, porches
    • Basement finishing and remodeling, which does not involve structural repairs
    • Basement waterproofing
    • Window and door replacements and exterior wall re-siding
    • Septic system and/or well repair or replacement


    Properties that require the following work items are not eligible for financing under the Streamlined 203k and would require the "full doc" 203k:

    • Major rehabilitation or major remodeling, such as the relocation of a load-bearing wall;
    • New construction (including room additions);
    • Repair of structural damage;
    • Repairs requiring detailed drawings or architectural exhibits;
    • Landscaping or similar site amenity improvements;
    • Any repair or improvement requiring a work schedule longer than six (6) months; or
    • Rehabilitation activities that require more than two (2) payments per specialized contractor.

     Mortgagors may not use the Streamlined 203k program to finance any required repairs arising from the appraisal that do not appear on the list of Streamlined 203k eligible work Items or that would:

    • Necessitate a "consultant" to develop a "Specification of Repairs/Work Write-Up";
    • Require plans or architectural exhibits;
    • Require a plan reviewer; 
    • Require more than six months to complete;
    • Result in work not starting within 30 days after loan closing; or Cause the homeowner to be displaced from the property for more than 30 days during the time the rehabilitation work is being conducted.  (FHA anticipates that, in a typical case, the homeowner would be able to occupy the property after mortgage loan closing).

    This program is eligible for use on 1 to 4 unit buildings, including the conversion of a building from a larger number of units down to 4 or less. Following specific guidelines, the 203k mortgage can also be used on a condominium unit for improvement of the interior only. Provisions also allow for financing mixed-use buildings, such as those with retail or commercial space combined with residential. In these cases, the 203k loan can only be used for the residential portion of the building.

    The appraiser is given a copy of the contractors bid documents to identify the repairs and remodeling to be done along with their costs. The appraiser then determines the value of the home after completion, "subject to" the improvements to be made. In some cases, up to 110% of this value may be used for loan approval purposes.

    A 203k loan can be used to purchase a HUD-owned property that is determined by HUD to be eligible for a 203k. If other funds are used for the purchase, a 203k loan can be made up to six months following the purchase, allowing cash back to the owner

    A 203k loan can be used only by owner occupants, local governments or eligible non-profits. However, an owner occupant can use a 203k loan to purchase and renovate up to a 4-unit building as well as multi-use building in conformance with certain guidelines.

    At the loan closing, funds are disbursed for the home purchase and, based on previously submitted and accepted contractor bids, renovation funds are placed by the lender in an escrow. These renovation funds are then paid in draws to the contractors as the work proceeds with final payments following inspection at completion. The actual disbursement schedule, inspections and paperwork required are determined by the lender for each project and in conformance with FHA guidelines.  Any funds left over following completion of the renovation can be used to make additional allowable improvements to the property. If not used for this purpose, left over funds will be applied to pay down the principal balance of the mortgage.

    The renovation must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan and must be completed within the time frame established in the loan agreement. The total time for renovation must not exceed six months.
    The Standard 203k loan does allow for up to six mortgage payments to be included in the renovation funds to cover the period when the home is uninhabitable during renovation. A Streamline 203k, however, cannot be used if the home will not be habitable at any time during the renovation.

    My mortgage partners and I can show you the TREMENDOUS opportunities available with this type of loan and there are a WIDE variety of properties out there right now in every area and price range that would qualify.  Email me TODAY, !

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    As always, I appreciate your Chicago area real estate referrals and would welcome the chance to discuss Exit Realty career opportunities with interested professionals!

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    Re-Blogged 1 time:

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    1. Christina Cavins 02/02/2010 01:53 AM
    ActiveRain Community
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    EXIT Realty is GROWING...not multi-level...not profit sharing
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    Larry Lawfer
    YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
    "I listen for a living." It's all about you.

    Nick,  Thanks for this info all in one spot, it is most helpful.  I look forward to meeting you in Dallas at the next convention if you make your way west.

    Jan 31, 2010 04:01 AM #1
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    Nick Libert

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