203K Consultant (PA) : "Can I do the work myself?"

Home Inspector with Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia

203K Consultant (PA) : "Can I do the work myself?"


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As a 203K Consultant in PA, I get asked from clients every now and then "Can I do the work myself?"

Say you are a client looking into getting an FHA 203K loan on a house that you are buying (or already own).  Maybe you have a background in carpentry or find you are handy and could save some money by doing the work yourself.

Can it be done?  Sure, you can try it but I do NOT recommended it. 



First, you'll need to let your Lender know this early in the application process. The lender will want you to explain your experience and skill level in the various work you are asking them to finance for you.


Second, understand that the lender will NOT pay you for your labor- only materials.  This is assuming you are successful in demonstrating to the lender that you have the expertise needed in the first place.  The lender may also require a larger Contingency Fund in the event you cannot finish and have to hire a contractor afterall.


contractor with family


Rehabbing a property is not for everyone. Even some carpenters and other tradesmen should consider hiring a contractor to make sure the work is completed in a timely manner and at a fair price.

You do not “always need” a licensed contractor to do some home repairs, however, you will need a licensed contractor to provide a copy of their License from the state of PA and a copy of their Insurance along with a signed Construction Agreement that must be submitted to your Lender before you can get final loan approval.

Your Lender has some discretion to approve or not approve your requested Contractor. Make sure to do your homework and look for reputable Contractors as these are the people who can make the process run smoothly or they can give you more headaches!


david in truck   

David Artigliere with ARTI Home Inspections LLC is a
HUD-Approved 203K Consultant.

David offers his 203K inspection services all over Southeastern PA including Reading, Philadelphia, West Chester, Allentown, Lancaster and surrounding. 

Call 610-220-1907 or visit www.203kpa.com


Posted by

david the home inspectorDavid Artigliere, owner of ARTI Home Inspections LLC, is a home inspector in Pottstown, Reading, Norristown, Royersford and surrounding areas. 

He is available 7 days a week and can be reached at 610-220-1907.


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Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

David, great points.    I sold a HUD property where they did the 203 loan, and the buyer did do some of the work himself.    Labor cannot be paid, but he does a great job!

May 15, 2011 05:21 AM #1
David Artigliere
Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia - Collegeville, PA
ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect

That's great, Joan!  If the client is handy, has the time, and understands what's involved, it is certainly a good option.

May 15, 2011 07:57 AM #2
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

David, this is great information, and you might save someone who reads this a lot of heartache. There are some capable and handy people, but the vast majority of people should hire professionals, I have seen a lot of DIY projects go horribly wrong.

May 15, 2011 09:09 AM #3
David Artigliere
Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia - Collegeville, PA
ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect


I've personally seen a handful of clients reach their breaking point before finally giving in and getting a contractor.  Some people are perfectly capable, but others don't know what they are getting into!  Thanks for reading!

May 15, 2011 04:58 PM #4
Brent Kluge
Senior Vice President, Secured Funding Corporation - Rockville, MD
I do mortgages REALLY well and I WON'T RIP YOU OFF

Well said David! 

BTW, reach out to me if you are looking for more work. I REGULARLY do 203k loans in the Philly/Reading area and could use another good Consultant. ;)




May 16, 2011 01:17 AM #5
Kevin the California home loan guy

It's also worth mentioning that some lenders are dictating that homeowners are not allowed to do the fixits anymore due to unfinished projects or going over budget etc...Also some lenders are only allowing 1 contractor firm to do all the work and not various contractors again due to contractor problems.  DIY is still allowed with some lenders but a home buyer really has got to check with the lender first before visiting a property to get their angle on how they do the 203k and make sure the lender does both the 203k streamline and the 203k standard loans in the case the a 203k streamline project goes overbudget, you can just slide into the 203k standard without switching lenders.

May 16, 2011 06:16 AM #6
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA - Eureka, CA
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

Good morning David, excellent input for a buyer to consider when applying for a 203K.  Time is of the essence and the work must be completed in a timely manor.  A challenge for some buyers.

May 22, 2011 12:57 AM #7
David Artigliere
Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia - Collegeville, PA
ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect

Dan, thanks for reading!

Brent- great website on 203K lending, by the way!

Kevin- I agree and have found lenders are changing some of the requirements and process around 203ks

May 26, 2011 07:28 AM #8
Mike Young
203kOnLine.com, covering the USA - Las Vegas, NV
FHA 203k Consultant 916-758-1809

David, most of the major lendes are requiring the borrower to be a licened contractor in order to do self help. Then you have the isseu of them wanting to give service to their clients over their own project when they do get permission to do the work.

Jun 16, 2013 09:03 AM #9
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

The 203k loan is an under-utilized tool. Many buyers could create equity by using the FHA/203k loan to buy and renovate homes that need some work.

Aug 18, 2017 08:02 PM #10
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David Artigliere

ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect
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