Facts about FHA 203k loans

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Real Estate Agent with Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria 0225-089134

FHA 203K Loan – Eligible Property

To be eligible for the FHA 203k mortgage loan, the property must be a one- to four-family dwelling that has been completed for at least one year. The number of units on the site must be acceptable according to local zoning requirements. All newly constructed units must be attached to the existing dwelling. Cooperative units are not eligible.

Homes that have been demolished, or will be razed as part of the rehabilitation work, are eligible provided some of the existing foundation system remains in place.

In addition to typical home improvement loan projects, the FHA 203-k mortgage loan program can be used to convert a one-family dwelling to a two-, three-, or four-family dwelling. An existing multi-unit dwelling could be decreased to a one- to four-family unit.

An existing house (or modular unit) on another site can be moved onto the mortgaged property; however, release of loan proceeds for the existing structure on the non-mortgaged property is not allowed until the new foundation has been properly inspected and the dwelling has been properly placed and secured to the new foundation.

health and safety of the occupants of the residential property; and (3) the rehabilitation funds will only be used for the residential functions of the dwelling and areas used to access the residential part of the property.

What is the minimum amount of repairs required on a FHA 203k home improvement loan?

There is a minimum $5,000 requirement of eligible home improvement loan projects on the existing structure of the property. Minor or cosmetic repairs may be included after meeting the first $5,000 worth of repairs.

What are some of the repairs that qualify for the first $5,000?

  • Structural alterations and reconstruction: (Repair or replacement of structural damage, chimney repair, additions to the structure, installation of additional bath(s), skylights, finished attics and/or basements, repair of termite damage and the treatment against termites);
  • Elimination of health and safety hazards;
  • Changes for aesthetic appeal:
    (New siding, adding a dormer, covered porch, attached garage);
  • Air Conditioning or replacement:
    (plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems);
  • Installation of well, septic system or connection to public utilities;
  • Roofing, Gutter Downspouts, Flooring, Tiling and carpeting;
  • Major landscape and site improvement;
  • Improvements to improve accessibility and functions for the disabled.

What are the qualifications to be able to obtain a FHA 203-k loan?

The qualifications requirements are the same as a typical FHA mortgage loan. The only additional item that the borrower needs is either enough cash reserved to pay for materials and labor until they are reimbursed through a draw, or a credit card with an adequate available balance. If there is to be a contractor involved, the contractor may choose to cover these costs.

The interest rate on a typical FHA 203k mortgage loan is a little higher than a standard FHA or conventional 30/15-year fixed-rate loan. The cash requirements are the same as an FHA loan, 3 percent to 5 percent, which is less than a typical conventional loan. There are a couple of additional fees which pertain to the construction aspects of the FHA 203k loan.

Can I pick my own contractor to do the work?

You may decide on your own contractor, and they should be brought into the process in the beginning stage of the loan process. Check out the credentials of the contractor thoroughly, making sure he is knowledgeable in all aspects of rehabilitation work.

The home improvements or repairs need not be made before moving into the property, depending on how extensive the repairs are and whether the house is habitable while the repairs are being made. The home improvement loan provides the ability to include up to 6 months of mortgage payments in the improvement escrow, should you not be able to occupy the property and have to pay rent during rehabilitation.

Can the FHA 203k loan be used to improve a condominium unit?

Yes, however, condominium rehabilitation is subject to the following conditions:

  • Owner/occupant and qualified non-profit borrowers only;
  • Rehabilitation is limited only to the interior of the unit. Mortgage proceeds are not to be used for the rehabilitation of exteriors or other areas which are the responsibility of the condominium association, except for the installation of firewalls in the attic for the unit;
  • Only the lesser of five units per condominium association, or 25 percent of the total number of units, can be undergoing rehabilitation at any one time;
  • The maximum mortgage amount cannot exceed 100 percent of after-improved value. After rehabilitation is complete, the individual buildings within the condominium must not contain more than four units.

By law, FHA 203k loans can only be used to rehabilitate units in one-to-four unit structures. However, this does not mean that the condominium project, as a whole, can only have four units or that all individual structures must be detached. Example: A project might consist of six buildings each containing four units, for a total of 24 units in the project and, thus, be eligible for an FHA 203k loan. Likewise, a project could contain a row of more than four attached townhouses and be eligible for a FHA 203k loan because HUD considers each townhouse as one structure, provided each unit is separated by a 1 1/2 hour firewall (from foundation up to the roof). Similar to a project with a condominium unit with a mortgage insured under Section 234(c) of the National Housing Act, the condominium project must be approved by HUD prior to the closing of any individual mortgages on the condominium units.

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