What are the biggest 203k mistakes a buyer can make?

Home Inspector with 203kOnLine.com, covering the USA S0289

What are the biggest 203k mistakes a buyer can make?

Lets start with the biggest mistake. Trying to get into the project on a shoestring... keep pushing to get the renovation costs down...


1) I'll do the painting and you can therefore take it off the scope of work.

The appraiser can't see anything as completed that isn't in our scope of work. YOU are not a painter. Not even close.

2) My step father is going to help me, he lives two doors from my new house, he works for a contractor and knows how to build a house.

You forgot to count on your mother divorcing him and kicking him out of her house... never to be heard from again.

3) I'm an electrician but the contractor is in charge. I'll work for him.

Interesting but... why is the electrical section $28,000.00, I can't see more than $12,000 based on the scope of work. "Well that is so we can get some cash flow once I do the electrical work, you know, to buy more materials."  Interesting but no cigar.

4) Can't you just say the roof has two more years of economic life?

Not if I don't agree with you. No cigar.

5) Cut the contingency from 20% to 10% to help me qualify for the loan.

Well, the home is over 100 years old are you ready to come up with money if we run into issues on the home that require more than you have in the contingency? Answer: yes. Then it happens and they say "Where am I going to get the money to fix that?"  

These are all real examples of the things people say.

6) At the first draw inspection we see lots of work completed that wasn't in the scope of work we completed only to find out the client had decided to do the roof after all, with their own money, pounding on the roof while the contractor is trying to tape and texture the walls in the home. Don't try to run another contractor on the job at the same time your original contractor is working on the job. It isn't fair to the main contractor, quite often you do work that interferes with his work. He might be painting the exterior when you bring a roofer into the mix... not a good idea. The contractor knows how to coordinate the workers for the best results. Let them do their job.



1) Don't become a slave to the house by trying to do too much of the work yourself. If you continue to do what you currently do to make money, that is your best avenue. Let the contractor do as much work as possible.

2) I've had a wonderful client, a retired contractor living in the Marina District of San Francisco CA. We completed his work write up and was waiting for him to sign the paperwork, after a couple of weeks went by, we called to see if he needed any assistance... only to find that he had expired. You are not promised tomorrow, enjoy life while you can.

3) I had another one that purchased his dream house that backed to a lake where he could sit on his private dock and fish. He was always out there when I came to the house to conduct a draw inspection. Maybe he did that for my benefit but I don't think so. The contractor did real good for a while then nothing, I called the contractor to find out that the owner typically let him in to work but can't be reached. After sixty days the lender asked me to go by and see if anything was happening. I was looking around the house for the owner, knocked on the door, a neighbor asked if I was looking for Mr. ________, I found out that he had died. He never saw the end of his project.  


You just never know, enjoy life and let the pros do their job for you. Live in the home, be happy, and don't worry about trying to be the painter, you aren't that good at it unless you happent to be a painter. 






Posted by

Mike Young, 203k Team Leader    Mike ready for your 203k order

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