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Need To Remodel Your Home?

April 25, 2024

FHA Rehab Loans In 2021

What kind of FHA loan product is right for your home repair projects?

Some people want to fund a remodeling or renovation project using a credit card, but what happens when you compare interest rates on your credit card to the rates you might be charged for an FHA refinance or an FHA 203(k) Rehab loan?

Some people put these repair expenses on their credit cards because they are unable to build equity in their homes for a HELOC or a cash-out refinance.

But for those who can refinance to pay for the work, the savings could be a major factor in their choices.

Remodeling With An FHA Cash-Out Refinance

The cash-out refinance option requires sufficient equity—20% or more, depending on the lender—to be approved. 

But the tradeoff is that you will have no restrictions on how you can use your loan proceeds–you can pay for major structural work or minor cosmetic upgrades. You can also use cash-out refi proceeds to repair your home, add swimming pools or barbecue pits, or other “luxury items”.

The swimming pool/BBQ pit issue matters to some because if you choose an FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan which is available as both a purchase loan and a refinance, there are restrictions on the repairs or renovations you can make.

No luxury items may be installed with 203(k) funds, for example.

Remodeling With An FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan

The FHA 203(k) rehab loan and FHA 203(k) refinance loan for disaster victims can be used to repair a home in many ways, including major structural work on load-bearing walls (under the FHA “standard” 203(k)) and the ability to apply for a smaller 203(k) loan if the work isn’t ambitious enough for a full loan.

The Limited 203(k) rehab refinance loan option provides a sum that isn’t as large as your original mortgage amount. 

That’s great for borrowers who want to do a home improvement project that is small enough that they would be tempted to put the whole thing on a credit card but don’t necessarily want to go that route.

But with a Limited 203(k) you can’t do major work on the home’s structure.

The standard-sized FHA 203(k) rehab or refinance loan is a much larger loan that permits structural work, and the borrower can do big projects around the house with these funds.

An approved contractor may be required, and you should anticipate that expense as part of your planning and budgeting for the new loan. 

Treat any refinance loan the same way you would a purchase loan–start saving and planning early. Work on your credit as far in advance as possible, and always shop around for the best loan, contractor, and materials for your needs.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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