FHA 203k Mortgages- Renovation Loans

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What is a  FHA 203k rehab loan?

The FHA 203k program is a program designed to allow clients to purchase or refinance properties that need rehabilitation or renovation work.  This FHA insured mortgage product can be used to acquire properties and finance in both the acquisition and rehabilitation all within the same loan.  Unlike traditional construction financing, which requires a loan for the construction and then a “take-out” or permanent financing  the FHA 203k rehab mortgage allows you to do all of the financing in one loan with one closing.

FHA 203k mortgages can be used for either: purchases or for refinancing.

Got a question about FHA 203k rehab loans?  Want some insight from a lender who has closed many of these loans? Experience is key when it comes to successfully applying for and closing an FHA 203k loan.  Please read our blogs by our resident expert and featured lender Jeff Onofrio or contact him at 866-312-6682 ext.385.

FHA 203k – How is it different?

Most mortgage financing plans provide only permanent financing. That is, the lender will not usually close the loan and release the mortgage proceeds unless the condition and value of the property provide adequate loan security. When rehabilitation is involved, this means that a lender typically requires the improvements to be finished before a long-term mortgage is made.

When a home buyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the home buyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage. Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods. The Section 203(k) program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property. To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work. To minimize the risk to the mortgage lender, the mortgage loan (the maximum allowable amount) is eligible for endorsement by HUD as soon as the mortgage proceeds are disbursed and a rehabilitation escrow account is established. At this point the lender has a fully-insured mortgage loan.

Properties that are eligible for FHA 203k financing

To be eligible, 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 the provisions of 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 rehabilitation projects, this 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.

A 203(k) mortgage may be originated on a “mixed use” residential property provided: (1) The property has no greater than 25 percent (for a one story building); 33 percent (for a three story building); and 49 percent (for a two story building) of its floor area used for commercial (storefront) purposes; (2) the commercial use will not affect the 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.

How can the program be used

This program can be used to accomplish rehabilitation and/or improvement of an existing one-to-four unit dwelling in one of three ways:

  • To purchase a dwelling and the land on which the dwelling is located and rehabilitate it.
  • To purchase a dwelling on another site, move it onto a new foundation on the mortgaged property and rehabilitate it.
  • To refinance existing liens secured against the subject property and rehabilitate such a dwelling.

Eligible Improvements

Luxury items and improvements are not eligible as a cost rehabilitation. However, the homeowner can use the 203(k) program to finance such items as painting, room additions, decks and other items even if the home does not need any other improvements. All health, safety and energy conservation items must be addressed prior to completing general home improvements.

Required Improvements

All rehabilitation construction and/or additions financed with Section 203(k) mortgage proceeds must comply with the following:

A. Cost Effective Energy Conservation Standards

(1) Addition to existing structure. New construction must conform with local codes and HUD Minimum Property Standards in 24 CFR 200.926d.

(2) Rehabilitation of Existing Structure. To improve the thermal efficiency of the dwelling, the following are required:

  1. Weatherstrip all doors and windows to reduce infiltration of air when existing weatherstripping is inadequate or nonexistent.
  2. Caulk or seal all openings, cracks or joints in the building envelope to reduce air infiltration.
  3. Insulate all openings in exterior walls where the cavity has been exposed as a result of the rehabilitation. Insulate ceiling areas where necessary
  4. Adequately ventilate attic and crawl space areas. For additional information and requirements, refer to 24 CFR Part 39.
  5. Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system supply and return pipes and ducts must be insulated whenever they run through unconditioned spaces.
  6. Heating systems, burners, and air conditioning systems must be carefully sized to be no greater than 15 percent oversized for the critical design, heating or cooling, except to satisfy the manufacturer’s next closest nominal size.

(3) Replacement Systems.

B. Smoke Detectors. Each sleeping area must be provided with a minimum of one (1) approved, listed and labeled smoke detector installed adjacent to the sleeping area.

Sample of a Purchase Using the FHA 203k mortgage:

This describes a typical step-by-step application/mortgage origination process for a transaction involving the purchase and rehabilitation of a property. It explains the role of HUD, the mortgage lender, the contractor, the borrower, consultant, the plan reviewer, appraiser and the inspector.

A. Home buyer Locates the Property.

B. Preliminary Feasibility Analysis. After the property is located, the home buyer and their real estate professional should make a marketability analysis prior to signing the sales contract. The following should be determined:

  1. The extent of the rehabilitation work required;
  2. Rough cost estimate of the work; and
  3. The expected market value of the property after completion of the work. Note: The borrower does not want to spend money for appraisals and repair specifications (plans), then discover that the value of the property will be less than the purchase price (or existing indebtedness), plus the cost of improvements.

C. Sales Contract is Executed. A provision should be included in the sales contract that the buyer has applied for Section 203(k) financing, and that the contract is contingent upon loan approval and buyer’s acceptance of additional required improvements as determined by HUD or the lender.

D. Home buyer Selects Mortgage Lender. Click here to Find-a-Lender!

E. Consultant Prepares Work Write-up and Cost Estimate.

F. Lender Requests HUD Case Number. Upon acceptance of the architectural exhibits, the lender requests the assignment of a HUD case number, the plan reviewer, appraiser, and the inspector.

G. Fee Consultant Visits Property. The home buyer and contractor (where applicable) meet with the fee consultant to ensure that the architectural exhibits are acceptable and that all program requirements have been properly shown on the exhibits.

H. Appraiser Performs the Appraisal.

I. Lender Reviews the Application The appraisal is reviewed to determine the maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property.

J. Issuance of Conditional Commitment/Statement of Appraised Value. This is issued by the lender and establishes the maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property.

K. Lender Prepares Firm Commitment Application. The borrower provides information for the lender to request a credit report, verifications of employment and deposits, and any other source documents needed to establish the ability of the borrower to repay the mortgage.

L. Lender Issues Firm Commitment. If the application is found acceptable, the firm commitment is issued to the borrower. It states the maximum mortgage amount that HUD will insure for the borrower and the property.

M. Mortgage Loan Closing. After issuance of the firm commitment, the lender prepares for the closing of the mortgage. This includes the preparation of the Rehabilitation Loan Agreement. The Agreement is executed by the borrower and the lender in order to establish the conditions under which the lender will release funds from the Rehabilitation Escrow Account. Following closing, the borrower is required to begin making mortgage payments on the entire principal amount for the mortgage, including the amount in the Rehabilitation Escrow Account that has not yet been disbursed.

N. Mortgage Insurance Endorsement. Following loan closing, the lender submits copies of the mortgage documents to the HUD office for mortgage insurance endorsement. HUD reviews the submission and, if found acceptable, issues a Mortgage Insurance Certificate to the lender.

O. Rehabilitation Construction Begins. At loan closing, the mortgage proceeds will be disbursed to pay off the seller of the existing property and the Rehabilitation Escrow Account will be established. Construction may begin. The homeowner has up to six (6) months to complete the work depending on the extent of work to be completed. (Lenders may require less than six months.)

P. Releases from Rehabilitation Escrow Account. As construction progresses, funds are released after the work is inspected by a HUD-approved inspector. A maximum of four draw inspections plus a final inspection are allowed. The inspector reviews the Draw Request (form HUD-9746-A) that is prepared by the borrower and contractor. If the cost of rehabilitation exceeds $10,000, additional draw inspections are authorized provided the lender and borrower agree in writing and the number of draw inspections is shown on form HUD-92700, 203(k) Maximum Mortgage Worksheet.

Q. Completion of Work/Final Inspection. When all work is complete according to the approved architectural exhibits and change orders, the borrower provides a letter indicating that all work is satisfactorily complete and ready for final inspection. If the HUD-approved inspector agrees, the final draw may be released, minus the required 10 percent hold back. If there is unused contingency funds or mortgage payment reserves in the Account, the lender must apply the funds to prepay the mortgage principal.

Want more information now? Contact one of our FHA Mortgage Consultants at 888-790-0292 to learn how FHA 203K mortgages can benefit you and get started now with a 203k specialist!

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