When talking about housing expenses, rent is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, rent is not the only housing expense people have to deal with. Even if you have your own home, you can expect to pay for other housing costs like repairs or renovation. Not every homeowner can handle these costs easily, though. So, if you’re stuck in such a situation, you should take a look at the available assistance options. Many people are not aware that the government offers repair support. However, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what opportunities are out there and how to take advantage of them.
Federal Home Repair Opportunities to Consider
Being a homeowner doesn’t necessarily mean that you are financially stable. Some expenses, like home improvements, might be a challenge for many people. Luckily, federal support opportunities can cover more than just food, education, and medical care expenses. There are multiple home repair opportunities that can be helpful if you lack the resources to pay for the upkeep. We are talking about grants, loans, and programs. Here are a few opportunities that may benefit you:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
- HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan
- 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program
If your utility bill is too high, your home might need some repairs to improve its energy efficiency. To get help with that, you can apply for LIHEAP by calling 1-866-674-6327 or contacting [email protected]. Along with the weatherization services this program offers, it also provides assistance with heating and cooling bills. Your state’s LIHEAP office can be a great source of information, so make sure to contact them if you have any questions.
Anyway, if you want to apply, you should keep in mind that there are eligibility requirements you have to meet. These requirements basically include having a certain level of income. However, this is not the only way to qualify. In fact, people who participate in some other federal support programs can also get assistance from LIHEAP.
Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program
This program provides two types of financial support that can help you pay for home repairs. This includes:
- Loans: Typically, this form of assistance requires paying the money back. With these loans, you can get up to $20,000 in support to pay for repairing, renovating, or improving your home. This money can also be used to secure the house from any risks to your family’s health and safety. These loans come with a 1% fixed interest rate for a maximum loan term of 20 years.
- Grants: This is free money that does not require repayment. Grants have a maximum value of $7,500 and can only be used for handling upgrades and repairs that eliminate any risks to health and safety. Only eligible beneficiaries who are over 62 years old can apply for the grants in particular.
Some people will be eligible for loans, and others will qualify for grants. It is also possible to combine grants and loans under some conditions. In all cases, recipients have to use the funds they will get only for properties located in qualifying rural areas.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
WAP is a program that can help families save an average of $372 annually through home repairs and weatherization improvements. This can be a great opportunity for people who meet the requirements, but especially for:
- Families with children
- People over 60 years old
- Families with at least one disabled member
These categories may have priority when it comes to granting benefits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the program’s regulations might be different from one state to another. This is because the Department of Energy (DOE) provides funds to the states so they can decide how the program is running. So, if you want to benefit from WAP, you will need to submit an application to your state’s weatherization agency. If you qualify, you will be able to lower your energy bills by increasing your home’s energy efficiency.
HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan
Instead of paying for home repairs and improvements in a lump sum, you can pay in monthly installments with this loan opportunity. In fact, this loan option has some interesting advantages. For example, you don’t have to worry about prepayment penalties with these loans. Don’t be fooled by the name: the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is not the lender of this loan. In fact, you will be getting the money from private lenders. However, the reason this loan is associated with HUD is that the federal agency provides private lenders with insurance against any potential losses. To add another layer of protection, a mortgage or deed of trust on the property will be required for loans of more than $7,500.
The purpose of issuing these loans is to help qualifying people pay for home improvements and maintenance. It’s important to keep in mind that any renovations funded by this loan must significantly enhance or secure the property. That being said, not just any property will be eligible for this support opportunity.
When it comes to loans, the interest rate is important to consider. HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loans often come with fixed interest rates that can vary by lender. However, you can expect them to match the popular market rates in your area. Yet, the possibility of negotiating the interest rate exists! This means that you might be able to come to an agreement with your lender on a lower interest rate than usual.
203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program
Purchasing a house in need of renovations could be a challenging and costly process. However, with the help of Section 203(k), this process can be much smoother. This program secures a single loan that lasts for a longer period of time. Having this insurance means that homebuyers (and homeowners) may get loans to cover the cost of buying (or refinancing) a property and making necessary repairs. Borrowers benefit from these loans since they cut down on time and money. However, there are some things you should keep in mind about this insurance:
- The minimum amount that has to be spent on rehabilitation is $5,000.
- Property must be at least one year old to qualify for this opportunity.
- The property’s value can’t exceed the maximum allowed by an FHA loan, which may differ depending on the area.
All in All
It’s common for properties to be in need of renovations and improvements from time to time. Most of the time these repairs are essential to prevent potential hazards or make a home more energy efficient. However, it can be challenging for many people to afford such expenses. If you are having a hard time dealing with home repair costs, you should seek assistance. The government has a wide range of support opportunities that include grants, loans, and more. These assistance options can make a world of difference and save a great deal of money. However, you should remember that your specific circumstances will determine which option is best for you. So, make sure you have a clear understanding of your situation.