With time, most homes begin to decay, and this decay can impact both the inhabitants’ health and the overall safety of the home they’re living in, leading to further complications along the way.
The federal government is aware of the implications of a damaged or uninhabitable home, and it’s why it designed the Section 504 Home Repair program, which gives low-income homeowners access to affordable repairs to their residences.
This way, health and safety hazards are taken care of, removing the burden from the family inhabiting the home and allowing them to focus on attaining financial independence and stability instead of spending their hard-earned money on repair-related expenses.
As part of the American Rescue Plan, which was created in 2021, additional funds were allocated to both Section 502 and 504 programs, and these funds will be available for use until September 2023.
Keep reading and learn all there is to know about home repair loans and how you can utilize them.
Being an income-based program, Section 504 focuses on extremely low-income Americans, that being anyone who is under a certain income threshold proposed by the agency administering the program in your area.
On top of this, certain other eligibility requirements have to be met, including the applicant being the homeowner and occupant of the property while also being unable to obtain affordable credit through any other organization or program.
While loans have to be repaid, grants are considered a gift and the applicant doesn’t have to worry about repaying them, although they’re only applicable to eligible applicants at or above the age of 62.
Sometimes, the area the home is located in may also qualify it for a home repair loan, and the best way to find out is to look up the home’s address on the USDA eligibility site, where you’ll find a map of all eligible areas.
How does it work
Upon receiving the funds through Section 504, there are certain limitations as to how the money can be used by the applicant, as a means of avoiding abuse of the program.
Because of this, any and all funds obtained through the Home Repair program can only be used to repair, modernize or improve homes of low-income families or individuals, or in certain cases, to remove and repair any health or safety hazards that may have been inflicted on the property with time.
Grants, on the other hand, can only be used for removing health and safety hazards, as they pose a much greater threat to applicants above the age of 62, which are the only ones eligible for a government grant for this purpose.
At the time, the maximum loan amount is $40k, although the amount you’ll receive will depend on your financial situation and the state your home is in.
In order to determine just how much money you’ll be needing for the necessary repairs, the government must first perform an audit on your home, which is done by a professional home inspector who will determine the amount of damage and the potential cost of the repairs.
After this inspection is complete, an eligible applicant will be presented with the terms of the Home Repair loan, which is advantageous due to the fact that these loans are termed for 20 years with a fixed interest rate of 1%.
Even though grants don’t have to be repaid, certain conditions will force the borrower to repay the full amount, that being on the occasion of the home being sold in under 3 years after the repairs were completed.
Even though the program is funded by the federal government, you should remember that funding is limited, and you’ll want to apply as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances of being approved for a loan.
A USDA Home Loan specialist can give you some much-needed advice in terms of how to submit your application and how to get the most out of it, and you’ll find that there are many of these specialists in your area.
To apply, all you’ve got to do is contact the local Rural Development office, where they’ll give you a rundown of how the process works and all the documentation you’ll have to submit in order to fully complete your application.
With the help of the Section 504 Home Repair program, the government can ensure that Americans stay in their homes and keep them in good condition, effectively lowering the number of homeless people on the streets.
On top of this, being a homeowner comes with a wide array of benefits, including the fact that a home can help an individual grow their equity over time, and once they have enough saved up, the home can be sold or traded in for a smaller, cheaper home, with the rest of the money going to your retirement fund.