How to Finance a Fixer-Upper: 3 Loan Options for Home Renovations & Home Improvements

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/7/16 10:52 AM

Topics: Home Buying Home Ownership

According to a report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing, home improvement and repair spending will increase 8 percent by the beginning of 2017. As existing home inventory has dwindled, homebuyers have purchased homes that need repairs, renovations and improvements.


Finding a home that meets every one of your wants and needs can be a daunting and somewhat unrealistic task. Maybe you love the look and nostalgia of an older home but also want the efficiency and modern features of new construction. Perhaps you’ve found a home with great “bones” but is in need of some major (or minor) TLC.

This is where rehab loans come into play for homebuyers who love the idea of making a home their own but need a financing option to do so. Here are three loan options that give you the ability to not only buy (or refinance) a fixer-upper but make the home improvements and renovations to make it livable and energy efficient.

FHA 203(K) 

There are two types of FHA 203(K) loans: Streamline and Standard.

Who’s eligible?

Both types of FHA 203(K) loans can be used for a purchase or refinance but only on primary residences.

What’s the down payment?

FHA 203(K) loans allows borrowers to finance up to 96.5% of the appraised value of their home, which is based on the value after improvements or repairs are completed. This requires a 3.5% down payment from borrowers.

What types of repairs and improvements can be done?

FHA 203(K) Streamline – The 203(K) Streamline is used for homes needing minor, non-structural repairs. There are no minimum repair costs, but the maximum is $35,000 in improvements before move-in. Eligible improvements include repair/replacement of roofs, gutters, downspouts, HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical systems, flooring, exterior decks, patios and porches, minor kitchen/bathroom renovations, etc.

FHA 203(K) Standard – The 203(K) Standard is used for homes needing major rehabilitation. There is a minimum amount of $5,000 worth of repairs, but renovation costs can exceed $35,000, unlike the streamline option. Eligible improvements include all of the streamline improvements, as well as structural alterations, such as room additions, major kitchen and bathroom remodeling, basement finishing, etc.

HomeStyle® Renovation Mortgage

Who’s eligible?

HomeStyle® is available to owner-occupants, as well as purchasers of secondary homes and investors, unlike the FHA 203(K) options. It can be used for a purchase or refinance.

What’s the down payment?

If you’re the borrower and plan to occupy the home, you can put down as little as 5% of the as-completed home value. The as-complete appraisal allows no or low equity homeowners obtain a renovation refinance.

As an investor or purchaser of a second home, see the down payment requirements here.

What kind of repairs and improvements can be done?

Renovations and repairs made with a HomeStyle® loan must add value to the home and be permanently affixed. HomeStyle® does allow financing of luxury items, such as in-ground pools, tennis courts, hot tubs and basketball courts.

While there is no minimum amount of repairs or improvements required, costs are limited to 50 percent of the as-completed appraised value. To learn more about what your financing costs can cover, see here.

If you’re interested in adding value to your home with minor or major home renovations, download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for everything you need to know about the rehab loan options available to you.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide



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