*As of July 6, 2020, Quicken Loans is no longer accepting USDA loan applications.
Repairing things around your home can increase its value and make you feel much better about your living space. But home improvement can be very expensive to do right. Luckily, there are a wide variety of resources available to help homeowners fund these projects.
What Are Home Improvement Grants?
Home improvement grants and loans are types of financial aid the government provides to homeowners looking to make their homes more livable. This includes making your home more energy-efficient, handicap accessible or making the home more useful.
We gathered a list of options available for homeowners to help make their next remodel a reality.
Government Grants And Federal Incentive Programs
Home repair programs are available through a variety of federal, state and local government programs. Some of these programs cater to specific groups of people like veterans, seniors or low-income families. But with all the options available, you’re likely to find one that works well for you. Let’s take a closer look at these options.
HUD Grants And Loans
The federal government offers funding for many types of home improvements and renovations. Some of these include Rehabilitation and Repair Loans, Property Improvement Loans and Rural Home Improvement and Repair Loans. Their website even has information about community-based programs and resources for how to protect yourself against deceptive home improvement contractors. Contact your local Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office to see what financing options might work for you.
FHA Rehab Loans
We usually take out a mortgage so we’re able to purchase a house. Mortgages don’t include money for repairs, updates or other necessary renovations. In some cases, a house needs extensive rehabilitation to make it habitable. Since it’s uncommon for lenders to give out additional loans immediately after taking out a mortgage, new homeowners have the option to turn to the Federal Government for alternative options. One example, an FHA rehab loan, provides a federal remodel incentive. The FHA guarantees the loan and offers the purchase mortgage and remodel funding in the same package. There are limits depending on homeowner income and type of remodeling project, but the FHA rehab loan is one option new homeowners can take advantage of when seeking to remodel their new space.
For homeowners living in rural neighborhoods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers remodel incentives through its Section 504 repair program. The program offers low-interest loans to especially low-income homeowners. The program also provides home improvement grants to elderly low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards from their homes. For more information and to apply, contact your local Rural Development office.
Home Repair Grants For Senior Citizens
Going through major life transitions as we age can prompt a need for alternative home conditions. Whether that requires adding wheelchair accessibility, adding safety grips around the house, or installing a nonslip safe floor, senior citizens have support available to finance their age-in-place home additions. Senior citizens can find information and resources for funding remodeling projects through the Home Repair and Modification guide on the Eldercare Locator website, run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Home Repair Grants For Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers three home repair grants for disabled veterans who need to make home modifications.
- Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant – This grant is for eligible veterans that need to make a home sustainable for independent living. This grant can be used to build a new adapted home, to adapt an existing home, and even help pay off the mortgage of a house that was not purchased with a VA loan. The SHA Grant can award upwards of $77,000.
- Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) Grant – This grant is for disabled veterans who have been injured in service-related incidences. Similar to an SHA Grant, it allows eligible veterans to make modifications to their homes or purchase a previously adapted home to meet their new needs. An SHA grant can award upwards of $15,000.
- Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant – Available to qualifying veterans and active service members who are living with a family member temporarily and need to adapt the home to make it livable. The grant can provide upwards of $37,000.
Contact your regional Veterans Affairs office to check your eligibility for this assistance.
Home Repair Grants For Native Americans
The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program provides financing for new construction on homes as well as rehabilitation projects on homes owned by American Indians and Alaska Native families. This program was established in 1992 to increase access to capital and help facilitate homeownership in Native American communities. This program assists Native American homeowners with low down payments and flexible underwriting. Section 184 loans can be used both on and off native lands for new home purchases, new home construction, refinancing and rehabilitation of existing homes.
Home Repair Grants For Historic Homeowners
While the majority of government grants for historic renovations are offered to nonprofit organizations, there are some funds available to individuals renovating a primary residence with historic value. Tax incentives may also be available for residents of historic properties. Learn more about historic preservation programs through the Preservation Directory.
Other Ways To Finance Your Home Improvement Needs
There are several other ways to finance home improvement projects many homeowners have the option to take advantage of outside of federal incentives and government-backed programs.
National Residential Improvement Association
This is a private sector, non-government association of prescreened contractors. These contractors work to make homeowners aware of the wide variety of programs available to help finance their home improvement needs. They aim to educate homeowners on the programs, grants and loans that aren’t necessarily promoted or common knowledge. These contractors are thoroughly screened, insured and trained to help homeowners find grants, low-interest loans, tax incentives and more.
PACE Loans For Green Investments
PACE loans can be used to finance many different environmentally friendly home improvements. These loans aren’t available in every state. However, where available, they offer easy-to-qualify-for loans with no down payment required. Keep in mind that these loans are attached to the property rather than the homeowner meaning some government mortgage programs will not work with PACE encumbered properties.
Cash Out Refinance
Homeowners with a significant chunk of equity in their homes can use a cash out refinance to utilize some of that equity to fund home improvement projects. To qualify, homeowners must have a decent FICO® Score and a clean credit history. The process is similar to a purchase mortgage application because a cash out refinance is a new first mortgage on the home.
Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) allow you to borrow up to a certain percentage, usually 75% – 80%, of your home’s value. By using a percentage of your home’s equity, HELOCs provide you with a revolving line of credit for large expenses like remodels. These are similar to a cash-out refinance, only HELOCs are a second mortgage on your home unlike a cash out refinance which is a new first mortgage. Keep in mind that with HELOCs, like with adjustable rate mortgages, your rate can go up or down as the market changes.
Weatherization Assistance Programs
Free weatherization services, including improvements for heating and cooling and electrical systems as well as for energy-inefficient appliances, are offered for low-income households through the Weatherization Assistance Program.
Summary: Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
Home improvement projects can be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop homeowners from making their remodel hopes a reality. Your home is where you spend the majority of your time. Sometimes changes are necessary to make your home habitable, useful and safe for your family. Luckily, homeowners have a wide variety of resources from both government and private organizations to choose from if they need assistance.
For more information and useful resources for homeowners, head to the Learning Center.