Friday, July 31, 2009

What are FHA Buyers to do? The New FHA 203K Loan Option

First time home buyers are growing frustrated as the number of available homes for sale in San Diego County declines. They can't seem to find a home that will qualify for their FHA loan or they can't seem to beat out the all cash and conventional loan buyers.

FHA loans have strict guidelines on what and won't qualify. Homes that will not qualify include those that are missing kitchen cabinets, heaters, toilets, worn roofs, unpermited garage conversion, or perhaps the seller won't pay for the required termite work.

What are FHA buyers to do? Don't give up. Looking through all those foreclosures and homes with deferred maintenance may now be the way to go. A new loan called the FHA 203K has recently emerged onto the scene. It will give buyers the opportunity to buy a home that may be in need of up to $35,000 in repairs. The repairs can include termite work, a new roof, a new kitchen or bathroom updates, converting back an unpermited garage. Often the seller or the bank won't pay for these improvement. Yet without many of these repairs being addressed the home would be uninhabitable. So there is usually less competition for these homes.

How does the FHA 203K loan work? Buyers still need to meet the FHA loan guidelines and bring in their 3 1/2% down . However, the big difference is the cost of needed renovation or upgrades will be added to the loan. The contractors have to be approved and the repairs must be completed within 6 months following the close of escrow. The added inspections and paper work can extend out the escrow a couple of weeks. While the interest rate may be higher than the traditional FHA loan, some sellers may be willing to help with closing costs to pay down interest rates to keep the loan affordable for the buyer and get the home sold.

So FHA buyers don't despair. There is still time to find that first home and collect the $8,000 tax credit. For more information on the tax credit, see my blog Uncle Sam Giving Money Away to First-Time Homebuyers .

--Virginia Hall, ABR, CRS, e-Pro, GRI
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

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