Repairing and Improving a Home

Look for help with repairing or making improvements to your home.

Help with Home Repairs and Modifications

If you plan to repair or renovate your home, government programs may make it easier for you to afford those home improvements.

What help is available?

The most common type of financial help from the government for home repairs or modifications is through home improvement loans programs backed by the government. Some programs are available nationwide, while others are only available at the state or county level.

Find Loans and Other Incentives

Assistance for Certain Demographic Groups

Am I Eligible?

Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. In general, it depends on income level, age of the homeowner, type of property, or where the property is located.

How do I apply?

Reach out to the federal, state, or county government agency that administers the program. Loans are made by traditional lenders, but the government programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Grants are available depending on your income level and work to be done. Contact your local government housing office or nonprofit programs in your area that may have received funding from HUD.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Finding a good contractor to do repairs and improvements on your home is important. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides resources and tips on hiring a contractor, including questions to ask and how to report problems.

Watch Out for Utility Lines Before You Dig - Call 811

Before digging on your property, call 811. Utilities will come out to mark the area to help you avoid damaging or being injured by underground utility lines. Timing for processing your request differs from state to state. Some states allow for an online digging request.

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Get Help with Your Home Energy Bill

What help is available?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help with:

  • Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills

  • Emergency services in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs

  • Low-cost home improvements, known as weatherization, that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.

LIHEAP funds may not be used to pay water and sewer bills.

Am I eligible?

This chart shows the average eligibility requirements. Actual requirements may vary by state, city or region. Each local LIHEAP office sets up its own eligibility requirements.

  • A person or family participating in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or welfare), or certain needs-tested veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.

  • Being qualified for LIHEAP does not guarantee that you will receive help. Whether or not you receive help depends on how much LIHEAP funding is available for the year.

  • On average, about 20% of households that are qualified for LIHEAP receive benefits. When LIHEAP funds run out for the year, no more benefits can be given until Congress makes more funds available.

How do I apply?

Each state has different rules about when you can apply, how you apply, and the criteria you have to meet to get help.

  • Contact your local LIHEAP office for application details.

  • Your state’s application may be online. Check the LIHEAP Clearinghouse for a list of state applications available to print out, read, or submit online.

How do I complain/who do I contact for extra help?

Is there anything else I need to know?

If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help paying for your energy bills, your local social services agency or a nonprofit organization may have funds to help. You can also contact your gas, oil, or electric company about budget billing programs or new payment options.

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Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a form of credit where your home is used as collateral to borrow money. It's typically used to pay for major expenses (education, medical bills, and home repairs). However, if you cannot pay back the loan, the lender could foreclose on your home. 

Types of Home Equity Loans

There are two types of home equity loans:

  • Lump sum - This is a one-time, closed-end loan that usually has a fixed interest rate.
  • Revolving line of credit - You can withdraw the funds at any time for more flexibility. These usually have adjustable interest rates.

For more information, refer to What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit, a guide by the Federal Reserve Board. 

Talk to a Qualified Credit Counselor

You should consider carefully before taking out a home equity loan. If you are unable to make payments on time, you could end up losing your home. Before taking out a home equity loan, you should explore alternatives with a credit counselor that do not potentially put your home at the risk of a forced sale. 

File a Complaint

If you have a problem with a home equity loan, you should contact the lender first. If you cannot resolve the issue with the lender, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). 

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Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides low-income households with free weatherization services, such as improvements for heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, and electricity consuming appliances. This can help families stay healthier and save hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs each year.

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Last Updated: August 25, 2017

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