Want to add an addition onto your home? Renovate your bathroom or basement? Learn about programs to help pay for your home improvements, as well as tips on hiring a contractor to do the work.
Find Loans and Other Incentives
The most common type of financial help from the government for home repairs or modifications is through home improvement loan programs backed by the government. The loans are through traditional lenders, like banks, but the programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Some programs are available on a nationwide basis, while others are only on a state or county level. To learn about the options available to you, contact your local Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office.
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, questions to ask, and how to report problems.
Before digging on your property, call 811 to be sure you won't damage or be injured by underground utility lines. Some states allow for an online digging request. Timing is different from state to state with some needing two business days in advance and others need as many as 12 working days even if it is just a small project like planting trees or shrubs.
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 - 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.
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.
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).
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.