Can The FHA 203k Program For Buying Your Home Really Help You?

Would you like information about a program that can help you buy and rehabilitate a home with one single all-inclusive loan. The FHA 203k Program is your answer! You can qualify more easily, get a low-interest rate, and use funds included with your original purchase loan for repairs on the home. It may be the perfect vehicle for purchasing your sought after fixer-upper. Or, even “tweaking” the dream house you live in with some desirable additions and upgrades that will make it even better than what you have now.

This is Part 2 in the BUDGETHOUSE RENOVATOR series that involves the search for, location of, and unique auction-style purchase of my home in the country. The series includes dealing with a foreign based auction house and escrow to help facilitate this transaction. Also, I show how I worked with a mortgage company programmed to process the “specialized” FHA 203k Program rehabilitation loans. My loan included funds to buy “and” repair my house. Part 1 is the Introduction to the series. 

My next article in Part 3 is entitled Auction House Found With Online Help“. It will show the first steps in this adventure.

Why use this Fed program for help with a home purchase or upgrades? Because it can greatly help the funding efforts of:

  • A first time home buyer.
  • Someone who has not owned a home for a while.
  • An individual with a mediocre credit rating.
  • Home buyers with limited funds.
  • Renovators with no repair funds in place once the home is purchased.

Since I had been a Real Estate Investor in several different states, I was always looking for programs that would help with my purchases. FHA Loans were a prime resource for me. One such device I knew about, but had not previously used, was the FHA 203k Program. It allows you to:

  1. Qualify for a loan with a credit score of 600 (average).
  2. Pre Qualify for a loan with minimal funds showing in the bank.
  3. Deal with specialty lenders familiar with the process.
  4. Obtain a loan with low-interest.
  5. Include repair funds that are wrapped up within the confines of the entire original loan which can be used for fixing up the home.
  6. Purchase a home that does not meet the lending requirements of standard home loan criteria.
  7. Meet down payment requirements with funds that only cover 3.5% of the loan.

Where Do You Start?

Well, with updated information in hand, I finally decided to see if I could make this FHA 203k Program work for me.

There was no qualifying home yet, but I was looking at North Central Florida and the Panhandle area nearby. It would be necessary to have a pre-approved loan in place to be in a favorable position to get acceptance of any offer that I presented to a seller. This was necessary to get the seller moving forward with an acceptance of my hopeful purchase. I found an “FHA approved” mortgage lender online after some research, and submitted the required personal data to start the ball rolling.


The main thing I want to point out from the start is that you cannot “sit idly by” and let others do the work for you in this type of purchase. You must get intrinsically involved every step of the way by keeping important emails flying back and forth, phone calls responded to, and ask lots of questions that need critical answers. You also must be sure you follow the mandatory protocol the federal government sets forth  to achieve a successful outcome.

I started the Loan “Pre-Qualifying” Process in March of 2016. The date is mentioned because I will show you all the time it takes to finalize the loan criteria and complete the house purchase when you use this program . The appraiser that evaluated the house gave me some tips. He told me that the required steps for this type of loan is a “process”. So I tightened my seat belt and jumped on for the journey. My feeling was that it would be a bumpy ride. The experience, however, turned out to be well worth it all in the end.

Does Zillow Really Help You Find Your House?

My next article will show details on my search for a house that could fit into my preordained budget plan. I used the website”Zillow for those searches. There are web-posted arguments against using this real estate information tool, and I don’t know why. One fact I discovered was that it did have everything I was looking for. The site provides a lot of related criteria that worked for me. Still, I was not very hopeful since my results were coming up empty for qualifying candidates. My “preset” affordable price range was looking dim.

The criteria I was looking for was as follows:

  1. The property must be located in a rural or semi-rural environment. This included living in a small town away from any large metro area.
  2. Lot size must be decent, preferably at least one acre.
  3. A site-built home is preferable, not a mobile or manufactured unit. Viewing the destruction made by Hurricane Andrew in Miami to factory-made housing scared the daylights out of me and left a lasting impression.
  4. It must have at least 1500 square feet in living area, but hopefully closer to 1800 for decent sized rooms inside.
  5. A metal roof would be desirable for fire protection, longevity, and ease of repair.
  6. Grocery shopping, a lumber yard, and a hardware store or home improvement center should be within 10 mile or so.

I looked at the following prospects on the Zillow website:

  • Abandoned houses
  • Vacant homes
  • Pre-foreclosures
  • Auctions
  • REO properties (real estate owned by lenders)
  • Fixer-uppers
  • Manufactured homes

It took several months, but after awhile, I focused on one particular house. This series will unfold the events of that quest. My “Part 3” article will show what I found and what happened next. Please Stay tuned for how I made it all come together.

I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!


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