FHA 203(k) Loan Program Provides Money For Home Repairs and Renovations

Thinking about buying a fixer-upper, but worried about coming up with the money to pay for the construction costs? Or are you wanting to renovate your existing home but just don’t have the available time or money? If so, the FHA may have a program to solve your problems. The section 203(k) program administered by the FHA provides funds to prospective and current homeowners to make repairs and/or do renovation work. A 203(k) loan combines a home’s purchase price and cost of repairs into one FHA mortgage, with only a 3.5% down payment.A growing number of people are taking advantage of this program, a reflection of the large housing inventory caused, in large part, by foreclosures resulting from the recent economic turmoil. The FHA reports that the number of 203(k) loans taken out in 2008 nearly doubled from the previous year, with 2009 experiencing a 40% year over year increase. Potential homebuyers, attracted by relatively low market prices on foreclosed properties, are often left to contemplate how (and when!) they are going to be able to pay for the repairs once they purchase the house. This is not an uncommon scenario as foreclosed homes, which are often left abandoned, typically need extensive repairs. The 203(k) loan program solves this problem by enabling homebuyers to finance the construction work and start repairs on the home immediately after a loan closing. All residential properties, not just foreclosed homes, are potential candidates for the 203(k) loan program.What is the FHA 203(k) Program?
The FHA 203(k) program is a home rehabilitation and repair program, designed to revitalize neighborhoods and spur homeownership. It can be used by people who are looking to purchase a new home, or by existing homeowners wanting to do repair or renovation work on their current home. What consumers end up with is a single FHA insured mortgage – the loan amount consisting of the home’s purchase price (or current loan balance in the case of an existing homeowner) plus the estimated costs of the construction work.Normally, someone purchasing a home that is in need of repairs has to first obtain interim financing for the rehab repairs and then additional financing to purchase the home. In this scenario – once the repairs are complete the homeowner must then take out a new mortgage to combine the two loans. With the 203(k) program, on the other hand, a borrower need only obtain one mortgage, which covers the home purchase and the property rehab.The 203(k) program comes in two flavors; a standard version and a streamlined version. With the standard program, the construction costs must be at least $35,000. The maximum construction costs are limited only by the estimated “as-improved” value of the house (i.e., the value an appraiser estimates the property will be after repairs/renovations are completed). All FHA mortgages, with or without a 203(k) loan, are subject to mortgage loan limits. The mortgage amount can range from $271,050 to $729,750, dependent on where the home buyer resides. The total mortgage amount, which would include any cost of repairs, cannot exceed 110% of the “as-improved” home value. The streamlined 203(k) program is used for situations where the construction costs are under $35,000.To be eligible, properties must be one to four family structures that are at least one year old. Condominiums may qualify, though there are some added restrictions and limitations. Additionally, FHA allows “mixed use” properties (i.e., properties with both residential and commercial use) to be eligible for the program.A partial list of what you could use a 203(k) loan for include; replace a roof, add a room, remodel kitchen or bathroom, landscaping, update appliances, repair termite or water damage, update electrical and/or HVAC systems. It’s also important to keep in mind that the program requires certain repairs (if needed) to be made. These mandatory repairs deal specifically with bringing the energy efficiency of the property up to code.Con’s
The FHA 203(k) loan does not come without some added costs and other potentially negative factors. Consumers need to carefully weigh the pros and cons in order to decide if this program is right for them.o Homebuyer will incur fees up and beyond the normal mortgage closing costs. A supplemental origination fee – which is the greater of $350 or 1.5% of the portion of the mortgage that is being used for rehab purposes – is required. Additionally, a fee consultant (who is HUD approved) must visit the site prior to the appraisal to ensure compliance with program requirements. Expect to pay $100-$200 for this service.
o Takes longer time to close on mortgage loan – up to 4 weeks longs than a normal conventional mortgage
o Have to use an FHA approved lender. Though many such lenders exist- not all lenders will participate in the 203(k) program.
o Some lenders may prefer to deal with a home buyer who is able to pay cash for a home (versus someone using the 203(k) program) due to getting a quicker loan closing turnaround.
o Expect more paperwork than a normal conventional or FHA loanPro’s
o Access to funds needed to complete repairs and/or renovations
o Convenience – homebuyer does not have to find separate financing for construction, plus construction begins immediately after loan closing
o Speed of construction – the process of completing construction work is typically quicker than if the homeowner were to conduct renovations on their own
o The 3.5% down payment – conventional mortgages typically call for 10-20% down payments.
o Ability to finance up to six monthly mortgage payments.The 203(k) Loan Process Step by Step
The 203(k) process has more paperwork and steps than one would experience in a conventional mortgage process. The steps are as follows:
Borrower finds a home to purchase and repair/rehab (or seeks to repair/rehab current residence)
Borrower and their real estate agent completes a preliminary feasibility analysis to determine the extent of work required, along with an approximate estimate of the cost and expected market value of the home once all work is completed
Sales contract is executed
borrower selects and works with a FHA-approved lender
Borrower, contractor, and an FHA-approved consultant meet at the property to determine “required” vs. “desired” improvements
The fee consultant prepares the write-up
Home buyer enlists contractors to make bids – then selects a contractor
Lender gives the construction plan to FHA-approved appraiser to determine “as-improved” value
Lender determines maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property based on the “as-improved” property value
Loan is underwritten by lender- if approved lender issues a “firm commitment” and a loan closing is scheduled
Loan is closed. Funds are set aside in escrow accounts. The loan is FHA insured after loan closing
The work begins. Contractors are paid in draws as FHA fee consultant approves each phase of completed work. Homeowner has six months in which to complete the entire work
After work is completed – and the borrower states that all work has been completed to their satisfaction, a HUD inspector conducts a final inspection. If the inspection proves OK – the lender pays the remaining draw to the contractor. A final 10% may be held back for up to 35 days to ensure no liens are placed on the property
It should be apparent that the FHA 203(k) program offers a viable solution for some home buyers seeking funds for home repairs or renovation. Each individual needs to consider the pros and con’s and apply it to their own unique situation.

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Automotive Advertising Agencies Must Lead, Follow, Or Get Out of the Way

I am a self described old school car guy but perhaps my definition of that well earned title has a different meaning than many of my contemporaries have assigned to it. My definition of a car guy is an entrepreneurial business man that is driven to win, who values relationships as a team builder and who prides themselves as being a community leader. The people skills needed to accomplish most goals in the car business are built on an understanding of human nature which has survived in the virtual world of today’s Internet Super Highway. However, the technologies and online processes needed to communicate to customers have changed dramatically and us car guys need to stay ahead of the curve to stay competitive.Similarly, automotive advertising agencies serve the retail auto industry in much the same way that they have for decades. However, since the one constant in the auto industry is change — and human nature is also a constant — then change in the automotive advertising industry must be limited to the technologies that have developed to serve the newest media of choice; the Internet. Agencies are still striving to improve the reach, frequency, cost per impression and the basic R.O.I. of their automotive advertising campaigns delivered to a qualified and targeted audience, however in my considered opinion there has been a paradigm shift in automotive advertising as a result of the empowerment that the Internet has extended to the online car shopper.Conventional wisdom supports the position that selling processes on the virtual showrooms being built on the Internet Super Highway must replicate and integrate with those used in the brick and mortar showrooms on local car rows, however that is reflective of the needs of the auto dealers, not the customers. Structured selling systems require repetitive processes that eliminate redundancy of data input and accommodate follow up and management monitoring which has little value to consumers who just want to know if the auto dealer has the vehicle that they want and how much will they have to pay for it.Old school wisdom suggest that the goal for the dealer after an initial contact by phone, email or by an online visitor to their website is to make an appointment to get the customer into the showroom since, after all, you can’t sell them a car on the phone or on the Internet — or can you? New technology based solutions like AutoTransaXion introduced by Argistics provide an online transaction tool with a two way video customer interaction application that links to the auto dealer’s DMS, CRM and ILM in a comprehensive push/pull manner that replicates the real world selling process. The enhanced transparency and relevancy provided by this online communication tool satisfies the needs of the online car shopper while providing a seamless transition that allows the auto dealer and the consumer to complete an online transaction.Most Automotive advertising agencies recognize the need to provide transparency and relevancy to attract online car shoppers but few are aware of solutions such as AutoTransaXion to convert these new opportunities on the World Wide Web to sales. Budget challenged auto dealers are demanding that their automotive advertising agencies deliver more for less and staying in touch with new technology is one way to deliver.Another opportunity to leverage online resources for automotive advertising agencies in the know can be found in new online inventory based marketing platforms like ronsmap.com that utilizes its game changing technology to integrate social networking media with their platform. The extended reach and frequency of message provided by their vBack Ask-a-Friend / Tell-a-Friend application increases S.E.O. for the auto dealer by integrating their social networking engine with every vehicle posted on ronsmap, the auto dealers’ website and third party sites that the auto dealer posts their inventory on. As a result, leads and sales are increased exponentially as they tie into the viral messages powered by their C2C marketing methods vs. more commonly utilized B2C methods offered by banner ads and other attempts to market into social networking communities from the outside in vs. the ability for vBack to market from the inside out.In addition, the Intelli-Leads gathered by ronsmap and their vBack application are enhanced by the market intelligence gathered by their SellersVantage application which provides real time information on the online consumer beyond the typical name, IP address, contact information and questions regarding the vehicle they selected. SellersVantage provides the auto dealer with the comparable vehicles that the customer may have considered through ronsmap as well competitive information on similar vehicles currently being offered on the Internet. As a result, conversion rates are increased for the auto dealer and the transparency and relevancy for the car shopper is enhanced. Of course none of this is possible if the automotive advertising agency doesn’t know about ronsmap and similar leveraged online marketing platforms to recommend to their auto dealer clients.Understanding and applying the rules established by the search engines to maximize the S.E.O. for their auto dealer clients is another challenge for automotive advertising agencies that requires them to listen and learn about new Internet applications before they can presume to serve their clients’ needs. Social media has earned a weighted position on Google that is only matched by their similar respect for video to reflect consumer preferences. A generation of T.V. watchers has matured into video-centric consumers that prefer to watch an online video of a vehicle vs. a typical display ad listing features and benefits or even a set of pictures. SiSTeR Technologies has a video production platform, Video CarLot, that hosts applications like their vShock and VidBrid that produce professional quality videos from still pictures extrapolated from an auto dealer’s website using human voice, existing video footage and multi-schema layers with interactive information for the consumer to increase the transparency and relevancy of the experience.In addition, SiSTeR is able to increase the vSEO of the dealer by distributing each produced video directly onto the search engines through their dedicated API with You Tube with their own URL, file name and associated search words and meta tags. Couple that with the linked micro-site offered by their vShock application that follows custom business rules established by the auto dealer to display the selected vehicle video with other similar vehicles chosen from their online inventory and you can see the added value of an automotive advertising agency that knows to suggest this video platform to their clients.Other new vendor solutions offered by companies like CityTwist.Com who offers a do it yourself email platform with over one hundred and twenty five million double opt-in email addresses to facilitate conquest sales for auto dealers and Bull Dog Marketing Technologies who provides an internal data based marketing platform capable of delivering direct mail or email messages with personal URLs and custom vehicle selection and price quotes in monitored monthly campaigns for sales and service will also provide enough of an R.O.I. to support the fees that they paid to the automotive advertising agency that suggested them. Simply put, today’s automotive advertising agencies must lead, follow or get out of the way of those forward thinking agencies that accept their new areas of responsibility that include listening and learning about new Internet based technologies to recommend to their clients.

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Home Business Online Opportunity

Various improvements in the internet use have made it possible for one to actually work from home. In order to have a successful home business online opportunity one needs to have a few accessories in order to carry out the job effectively. One of the opportunity in the internet that one can take advantage of includes online jobs, marketing products and sale of various products on the internet. This opportunity only requires one to have access to internet and a computer. Networking is also one of the requirements of online jobs. This is because it helps one to expand the market base of the services offered to the market. A good online network can determines the success of a business in the internet. One gets to have access to more ideas that can actually be used to develop the online business.A home business online opportunity is very easy for one to take part in as it does not require a lot of documentation that accompanies establishment of other forms of business. Online writing services are one of the opportunities that one can take advantage of form the internet. The only requirement one needs to have register with one of the many writing agencies available in the internet. This is usually free and the only requires skills and will to perform the job. There are many writers who have successfully being able to employ people to do the writing for them at a fee which is usually paid at the end of the month.One should be ready to take risks in order to be successful. This is because in most case the online business requires one to work with people that one does not have a visual knowledge of. Hence one needs to be able to work on basis of trust and honesty in order to successfully establish and take advantage of a home business online opportunity. Credibility is one of the virtues that determine the success of an online business. One has to work honestly with the online clients in order to get a reliable supply of work.Record keeping is one of the requirements of an online business. One needs to take time to record all the business carried out in the online business. This will help to solve disputes and provides details that are used to advertise the business to the clients online. In business the client is the most important aspect in business. To develop a home business online opportunity one has to ensure that the services are quality and follow the specifications of the clients. This will help to build the reputation of the business and the image of the business to the clients.Advertisements tools can be used to advertise the online job to people all over the world. There are various advertisement tools that are cheaper and very effective such as use of products and developing blogs that are related to the business. The success of a home business online opportunity depends solely on the quality of the services offered to the clients.

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