The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administers various single family mortgage insurance programs. These programs operate through FHA-approved lending institutions which submit applications to have the property appraised and have the buyer’s credit approved. These lenders fund the mortgage loans which the Department insures. HUD does not make direct loans to help people buy homes.
The Section 203(k) program is the Department’s primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family properties. As such, it is an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization and for expanding homeownership opportunities. Since these are the primary goals of HUD, the Department believes that Section 203(k) is an important program and we intend to continue to strongly support the program and the lenders that participate in it.
Many lenders have successfully used the Section 203(k) program in partnership with state and local housing agencies and nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate properties. These lenders, along with state and local government agencies, have found ways to combine Section 203(k) with other financial resources, such as HUD’s HOME, HOPE, and Community Development Block Grant Programs, to assist borrowers. Several state housing finance agencies have designed programs, specifically for use with Section 203(k) and some lenders have also used the expertise of local housing agencies and nonprofit organizations to help manage the rehabilitation processing.
The Department also believes that the Section 203(k) program is an excellent means for lenders to demonstrate their commitment to lending in lower income communities and to help meet their responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). HUD is committed to increasing homeownership opportunities for families in these communities and Section 203(k) is an excellent product for use with CRA-type lending programs.
If you have questions about the 203(k) program or are interested in getting a 203(k) insured mortgage loan, we suggest that you get in touch with an FHA-approved lender in your area or the Homeownership Center in your area.
Section 10 1 (c) (1) of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1978 (Public Law 95557) amends Section 203(k) of the National Housing Act (NHA). The objective of the revision is to enable HUD to promote and facilitate the restoration and preservation of the Nation’s existing housing stock. The provisions of Section 203(k) are located in Chapter II of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations under Section 203.50 and Sections 203.440 through 203.494. Program instructions are in HUD Handbook 4240-4. HUD Handbooks may be ordered online from The HUD Compendium or from HUDCLIPS.
Most mortgage financing plans provide only permanent financing. That is, the lender will not usually close the loan and release the mortgage proceeds unless the condition and value of the property provide adequate loan security. When rehabilitation is involved, this means that a lender typically requires the improvements to be finished before a long-term mortgage is made.
When a homebuyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the homebuyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage. Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods. The Section 203(k) program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property. To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work. To minimize the risk to the mortgage lender, the mortgage loan (the maximum allowable amount) is eligible for endorsement by HUD as soon as the mortgage proceeds are disbursed and a rehabilitation escrow account is established. At this point the lender has a fully-insured mortgage loan.
To be eligible, the property must be a one- to four-family dwelling that has been completed for at least one year. The number of units on the site must be acceptable according to the provisions of local zoning requirements. All newly constructed units must be attached to the existing dwelling. Cooperative units are not eligible.
Homes that have been demolished, or will be razed as part of the rehabilitation work, are eligible provided some of the existing foundation system remains in place.
In addition to typical home rehabilitation projects, this program can be used to convert a one-family dwelling to a two-, three-, or four-family dwelling. An existing multi-unit dwelling could be decreased to a one- to four-family unit.
An existing house (or modular unit) on another site can be moved onto the mortgaged property; however, release of loan proceeds for the existing structure on the non-mortgaged property is not allowed until the new foundation has been properly inspected and the dwelling has been properly placed and secured to the new foundation.
A 203(k) mortgage may be originated on a “mixed use” residential property provided: (1) The property has no greater than 25 percent (for a one story building); 33 percent (for a three story building); and 49 percent (for a two story building) of its floor area used for commercial (storefront) purposes; (2) the commercial use will not affect the health and safety of the occupants of the residential property; and (3) the rehabilitation funds will only be used for the residential functions of the dwelling and areas used to access the residential part of the property.
The Department also permits Section 203(k) mortgages to be used for individual units in condominium projects that have been approved by FHA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or are acceptable to FNMA under the guidelines listed below.
The 203(k) program was not intended to be a project mortgage insurance program, as large scale development has considerably more risk than individual single-family mortgage insurance. Therefore, condominium rehabilitation is subject to the following conditions:
1 Owner/occupant and qualified non-profit borrowers only; no investors;
2 Rehabilitation is limited only to the interior of the unit. Mortgage proceeds are not to be used for the rehabilitation of exteriors or other areas which are the responsibility of the condominium association, except for the installation of firewalls in the attic for the unit;
3 Only the lesser of five units per condominium association, or 25 percent of the total number of units, can be undergoing rehabilitation at any one time;
4 The maximum mortgage amount cannot exceed 100 percent of after-improved value.
After rehabilitation is complete, the individual buildings within the condominium must not contain more than four units. By law, Section 203(k) can only be used to rehabilitate units in one-to-four unit structures. However, this does not mean that the condominium project, as a whole, can only have four units or that all individual structures must be detached.
Example: A project might consist of six buildings each containing four units, for a total of 24 units in the project and, thus, be eligible for Section 203(k). Likewise, a project could contain a row of more than four attached townhouses and be eligible for Section 203(k) because HUD considers each townhouse as one structure, provided each unit is separated by a 1 1/2 hour firewall (from foundation up to the roof).
Similar to a project with a condominium unit with a mortgage insured under Section 234(c) of the National Housing Act, the condominium project must be approved by HUD prior to the closing of any individual mortgages on the condominium units.
This program can be used to accomplish rehabilitation and/or improvement of an existing one-to-four unit dwelling in one of three ways:
1 To purchase a dwelling and the land on which the dwelling is located and rehabilitate it.
2 To purchase a dwelling on another site, move it onto a new foundation on the mortgaged property and rehabilitate it.
3 To refinance existing liens secured against the subject property and rehabilitate such a dwelling.
4 To purchase a dwelling and the land on which the dwelling is located and rehabilitate it, and to refinance existing indebtedness and rehabilitate such a dwelling, the mortgage must be a first lien on the property and the loan proceeds (other than rehabilitation funds) must be available before the rehabilitation begins. To purchase a dwelling on another site, move it onto a new foundation and rehabilitate it, the mortgage must be a first lien on the property; however, loan proceeds for the moving of the house cannot be made available until the unit is attached to the new foundation.
Luxury items and improvements are not eligible as a cost rehabilitation. However, the homeowner can use the 203(k) program to finance such items as painting, room additions, decks and other items even if the home does not need any other improvements. All health, safety and energy conservation items must be addressed prior to completing general home improvements.
All rehabilitation construction and/or additions financed with Section 203(k) mortgage proceeds must comply with the following:
Cost Effective Energy Conservation Standards
(1) Addition to existing structure. New construction must conform with local codes and HUD Minimum Property Standards in 24 CFR 200.926d.
(2) Rehabilitation of Existing Structure. To improve the thermal efficiency of the dwelling, the following are required:
For additional information and requirements, refer to 24 CFR Part 39.
(3) Replacement Systems.
Determining Upon One or Two Appraisal Reports
A. As-is Value.
B. Value After Rehabilitation.
Recently Acquired Properties
Definitions for Use in the 203(k) Program
The mortgage amount, when added to any other existing indebtedness against the property, cannot exceed the applicable loan-to-value ratio and maximum dollar amount limitations prescribed for similar properties under Section 203(b). The down payment requirements are the same as under the Section 203(b) program. The Mortgage Payment Reserve is considered a part of the cost of rehabilitation for determining the maximum mortgage amount. Also refer to the requirements for incentives to acquire HUD-owned properties.
The form HUD-92700 (Maximum Mortgage Worksheet) must be used to determine the maximum mortgage amount.
Seven Unit Limitation
HUD regulations and policies state that a real estate owner/entity should not be allowed to rapidly accumulate FHA insured properties that clearly and collectively constitute a multifamily project. In general, a borrower may not have an interest in more than seven rental units (FHA, VA, conventional or owned free and clear of any mortgage) in the same subdivision or contiguous area. For 203(k) purposes, HUD defines a contiguous area as within a two block radius.
The seven unit limitation does not apply if (1) the neighborhood has been targeted by a State or local government for redevelopment or revitalization; and (2) the State or local government has submitted a plan to HUD that defines the area, extent and type of commitment to redevelop the area. A restriction may still be imposed (by HUD) within a redevelopment area (or sub-area) in order to prevent undesirable concentrations of units under a single (or group) ownership. H U D will determine that the seven unit limit is inapplicable only if: (1) the real estate owner/entity will own no more than 10 percent of the housing units (regardless of financing type) in the designated redevelopment area or sub-area; and (2) the real estate owner/entity has no more than eight units on adjacent lots.
Interest Rate and Discount Points
These are not regulated and are negotiable between the borrower and the lender. The amortization of the loan will be for 30 years; however, provisions of the Section 203(k) mortgage (described in Section 203.21 of the Regulations) are the same as prescribed under Section 203(b).
Discount Points on Repair Costs and Fees
Discount points the borrower pays on the rehabilitation portion of the mortgage proceeds are allowable rehabilitation costs.
The statutory requirements and administrative policies of Section 203(k) result in deviations from the maximum amount of charges and fees permitted under Section 203(b).
A. Supplemental Origination Fee. When the Section 203(k) mortgage involves insurance of advances, the lender may collect from the mortgagor a supplemental origination fee. This fee is calculated as one and one-half percent (1-1/2%) of the portion of the mortgage allocated to the rehabilitation or $350, whichever is greater. This supplemental origination fee is collected in addition to the one percent origination fee on the total mortgage amount.
B. Independent Consultant Fee. A borrower can have an independent consultant prepare the required architectural exhibits. A borrower can also use a contractor to prepare the construction exhibits or prepare the exhibits themselves. The use of a consultant is not required; however, the borrower should consider using this service in order to expedite the processing of the 203(k) loan. When a consultant is used, HUD does not warrant the competence of the consultant or the quality of the work the consultant may perform for the borrower. The consultant must enter into a written agreement with the borrower that completely explains what services the consultant will perform for the borrower and the fee charged. The fee charged by the consultant can be included in the mortgage. A fee of $400 is acceptable for a property with repairs less than $7,500; $500 for repairs between $7,501 and $15,000; $600 for repairs between $ 15,001 and $ 30,000; and $ 700 for repairs between $30,001 and $50,000; $800 for repairs between $50,001 and $75,000; $900 for repairs between $75,001 and $100,000; and $ 1,000 for repairs over $100,000. An additional fee of $25 can be charged for each additional unit in the property under the same FHA case number. For this fee, the consultant would inspect the property and provide all the required architectural exhibits. State licensed architect or engineer fees are not restricted by this fee schedule. The architect and engineer fees must be customary and reasonable for the type of project.)
C. Fee Consultant. Prior to the appraisal, a HUD-accepted fee consultant must visit the site to ensure compliance with program requirements. The utilities must be on for this site review to take place. The fee is as follows and may not be changed without HUD Headquarters approval: 1) Initial review prior to appraisal: Cost of Repairs/Fee: <$15,000=$100.00, >$15,001 but less than or equal to<$30,000=$150.00, >$30,001=$200.00 2) Additional unit review (two to four units with same case number)-$50.00/unit. 3) Additional review (reinspection of the same unit)-$50.00. When travel distance exceeds 30 miles round trip from the reviewer’s place of business, a mileage charge (established by HUD Field Office) may be applied to the above charges, including toll road and other charges where applicable.
D. Appraisal Fee.
The lender may charge a borrower no more than the actual amount the lender pays the appraiser, whether the appraiser is on the lender’s staff, or external to the organization. The lender may include the appraisal fee in the closing costs.
E. Inspection Fee (during the rehabilitation construction period). Established by the local HUD Field Office. (1) Fees for a maximum of five draw inspections will be allowed for inclusion in the cost of rehabilitation. If all inspections are not required, remaining funds will be applied to the principal after the Final Release Notice is issued. (2) If additional inspections are required by the lender to ensure satisfactory compliance with exhibits, the borrower or contractor will be responsible for payment; however, the lender has ultimate responsibility.
F. Title Update Fee. To protect the validity of the mortgage position from mechanic’s liens on the property, reasonable fees charged by a title company may be included as an allowable cost of rehabilitation. When the mortgage position is protected and is not in jeopardy, this fee may not apply Borrowers may wish to obtain lien protection, but the fees must be paid by the borrower where such lien protection is not required to ensure the validity of the security instrument. The allowable fee should not exceed $50.00 per draw release. If all draw inspections are not made, monies left in escrow must be applied to reduce the mortgage balance.
This describes a typical step-by-step application/mortgage origination process for a transaction involving the purchase and rehabilitation of a property. It explains the role of HUD, the mortgage lender, the contractor, the borrower, consultant, the plan reviewer, appraiser and the inspector.
A. Homebuyer Locates the Property.
B. Preliminary Feasibility Analysis
After the property is located, the homebuyer and their real estate professional should make a marketability analysis prior to signing the sales contract. The following should be determined: 1) The extent of the rehabilitation work required; 2) Rough cost estimate of the work; and 3) The expected market value of the property after completion of the work. Note: The borrower does not want to spend money for appraisals and repair specifications (plans), then discover that the value of the property will be less than the purchase price (or existing indebtedness), plus the cost of improvements.
C. Sales Contract is Executed.
A provision should be included in the sales contract that the buyer has applied for Section 203(k) financing, and that the contract is contingent upon loan approval and buyer’s acceptance of additional required improvements as determined by HUD or the lender.
D. Homebuyer Selects Mortgage Lender.
Call HUD Field Office for a list of lenders.
E. Homebuyer Prepares Work Write-up and Cost Estimate.
A consultant can help the buyer prepare the exhibits to speed up the loan process.
F. Lender Requests HUD Case Number.
Upon acceptance of the architectural exhibits, the lender requests the assignment of a HUD case number, the plan reviewer, appraiser, and the inspector.
G. Fee Consultant Visits Property.
The homebuyer and contractor (where applicable) meet with the fee consultant to ensure that the architectural exhibits are acceptable and that all program requirements have been properly shown on the exhibits.
H. Appraiser Performs the Appraisal.
I. Lender Reviews the Application
The appraisal is reviewed to determine the maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property
J. Issuance of Conditional Commitment/Statement of Appraised Value.
This is issued by the lender and establishes the maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property.
K. Lender Prepares Firm Commitment Application.
The borrower provides information for the lender to request a credit report, verifications of employment and deposits, and any other source documents needed to establish the ability of the borrower to repay the mortgage.
L. Lender Issues Firm Commitment.
If the application is found acceptable, the firm commitment is issued to the borrower. It states the maximum mortgage amount that HUD will insure for the borrower and the property.
M. Mortgage Loan Closing.
After issuance of the firm commitment, the lender prepares for the closing of the mortgage. This includes the preparation of the Rehabilitation Loan Agreement. The Agreement is executed by the borrower and the lender in order to establish the conditions under which the lender will release funds from the Rehabilitation Escrow Account. Following closing, the borrower is required to begin making mortgage payments on the entire principal amount for the mortgage, including the amount in the Rehabilitation Escrow Account that has not yet been disbursed.
N. Mortgage Insurance Endorsement.
Following loan closing, the lender submits copies of the mortgage documents to the HUD office for mortgage insurance endorsement. HUD reviews the submission and, if found acceptable, issues a Mortgage Insurance Certificate to the lender.
O. Rehabilitation Construction Begins.
At loan closing, the mortgage proceeds will be disbursed to pay off the seller of the existing property and the Rehabilitation Escrow Account will be established. Construction may begin. The homeowner has up to six (6) months to complete the work depending on the extent of work to be completed. (Lenders may require less than six months.)
P. Releases from Rehabilitation Escrow Account.
As construction progresses, funds are released after the work is inspected by a HUD-approved inspector. A maximum of four draw inspections plus a final inspection are allowed. The inspector reviews the Draw Request (form HUD-9746-A) that is prepared by the borrower and contractor. If the cost of rehabilitation exceeds $10,000, additional draw inspections are authorized provided the lender and borrower agree in writing and the number of draw inspections is shown on form HUD-92700, 203(k) Maximum Mortgage Worksheet.
Q. Completion of Work/Final Inspection.
When all work is complete according to the approved architectural exhibits and change orders, the borrower provides a letter indicating that all work is satisfactorily complete and ready for final inspection. If the HUD-approved inspector agrees, the final draw may be released, minus the required 10 percent holdback. If there is unused contingency funds or mortgage payment reserves in the Account, the lender must apply the funds to prepay the mortgage principal.