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The #1 Guide To Getting Approved For The Best FHA 203K, Homestyle®, USDA Repair Escrow & VA Renovation Loans!

*UPDATED FOR 2019

 

You’re Looking To Renovate or Rehab Your New Home Purchase or Existing Primary Residence, So Why Choose BuildBuyRefi Over other Home Lenders?

 

First and Foremost, We Provide the Best Renovation loan Programs of any 50 state bank, Working 7-days a week around Your Schedule, Not Ours!

 
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If you visited other websites looking for a rehab or renovation loan, you'd notice most start out with this one question: What is a renovation loan?

Short answer, it’s a mortgage designed to finance renovations for your new home or existing property into one single, low-rate loan. We go steps beyond other banks by focusing on the more important aspects you want to know, like discussing the programs that may fit you best, can you get approved quickly and easily at a low attractive rate and term. As an FDIC Insured Bank, we provide the FHA 203k, Homestyle® Renovation, USDA Repair Escrow & VA renovation loans for 1-4 family homes, on owner occupied, second home, and investment properties in all 50 states.

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This Home Renovation Loan Guide is designed to provide the most accurate information you need to make the best possible decision on who you choose to fund your loan. We take the small town bank approach with the more significant 50 state bank risk, especially on this program type.

We’re probably not the first company you found when starting your online loan search if it is, we’re lucky to have found each other first. Many lenders advertise for renovation loans which provide far less superior options, so let’s get right to it and first take a short test to see if you are in the right place.

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How Do I know I Can Qualify & my Property Is Eligible For A Renovation Loan With BuildBuyRefi?

Whether You Buy or Refi, The Qualification Requirements Remain Similar For Each Program.

Say “YES” to the top 5 qualifiers, and you’re one-step closer to getting the best FHA 203k, FNMA Homestyle®, USDA Repair Escrow or VA Renovation loan BuildBuyRefi has to offer.

Respond “NO” To Any Of These Statements, And You May Still Qualify!


(1). You’re seeking A Renovation or Rehab Loan on a Single Family, Modular, Duplex, or Manufactured Primary Residence, Second Home or Investment Property.

To complete a renovation loan using any of the government-backed programs, you must live in the property as your primary residence and in no way can use this loan for rental, investment, commercial or mixed-use property.

Our FHA 203K Loan for limited and standard renovations allow you to rehab a 1 or 2 unity property, as does our VA Renovation Loan. However, for our USDA Repair Escrow program you are limited to a Single Unit Property only, approved condos allowed. In no case can this loan type be used for demolished or razed homes.

Our Homestyle® program allows you to complete a purchase or refinance renovation on primary residence, second homes, and investment properties up to 2 units. FNMA Homestyle will allow renovations on 3-4 unity properties only if they are a primary residence, no other program will allow over 2 units.

*Manufactured homes are not allowed under the Homestyle® program, but ARE allowed under the other 3 renovation programs we offer.


(2). You don’t Intend to Complete The Work Yourself, and You will use Only One General Contractor, Subcontractors Are allowed.

All FHA 203k, Fannie Mae Homestyle®, VA Renovation, and USDA Repair Escrow programs offered by BuildBuyRefi require 1 General contractor to handle the repairs, and under that General contractor, you are allowed to have Subcontractors completing the work you designate.

None of these programs allow for you to act as the “Do It Yourself” (DIY) General Contractor or to complete the work yourself. Each of the programs requires approval and inspections of the work to qualify for a payout of the draws and payments to satisfy the loan approval and guidelines. There can be no identity or conflict of interest with the use of contractors, nor can family members be permitted.


(3). You’re Upgrades Are Cosmetic Renovations, or Structural And are not what would be considered Luxury Upgrades To your Property. Except when using our Homestyle® program.

Each loan has subtle differences to what is eligible and ineligible for renovation. The only program that allows structural upgrades or changes to the structure is the BuildBuyRefi FHA 203k Standard program which comes with the highest amount of updates allowed. Our FHA 203k Limited and VA Renovation loans allow for repairs, appliance upgrades or cosmetic rehabs within certain loan limits.

None of our programs allow for luxury upgrades such as swimming pools, outside spas, outdoor saunas, outdoor fireplaces, hearths, gazebos, bathhouses, tennis courts, satellite dishes, or any work taking longer than allowed per program. We can discuss with you further what is and is not allowed in each FHA, USDA, and VA renovation loan.

*There are no restrictions to home improvements under the Homestyle® program, however, ALL improvements must be of a nature that would improve the overall value of the home.


(4). Your Renovations Will Take No Longer Than 3-Months For FHA 203k Limited, 4-Months For VA Rehab, or 6-Months For the FHA 203k Standard, Fannie Mae Homestyle® Or USDA Repair Escrow And The Home Will Not Be Vacant More than 30 days.

There are strict time guidelines that must be met when completing any of these programs, so when choosing a contractor to complete the work, they must adhere to this schedule. The FHA 203k limited loan has a three-month or 90-day completion date, the VA Renovation loan has a four-month or 120-day completion date, and the FHA 203K Standard loan which does allow for structural repairs or room additions, and our FNMA Homestyle® renovation has a six-month completion date.

These dates are designed to protect you, the homeowner on making wise choices with approvable contractors. Additionally, each program has subtle differences in how many draws are allowed to the contractor. We discuss more regarding the number of draws permitted below.


(5). Your loan request is greater than $80,000, and your repair or Renovation request is greater than $5,000 unless Choosing a USDA Repair Escrow.

On RARE occasions we can provide loans down to 60k, but we have found lower loan amounts require higher rates below $80,000 cheating you out of getting a much better rate, and in some cases can disqualify the loan when costs and fees are factored in.

Additionally, all programs require a minimum of $5,000.00 except the USDA Repair Escrow which has no minimum repair amount. Additionally, The FHA 203K limited has a maximum renovation of $35,000, our VA reno program maximum is $50,000, the USDA Repair Escrow has a 10% of final loan amount limit, and the FHA 203k Standard & FNMA Homestyle® has no maximum renovation amount except those set by FHA and FNMA conforming limits per county.


Great, if you answered “YES” to each of these, you passed the first part of our pre-approval test. If you have a “NO” somewhere, then call us now, or take our eligibility checker to discuss your scenario. Answering “NO” doesn’t mean you won’t qualify, it just means we need to find out which area is impacting your request.

Before we discuss the programs we offer, let’s review the most important ways to make the process as smooth as possible.

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How Do I Guarantee I’ll Be Pre-Approved & Close Fast With A Low-Interest Rate?

First, There Are No Guarantees Because There Are Many Unknowns.

Anyone offering you a guarantee is probably someone you want to avoid. It’s not guaranteed until you have met all conditions and closed your loan. But let’s discuss further how you can get the results you are seeking.

If You Want The Best, Then There’s A Need For Wicked Fast Speed, And Here’s Why!

Applying and getting approved for a rehab or renovation loan is only the first step in the process, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the rate, terms, or program you were pre-approved for. Many factors go into achieving that low rate and great program you wanted, and that is “the speed in which YOU move.” Time plays against every borrower in a big way with any loan.


Learn the 4 most-important reasons to “light the fire” and Take Fast Action on Your FHA 203K, FNMA Homestyle®, USDA Repair or VA Renovation Pre-Approval!

  1. Rate Locks Expire: Most loans are locked for 30 days because the shorter term allows you to get the lowest rate possible. If you lose your rate lock by letting it expire or needing to extend it because you took weeks getting the items back, it will cost you more money or a higher rate. With rates recently on the rise, a higher price could even risk your approval for the loan you wanted. A long delay could require you to re-qualify for the loan again.

  2. Programs Could Disappear: It’s happened before, we’ve witnessed many loan programs get wiped out overnight. Investors can choose to change their risk portfolio and stop offering programs altogether, that is why moving fast on the approval you have in your hand means taking action.

  3. Your Job or Income Status Could Change: What if you lost your job, your income was reduced, or you wanted to take a new job, but it put your loan closing in jeopardy because you took too long getting documents back? Any of these changes in your employment status could come back with more unfavorable terms, or worse, a complete loan denial.

  4. Your Credit Score Could Dramatically Change: We’ve seen this happen so many times, a borrower maxes out their credit card for business, or they miss a payment because they weren’t paying attention, or a judgment/collection was filed for any host of reasons. Not closing quickly under the same credit terms is another reason for underwriters to require you to re-qualify or cancel the loan.

BuildBuyRefi review and testimonial for Richie Duncan.
BuildBuyRefi Review and testimonial for Saif Kovach.

Follow These 3 steps to Get the lowest FHA 203k, Fannie Mae Homestyle®, USDA Escrow Repair and VA Renovation Loan rates possible today.

  1. Find a lender you feel confident in and apply to get pre-qualified from that lender. Make sure the lender has the program you want, and if they don’t sound confident they can close this program and have experience and reviews doing so, then keep looking! You may want to check out our reviews to help give you this confidence.

  2. Request a rate lock on your loan once you are pre-approved and get your lender every item needed as fast as necessary to close your loan, so your rate lock doesn’t expire. Your side of the process is only complete when the loan is closed, not when you think you sent enough documents to satisfy what is requested from the lender. Underwriters ask for specifics, so be sure to work with your banker to keep to the specific requests only.

  3. Take responsibility and move fast, as you know rates have been on the rise, wait too long and you could end up with a higher interest rate, therefore qualifying for a smaller loan amount than if you locked in faster on a lower rate. It’s your job to ensure you meet all requirements, not the loan officer or lenders position to hold the file open as long as possible paying for the rate lock extension out of their pocket. Locks cost money because your lender is reserving the funds and rate you wanted. It’s your responsibility to ensure you move fast as not to let that lock expire or it could end up costing you.

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What Style Of Properties Do You Lend On, And What Program Types Are Offered?

BuildBuyRefi Provides Renovation Loans On These Owner-Occupied, 2nd Home, & Investment Property Styles.

(1). Manufactured Homes

    • Any single-wide or multi-wide manufactured home larger than 400 sq. ft., and built after June 15, 1976. The property must not be on leased land or in a trailer park and must be on a permanent foundation. *Not available on Homestyle®.


(2). Single Family & Modular Homes

    • Any site/stick built home, or modular home constructed and shipped to the site. There are no age restrictions on these properties; however, they cannot be mixed-use, demolished, razed homes, co-op’s, investment, or on structures relocated to or from another site.

(3). Duplexes & 3-4 Unit Properties.

    • Any 2 unit property such as a side-by-side or top and bottom duplex allowed as long as one of the units is fully owned and occupied by the primary borrower for the FHA, VA, & USDA programs, and 3-4 Units for the Homestyle® programs.


(4). Townhouses & Condos

    • For FHA 203K limited, standard, and USDA Repair Escrows any townhouse or condo must be approved or accepted by HUD, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Each program has their specific guidelines that expand further. No exceptions for approved proper properties.

*Modular homes are not considered manufactured homes, they fall under the same category as a Single-Family Home and are not viewed differently by our underwriters. Homes that have never been completed cannot be accepted into renovation programs as this would fall under a one-time close construction loan program. Please review our OTC construction loan programs if you feel this may apply. Manufactured homes are not eligible under the Homestyle® program, but are for others.


What Does FHA, FNMA, USDA, & VA Mean, And How Do I know Which Program To Choose?

These terms (FHA, FNMA, USDA, VA) refer to the government-backed program type, and more often the choice is based on what your goals are. These can also be decided by other factors such as location, loan amount, borrower status, and borrower’s desired transaction request. Each program has a different set of product offerings underneath it that are uniquely different. Let’s explain what these are.

The 4 different Renovation program types available on Renovation & Rehab Loans Through BuildBuyRefi.

  1. FHA Government Loans.

    • FHA stands for the Federal Housing Administration; a government agency devised to help increase homeownership to those with lower credit scores, income amounts, and higher debt ratios. Because of this the FHA loans come with Mortgage Insurance and does not automatically drop off when you get lower than 80%, you will be required to refinance out of an FHA loan if you want to drop the mortgage insurance monthly premium. 

    • However, the FHA loan allows up to and over 100% for the FHA 203k loans. You are allowed to purchase a new home and rehab or renovate at the same time, in theory going over 100% of the purchase price you agreed upon to design the house how you want it. FHA also allows for up to 85% cash out when you are looking to consolidate debt. Additionally, the FHA loan can be used in combination with our BuildBuyRefi one-time close (OTC) single closing construction loan for both homes and land up to 96.5%. 

    • The FHA has maximum loan amounts depending upon the specific country your property is located.

  2. FNMA (Fannie Mae) Renovation Loans

    • The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, is a United States government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) and, since 1968, a publicly traded company. FNMA governs the “Conforming” loan limits, those which set county limits for single family, all the way up to 4 family units. Their Homestyle® renovation program allows for renovations over the amount of your purchase price or renovation value.

    • Eligible property types are new and existing single family properties, modular homes, condos and puds that meet fannie mae guidelines. Ineligible property types are condotels, cooperatives, manufactured homes, ground up rehabs, mixed use properties, one lot parcels with two separate dwellings.

    • The Homestyle program allows a max of 95% loan to value on Single Family Owner occupied Properties, 85% 2 family owner occupied properties, and 75% for 3-4 unit properties. However, single family second homes are allowed up to 90% on both purchase or refinance, and Investment properties are allowed 85% for purchase and 75% for refinance. The FNMA Maximum amount follows the 2019 conforming loan limits.

  3. USDA Rural Development Loans.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture backs these loans to increase home ownership in qualifying rural communities. To qualify, the home you buy or refinance must be in a qualifying area. Mortgage insurance is required for USDA; however, the monthly MI amount is currently lower than that of a comparable FHA loan. The USDA Escrow Repair allows for up to 10% over the purchase price for a new home or loan amount for a refinance to fix qualifying repairs that do not fall under structural or hazardous issues with the property.

    • The USDA program is available in all 50 states as long as you meet the required minimum credit score. Also, your debt to income ratio (DTI) must be lower than what the FHA requires; however they allow for large tracts of land. USDA does not yet fund Repair Escrow loans on used manufactured homes except for a few qualifying pilot states, so be sure to ask us first before putting a USDA contract on a used manufactured homes. 

    • Other caveats to be aware of is that USDA will not under any circumstances offer a cash out or debt consolidation under their guidelines, if you’re looking to refinance to a lower rate, reduce your MI to current levels, or change the term you can go up to 100% on the USDA Streamline Assist refinance. Besides, we allow borrowers' looking to build their own home and buy their land using the one-time close construction loan up to 100%. The USDA has maximum income limits per number of people per household but does not come with a maximum loan amount limit.

  4. VA Home Loans For Active Military, Disabled or Retired Veterans, and their spouses.

    • Some of the best benefits available to Veterans and their spouses are still the VA home loan. Of all renovation loan programs, the VA loan offers the highest rehab amount, the lowest interest rates, and comes with no mortgage insurance at all. This is why more Veterans should be taking advantage of this program every chance they can get. 

    • Sometimes Realtors will turn away this loan type, that means you’re working with the wrong realtor because they are the strongest of all government-backed home loan programs. Every program offered through the VA allows for 100% or higher in loan financing. Purchase, cash-out, consolidation, VA IRRRL streamline, and this VA Renovation loan which we offer now up to $50,000.00 where other lenders still provide $35,000 for structural rehab and interior renovations. Also, we provide the full 100% OTC construction loan, buy your land and home in one loan, not three separate transactions. 

    • The VA home loan comes with fewer reports required for manufactured homes as well, so it moves much faster, though we are wicked fast on all property types. You’ll even be able to finance large tracts of land and have certain exceptions granted that you will not find in conventional, FHA, or USDA types. The VA loan does not have any location restrictions or income restrictions, but it does have certain DTI and loan amount restrictions based upon what areas you are buying in.

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The 5 Home Renovation Loan Products We Offer, and How To Determine Which Is Best For You.

Our 5 Most Popular Renovation & Rehab Loan Products & Details.

You most likely aren’t sure which product is going to be best for you when choosing your renovation loan. Whether you are purchasing a new home that you want to update or refinancing your existing home, these products are explained in more details so you can make the best choice for you and your family.

Complete a VA Renovation, FHA 203k Loan, or USDA Rehab for your Manufactured Home with BuildBuyRefi.com

#1. The Limited FHA 203K Loan

  • The FHA 203k Limited or Streamline Loan has a maximum allowable repair limit of $35,000; however, some of these costs must be maintained for overage allowance. Meaning if your repairs are of a non-structural and non-luxury upgrade nature and are limited to $30,000 in total costs and you're not a Veteran than this is the product you want to seek out. Having your repairs rolled into one loan is more accessible than qualifying for a 2nd mortgage also known as a home equity loan, and comes with one low fixed rate mortgage.

  • This product allows for product terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms, will still have the applicable mortgage insurance, and to remove the required MI once you get below 79% loan to value you would need to refinance to a new program.

  • For Purchase loans, this product can be used on HUD REOs, foreclosures and short sales, as well as minor updates to existing homes for purchase or refinancing. The repairs can be completed by only 1 General Contractor (GC) which may be able to use multiple subcontractors if required underneath the GC. The borrower cannot complete any of the repairs themselves or act as the general contractor, and ALL improvements must be finalized in a three-month time. The work must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan, and must not cease for a period longer than 30 days. The GC must submit a qualifying bid outlining all work to be completed within the 90 day period and will receive a maximum of 2 draws on the property, 1 for up to 50% of the work on start, and the remaining 50% upon completion and final inspection of the work.

  • Eligible improvement types are; Eliminating health and safety risks, connecting to public water & sewer systems, repairing or replacing plumbing, heating, AC, electrical systems, making changes for improved functionality and modernization, new roof as long as structural integrity is intact, siding, gutters and downspouts, energy conservation, improving accessibility for persons with disabilities, repairing fencing, walkways and driveways, new refrigerator, cooktop, oven, dishwasher, built-in microwave, washer and dryer, repairing or removing an existing in-ground swimming pool, installing, repairing or replacing exterior decks, patios, or porches, covering lead-based paint issues.

  • Ineligible improvements that are structural or considered luxury are not allowed. These would be converting 1 family to 2 family, or 2 family to 1 family property, repairing foundation issues, moving another structure to the site or room additions to exterior of the property, landscaping site improvements, new swimming pools, outdoor saunas, whirlpools, or bathhouses, tennis or basketball courts, satellite dishes, barbeque pits, outdoor fireplaces or hearths. Additionally, tree-surgery is not allowed unless it endangers existing improvements to the property.

  • Eligible property types are singlewide, doublewide, triple-wide manufactured homes, modular homes, single family homes, duplexes, FHA approved condominiums, and HUD REO property.

  • Ineligible property types are 3-4 unit properties, demolished or razed homes, relocated structures, mixed-use properties, commercial properties, co-op properties, investment property, mobile homes on leased land, and non-FHA warrantable condominiums.

  • There are specific requirements of the General Contractor, Insurance and Liability Requirements, Appraisal Requirements, Bid Requirements, Inspection, and Disbursement Requirements, and certain fees are allowed to be rolled into the closing. You will want to discuss these additional requirements with your banker once you have decided you are ready to move forward. Additionally, since these loans are treated as New Purchase or Rate and Term Refinance loans, the maximum allowable cash back to the borrower cannot exceed $500.00 except in the state of Texas where the amount is $0.

Complete a one time close or single close construction loan with your manufactured home and land with buildbuyrefi.com

#2. The Standard FHA 203k Loan

  • The Standard FHA 203k Loan has no maximum allowable repair limit except that of current FHA limits within your specific county loan limits. This means if you have a zero or low balance on your existing mortgage you can use up to your allowed county limits to access the equity needed for repairs. This program does allow structural changes to the property, and aside from this fact and the ability to go over $35,000, the majority of this product is similar to the limited 203k. There must be over $5,000 in renovations or structural repairs to qualify for this product.

  • This product allows for product terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms, will still have the applicable mortgage insurance, and to remove the required MI once you get below 79% loan to value you would need to refinance to a new program.

  • For Purchase loans, this product can be used on HUD REOs, foreclosures and short sales, as well as updates to existing homes for purchase or refinancing. The repairs can be completed by only 1 General Contractor (GC) which may be able to use multiple subcontractors if required underneath the GC. The borrower cannot complete any of the repairs themselves or act as the general contractor, and ALL improvements must be achieved in a six month time. The work must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan, and must not cease for a period longer than 30 days. The GC must submit a qualifying bid outlining all work to be completed within the 180 day period and will receive a maximum of 5 draws on the property are allowed, and this program requires a HUD consultant to be assigned to watch over the improvements. Additionally, the client can finance up to 6 months of mortgage payments into escrow should the work being completed render the home not livable during the repair timeframe. There is also a suggested 10-20% contingency reserve requirement, this insures against any unforeseen costs or overage and is at the suggestion of the HUD consultant and program guidelines.

  • Eligible improvement types are: Converting a one-family Structure to a two-family structure, decreasing an existing multi-unit Structure to a one- two-family structure, making structural alterations such as the repair or replacement of structural damage, additions to the structure, and finished attics or basements. Rehabilitating, improving or constructing a garage – can be either attached or detached but must have its permanent foundation. Eliminating health and safety risks, installing or repairing wells and/or septic systems, connecting to public water & sewer systems, repairing or replacing plumbing, heating, AC, electrical systems, making changes for improved functionality and modernization, new roof as long as structural integrity is intact, siding, gutters and downspouts, energy conservation, improving accessibility for persons with disabilities, repairing fencing, walkways and driveways, full bathroom updates, full kitchen updates, correcting or removing an existing in-ground swimming pool, installing, repairing or replacing exterior decks, patios, or porches, landscaping, smoke detectors, constructing a windstorm shelter, and covering lead-based paint issues.

  • Ineligible improvements Luxury renovations still are not allowed under this program. These would be moving another structure to the site or room additions to an exterior of the property, new swimming pools, outdoor saunas, outdoor whirlpools, or bathhouses, tennis or basketball courts, satellite dishes, barbeque pits, outdoor fireplaces or hearths. Additions or alterations to support the commercial use or to equip or refurbish space for commercial use are not eligible either. Additionally, tree-surgery is not allowed unless it endangers existing improvements to the property.

  • Eligible property types are singlewide, doublewide, triple-wide manufactured homes, modular homes, single family homes, duplexes, FHA approved condominiums, and HUD REO property. Ineligible property types are 3-4 unit properties, demolished or razed homes, relocated structures, mixed-use properties, commercial properties, co-op properties, investment property, mobile homes on leased land, and non-FHA approved condominiums. Also, a 203k standard refinance on a property with an existing 203(k) Mortgage is not eligible to be refinanced until all repairs are completed and closed out.

  • There are specific requirements of the General Contractor, Insurance and Liability Requirements, Appraisal Requirements, Bid Requirements, Inspection, and Disbursement Requirements, and certain fees are allowed to be rolled into the closing. You will want to discuss these additional requirements with your banker once you have decided you are ready to move forward. Additionally, since these loans are treated as New Purchase or Rate and Term Refinance loans, the maximum allowable cash back to the borrower cannot exceed $500.00 except in the state of Texas where the amount is $0.

BuildBuyRefi’s FNMA Homestyle® Renovation Refinance.

#3. The FNMA Homestyle® Renovation Loan

  • Our Fannie Mae Homestyle® renovation loan has NO maximum allowable repair limit, you are only limited by the equity or value able to be created up to your specific county limit. Unlike other programs you are not limited to what you can and can not do, outside of a complete ground up rehab, and as long as it creates positive value for the property and these updates and repairs can be maintained within a 6 month window.

  • This product allows for 15 and 30-year terms, comes with truly attractive interest rate options. This is also the ONLY program allowing for second homes and investment properties, as well they are the only program offering renovations for properties that are owner occupied 3-4 units.

  • Qualifying applicants may also be able to roll into the loan up to 6 months of mortgage payments if the home is not going to be livable during that time.

  • For Purchase loans, this product can be used on existing single family homes, second homes, and investment homes. When the repairs exceed 35,000, they can be completed by only 1 General Contractor (GC) which may be able to use multiple subcontractors if required underneath the GC. The borrower cannot complete any of the repairs themselves or act as the general contractor, and ALL improvements must be achieved in a four-month term. The work must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan, and must not cease for a period longer than 30 days. The GC must submit a qualifying bid outlining all work to be completed within the 180 day period. Draws and disbursements are determined based upon the percentage of work completed, and no mortgage payment reserve can be financed in the property. Additionally, the property cannot be vacant for more than 30 days. There is a required 10% contingency reserve required on the Homestyle® renovation loan for any overages or miscalculations in repairs.

  • Eligible/Ineligibile improvement types are: Anything that improves the overall value of the property. Can not over-improve the property, nor update it with features that do not increase the value of the appraisal in a manner that disqualifies the transaction.

  • Eligible property types are a bit different for the Homestyle® renovations. They must be single family construction, duplex, 3 unit, or 4 unit properties, Modular homes, condos and puds that are approved by FNMA only.

  • Ineligible property types are Manufactured homes, condotels, cooperatives, ground up rehabs, mixed use, or single parcels with multiple dwellings.

Complete a VA IRRRL Streamline, FHA Streamline or USDA Streamline Assist refi for your manufactured home from BuildBuyRefi.com

#4. The VA Renovation Loan

  • The VA Rehab loan has a maximum allowable repair limit of $50,000; however, some of these costs must be maintained for overage allowance. Meaning if your repairs are of a non-structural and non-luxury upgrade nature and are limited to $45,000 in costs then this is the product you want to obtain. Having your repairs rolled into one loan is more natural than qualifying for a 2nd mortgage also known as a home equity loan, and comes with one low fixed rate mortgage.

  • This product allows for product terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms, comes with interest rate options that are lower than both the FHA and USDA programs and unlike FHA and USDA comes with no mortgage insurance (MI) requirement on loan. So if you are a Veteran, this is the product you want to choose over the other options available if you do not need to complete any structural repairs.

  • For Purchase loans, this product can be used on foreclosures and short sales, as well as minor updates to existing homes for purchase or refinancing. The repairs can be completed by only 1 General Contractor (GC) which may be able to use multiple subcontractors if required underneath the GC. The borrower cannot complete any of the repairs themselves or act as the general contractor, and ALL improvements must be achieved in a four-month term. The work must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan, and must not cease for a period longer than 30 days. The GC must submit a qualifying bid outlining all work to be completed within the 120 day period. Draws and disbursements are determined based upon the percentage of work completed, and no mortgage payment reserve can be financed in the property. Additionally, the property cannot be vacant for more than 15 days. There is a required 15% contingency reserve required on the VA renovation loan for any overages or miscalculations in repairs.

  • Eligible improvement types are: Eliminating health and safety risks, connecting to public water & sewer systems, repairing or replacing plumbing, heating, AC, electrical systems, making changes for improved functionality and modernization, new roof as long as structural integrity is intact, siding, gutters and downspouts, energy conservation improvements, improving accessibility for persons with disabilities, repairing fencing, walkways and driveways, new refrigerator, cooktop, oven, dishwasher, built-in microwave, washer and dryer, repairing or removing an existing in-ground swimming pool, installing, repairing or replacing exterior decks, patios, or porches, covering lead-based paint issues.

  • Ineligible improvements that are structural or considered luxury are not allowed. These would be repairing foundation issues, oil tanks (repair, removal, remediation), any repair/installation for private water systems –(Wells), any repair/installation private waste management system (Septic Systems, Lagoon, Cesspools, Pits, etc.), mold remediation, moving another structure to the site or room additions to exterior of the property, landscaping site improvements, new swimming pools, outdoor saunas, whirlpools, or bathhouses, tennis or basketball courts, satellite dishes, barbeque pits, outdoor fireplaces or hearths. Additionally, tree-surgery is not allowed unless it endangers existing improvements to the property. Also, any repair completed by self-help, “do it yourself,” or that takes more than four months to finish is not eligible. If the scope of work requires more than three draws per specialized contractor or the proposed repairs/improvements need detailed plans, engineering, or architectural exhibits.

  • Eligible property types are a bit different for VA than its FHA counterpart. We allow renovations on all eligible singlewide, doublewide, triple-wide manufactured homes, modular homes, and single family homes only.

  • Ineligible property types are 2, 3, or 4 unit properties, condos, demolished or razed homes, relocated structures, mixed-use properties, commercial properties, co-op properties, investment property or mobile homes on leased land.

  • Restricted states based on permit requirements: For Both Purchase & Refinance: BuildBuyRefi restricts availability in the following states due to longer times to obtain permits and inspections. Except for Hawaii, if no licenses are required for the proposed work or the borrower can get a permit before closing, and inspectors availability is not an issue. BuildBuyRefi can make an exception on a case-by-case basis. (California, District of Columbia (DC), Hawaii*, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington.)

  • There are specific requirements of the General Contractor, Insurance and Liability Requirements, Appraisal Requirements, Bid Requirements, Inspection, and Disbursement Requirements, and certain fees are allowed to be rolled into the closing. You will want to discuss these additional requirements with your banker once you have decided you are ready to move forward. Additionally, since these loans are treated as New Purchase or Rate and Term Refinance loans, the maximum allowable cash back to the borrower cannot exceed $500.00 except in the state of Texas where the amount is $0.

Manufactured Home loans for large Acreage or land areas, contact BuildBuyRefi.com today.

#5. The USDA repair Escrow

  • The USDA is much more different to the FHA & VA counterparts as the maximum allowable repair limit is 10% of the purchase price/loan amount. It is similar to repairs that are to be completed must be of a non-structural and non-luxury upgrade nature. For all scenarios, the property will be appraised based on the repairs having been completed, and the loan amount will not exceed 100% of the “after improved value.” Having these repairs rolled into one loan is more accessible than qualifying for a 2nd mortgage also known as a home equity loan, and comes with one low fixed rate mortgage.

  • The USDA Repair Renovation Loan product only allows for a term of 30 years, will come with applicable USDA guarantee fee and appropriate USDA mortgage insurance. To remove the required MI once you get below 79% loan to value you would need to refinance to a new program away from the USDA.

  • For purchase and refinance loans this product can be used for minor interior and exterior repairs completed by only one licensed and bonded General Contractor (GC) which may be able to handle multiple subcontractors if required underneath the GC. The borrower cannot complete any of the repairs themselves or act as the general contractor, and ALL improvements must be achieved in a six month time. The work must begin within 30 days of the closing of the loan, and must not cease for a period longer than 30 days. The GC must submit a qualifying bid outlining all work to be completed within the 180 day period. Additionally, there is a 1.5 times (or 50%) overage for all repairs will be held in escrow. Seller contributions are allowed on purchase loans.

  • Eligible improvement types are: This is where the USDA is a bit different since you are only allowed up to 10% over the purchase price or refinance amount the options are limited to interior and exterior upgrades with no structural changes. Things that are caught at the time of inspection and are needing repair, or carpet upgrades, appliance repairs/updates, and other cosmetic updates can be allowed given the borrower and property meet our underwriting criteria.

  • Ineligible improvements that are structural or considered luxury are not allowed. These would be foundation/structural, electric, and plumbing repairs, or any repair that affects the livability of the structure,

  • Eligible property types: 1 unit Single Family Property, Condos approved by FHA, VA, HUD, Fannie or Freddie and new manufactured homes that are singlewide or multi-wide units. Any existing manufactured property that is not new could only qualify under the USDA pilot program which currently restricts locations for existing manufactured homes to certain states.

  • Ineligible property types are 2, 3, 4 unit properties, demolished or razed homes, relocated structures, mixed-use properties, commercial properties, co-op properties, investment property, mobile homes on leased land, and non-FHA approved condominiums.

  • There are specific requirements of the General Contractor, Insurance and Liability Requirements, Appraisal Requirements, Bid Requirements, Inspection, and Disbursement Requirements, and certain fees are allowed to be rolled into the closing. You will want to discuss these additional requirements with your banker once you have decided you are ready to move forward. Additionally, since these loans are treated as Purchase or Rate and Term Refinance loans, the maximum allowable cash back to the borrower cannot exceed $500.00 except in the state of Texas where the amount is $0. This product is not offered in Hawaii*.

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What Credit Score & Income Is Required To Get Approved For A Renovation?

Generally, we want a minimum “middle of the 3” credit scores To Be 580 or higher For FHA 203k Loans, and 620 or Above for the FNMA Homestyle®, USDA Repair Escrow and the VA renovation.

Because these programs are quite specific, there are no exceptions to the minimum score requirements on renovation loans, and they must receive an automated approval from our online underwriting engine first to be accepted.

My Middle Credit Score Is Above 580 & 620 respectively, What Rate Can I Get?

This depends on many factors since rates change daily, sometimes multiple times a day, the quote you receive today most likely will be different tomorrow. That is of course if you have not locked in your loan.

Borrowers with a 580 credit score may see a little higher rate than those with a 620, 680, 720, and so on. This is because investors offer better rates the higher your score is. They do this because those with higher scores have proven to be of lower credit risk than those with higher scores.

Many people who take out a loan with a lower credit score that has a higher rate could raise their credit even if they took out a 100% loan six months to a year later. In cases where that happens, we are always working with our existing clients and reviewing market conditions to offer an internal streamline refinance.


Do you loan against bad credit… What is the lowest score you accept?

Can we lend lower than 580? 

In the situation of a renovation loan we can not make an exceptions to the minimum score requirement.

Typically when a borrower has a score under 580 a few things happen. 

#1. The interest rate we can offer becomes too high.

  • The pricing adjustments that come for lower scores and loan amounts become a high risk for the lender. And due to us offering the best programs government-backed lending has to offer, we stay away from dancing with any loan that targets what the government deems to be high costs.

#2. The borrower has limited to no credit, or the credit trade-lines they have are not acceptable to our current underwriting guidelines.

  • It’s even true that some people can have a 640 credit score with limited trade lines that would not get approved, but it is essential to show our underwriters you can make payments on time and are at low risk for defaulting on your home loan.

#3. The borrower could be a few steps away from a much better credit score.

  • It's possible that if you fall under the 580 line, there are some areas that credit repair could help you become more attractive. In many instances, you don’t have to go through a 3rd party credit repair company as today’s lenders have tools to help you determine what moves you can make on your own to improve your score. Do what is needed and not only would you get a lower interest rate, you could qualify for a more substantial loan amount with better home options than if you settled for borrowing with worse credit.


The 5 Acceptable Income Types When Applying For A Home Renovation Loan.

While we accept almost every income type when verifying and approving these types of loans, the two we won’t loan on are stated income loans or bank statement only loans.

  1. W2 Full Time & Part Time Employees 

  2. Self Employed

  3. Active Military Income

  4. Retirement, Pension, 401k regular disbursement income

  5. Social Security or Disability income

It’s important to note that any change during the process in employment status such as getting fired or switching jobs is grounds for denial or re-underwrite. You want to avoid any change in your job status while completing your loan, and if there is the slightest chance something might change you need to speak to your loan officer immediately about this. 

Do not assume that because you are getting a better offer that it will be approved. Changes like these scare underwriters and will increase the amount of documentation you get, it could delay your closing, cost you a rate lock, or you could lose your purchase money escrow altogether. 

You will save thousands in lost time and money by being as upfront as possible with your loan officer. 

Additionally, outside of the income requirements, each FHA, FNMA, USDA, and VA renovation program comes with specific debt ratio guidelines you cannot exceed. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing your total allowable income by the total monthly payments of your new mortgage to get the top ratio and then dividing your total income by the cost of your mortgage plus the expenses of your other existing debt on your credit report to calculate your bottom ratio. Each product comes with their top and bottom ratio requirements, to get these specifics you will want to talk to your banker or loan officer.

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What Sets BuildBuyRefi Apart From Other Home Renovation and Rehab Lenders?

The Truly Determined Borrower Ultimately Wants The Best Rate & Program Possible, And At BuildBuyRefi, We Know We Offer Some Of The Absolute Lowest Rates On The Market For Renovation And Rehab Loans.

You may ask, why do other lenders and even my local bank offer rates, shorter terms, or require a higher down-payments?

That’s a great question!

Short answer, because they aren’t the experts in these type of loans.

Longer answer…

The Top 3 Reasons Why Other Lenders Find It Hard To Compete With BuildBuyRefi In The Renovation And Rehab Loan Market.

Other Manufactured Home Loan Rates just don’t compare to those at BuildBuyRefi.com

#1. We have Some Of The Most competitive Renovation Loan products, rates & loan terms:

  • Most lenders, brokers, and banks only have a few programs, indeed not offering anything near the vast array of renovation loan products we have. Their rates are higher and loan term shorter because they can’t touch the monthly volume we produce. They don’t offer the high loan-to-values because they still view this loan type as Iess desirable, increasing their perceived risk.

BuildBuyRefi.com are manufactured home loan lenders and seasoned experts, other’s just aren’t!

#2. We’re seasoned veterans On All Renovation Programs From Homestyle®, FHA, USDA & VA products:

  • Most are not seasoned veterans in the renovation and rehab lending sphere, meaning the loan officer you choose to work with might never have closed one of these properties before, and that is a dangerous mix to get involved with. You need a banker that knows how to navigate these product types for they can be documented as burdensome and time-consuming, yet not for our experienced bankers and most of our bankers have 15-30 years experience each lending on these property types.

We lend against manufactured homes, other lenders just don’t. Contact BuildBuyRefi.com today!

#3. We Work Daily With Clients Looking To Renovate Their Existing Home Or New Home Purchase, No Matter What The Property type:

  • Your local bank or credit union may be acting like they are doing you a favor to keep you with them, but in fact, they don’t want this product type on their books. They may talk you into walking away from a property in your desired area because of the repairs needed or renovations you want to complete to stay there.

  • In this case, their inability to be competitive or desire for this product type is costing you more just by staying loyal. You shouldn’t walk away from a property you line, in an area you want just because the bank you chose can’t finance this program. Many people have seen great values created by doing the harder upfront work now to get this property in the shape you want it to be for you and your family.

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Why should I still consider Using A Renovation Loan To buy or refi knowing many lenders & Realtors don’t treat them like Standard Mortgage Loans?

Just because a Realtor, broker, bank, or lender tries to talk you out of this program, doesn’t mean you should back away or give up your pursuit of the perfect renovation!

Why pay more when you can spend less? 

Why take longer to close your loan when you can close faster?

Why use a less experienced renovation lender when you can use the most qualified?

The top 3 reasons to Use A FHA 203k Loan, FNMA Homestyle®, VA Renovation, or USDA Escrow Repair to buy or refinance?

#1. Get A Home In The Location You Always Wanted But Couldn’t Afford.

Many times homes that are already upgraded and updated are at the top of your price range, or in a location that you wanted but couldn’t afford. And many times there are “ugly” or “run-down” properties that you wouldn’t even take a second look at, but with the renovation loan more borrowers are finding they can get into the location they want by choosing a home that is undervalued because it needs some tender loving care. If you have the desire to be in a certain location, this may completely change the options available when you go looking for the “diamond in the rough” that you have the eye to create how you want. Look past the imperfections and make if your very own.

#2. Customize What You Want Now, No More Waiting years For Upgrades.

Instead of selling your home and moving because you think you owe too much on it you can look at using a renovation refinance product to make you love your home again. Even more impressive is the ability to use this program for the new home purchase of your dreams. Do you have the ability to look past the ugly to know what it takes to make it yours? Doing so can allow you to custom design the repairs, modifications, updates, and changes you want to make your own dream home indeed. Considering the alternative would be a construction loan, which has a longer time to build, but when you want to buy or refinance an existing home without being at risk to a home equity loan that usually comes with adjustable rates, the renovation product is the right solution.

#3. Possible to gain equity faster.

It’s entirely possible that because you got such a great deal on the price of your home that you could have greater equity starting from day one. Take the case of buying the undervalued “uglier” home and making it just what you want; these repairs will increase the value of your home to current market levels. And in the case of refinancing your home, even if you owe close to 100% now based on your loan, qualifying updates and renovations can bring up the value of your home to comparable homes with the same updates and upgrades around you.

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5-Star Lender Reviews That WOW!

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Richie, OK... so you've officially done something I've never seen in 22+ years selling real estate. Closed a VA Loan on 224 Acres, with a Manufactured Home. CONGRATULATIONS! and THANK YOU!!! Admittedly, I was skeptical (more like pessimistic) when James told me you were going to get this VA Loan completed. And I had many doubts along the way, because I'd seen so many VA Lenders fall flat on their faces, just before the Closing. BUT... You got the Job DONE! Occasionally, I find someone out there who has done an Outstanding Job, helping my Clients... and You are one of these! I'm now officially a FAN of You and Your Work. I would be honored to promote you and your services to other Agents within our company, and I intend to do so. I will call you when I've caught up on my work a bit... and learn more about how I can do my job better on the next VA transaction.

~Tom K. Realtor