Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm A Contractor, Why Should I Learn About The FHA 203k Program?

If you have all the work you need already then maybe you don’t need to know about the FHA 203k loan program but there are allot of you out there that have been buying my eBook “Contractors and the 203k” indicating that many of you are becoming aware of this program. Why is that? Simply put “more business” than you can handle.

When I take on a new contractor into our “203k Team” we ask one thing of them “Stop us before you get too much work from this program”. The last thing any of us want is for you to get a bad reputation for not being able to get these projects to completion in a timely manner and we have had some that don’t know when enough is enough until we start getting bad service. So… please just pull back a little when the time comes and then open the spigot again when it appears you are about 3-4 weeks from needing more work.

There are two types of FHA 203k loans. I will describe the differences below and YOU need to know them and choose the right one for your circumstances:

1) Full or Original 203k (started in 1961)

This program uses a 203k Consultant to create a bid specification. That specification is sent to you, the contractor for your bid. It is typically a blind bid situation. In some cases the contractor has already put in a bid for the work they think will be required but in many cases they aren’t aware of the HUD Guidelines so they may miss a few things but overall this seems to cut down on the time it takes to close the loan so it isn’t all bad. If the borrower has several clients come out and bid the project prior to seeing us to create the “scope of work” it can be a mess. As much as the client tries to have them bid the same project if you don’t write it down each contractor will have their impression of what they thought you said and each bid will be slightly different and the client will not have a clear bid that they can use.

I prefer to be the first one on the job to create the specification of repairs. I also will bid the job (never will do the work, just bid it) so the client has an expectation and we all know this project is still viable.

There is no “up front money” for this program. The contractor must be well healed and have credit or money or both to get the project started. Since each draw must be no more than 30 days from the prior one the contractor should have enough money to carry his/her business, materials and labor for that period of time plus whatever they need to run the rest of their business. This program allows for interim draws and you can get partial payments for anything that is partially complete but only for completed work. Some lenders will follow the guideline and let you get money for cabinets and finished flooring up having it delivered and stored on site. Some lenders will advance 50% of the window and cabinet materials money only when they are custom sizes and the check may be made out directly to the cabinet maker or window manufacturer.

This has been and can be a difficult situation for a small contractor or a contractor growing too fast. They need, heck, we all need “cash flow” which is the life blood of every business.

2) Streamlined “k” (started in 2005)

This program was intended to make the program easier to use for the majority of the lighter renovation projects. The significant thing with this one is that it cannot have any “structural” component. It is intended for smaller projects and though the maximum construction costs are limited to $35,000 per the Guideline in reality it is only $30,000-34,200. If you come up with Streamlined “k” loans where the work is $35,000 and your lender only does the Streamlined “k” you will be disappointed most of the time. The $35,000 must include the costs and fees associated with it. The $30,000 figure is due to the requirement of many lenders to maintain a 10% contingency reserved which takes a $30,000 right to $33,000 immediately.

The big thing here is that there is “up front” money for the contractor of 35-50% of the construction cost. The project must be completed in no more than 60 days, and there is only one final draw at the completion. No other interim draws.


Mike Young, 203k Team Leader Mike ready for your 203k order

With offices coast to coast and HQ now at 
1351 Oliver Road, Fairfield, CA 94534 
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