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Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/25/2021


 Photo by James DeMers via Pixabay

If you're hoping to make some major changes to your home, you're likely interested in the types (and terms) of financing available to you. The 203k loan was designed to give homeowners an attractive interest rate, so they'd be more likely to upgrade and modernize their homes. However, it's not available to everyone. Find out more about how the loan works and who qualifies. 

The Gist 

A 203k loan is granted by the FHA, though it's not the same as an FHA loan. You can apply for this loan at the time of purchase or after you've already owned the home for a while. Typically, these loans are granted to people who want to transform properties that have seen better days. So if you're buying a major fixer-upper in an abandoned part of town, you're more likely to qualify. Just as with any lender, you'll want to approach several before finding one for you. 

The Terms 

The interest rate that each homeowner qualifies for will depend on everything from the going rates to the homeowner's credit score. However, it tends to be around 1% more than a conventional home loan. A regular FHA loan has a minimum credit score of 580 but 203k loans typically require at least 640. You'll also need 3.5% of the total cost of the loan in order to qualify. (So if the repairs cost $10,000, you'll need at least $350 to get started.)

How Repairs Work 

These loans are only given to primary homeowners, as opposed to second, vacation or flipped homes, and you're typically not allowed to do the repairs yourself. These loans require you to have serious work completed by an approved contractor, despite the individual zoning laws of your neighborhood. Owners must include an itemized list of upgrades to lenders before being approved. If you aren't able to live on the property during the time of repairs, you can borrow up to six months of mortgage payments to counter the financial burden. 

Types of Loans 

You can either take out a streamline or standard loan. A streamlined loan is typically for those who need to make less than $350,000 in repairs, while a standard has no monetary limits. You can use a standard loan to essentially build an entire property, it only requires a small part of the foundation to exist before qualifying. As you might imagine, standard loans require a more intensive underwriting process. 

The 203k loan can be a great way for homeowners to get the home they want and take a big step toward revitalizing a neighborhood. And while not everyone qualifies, the terms of the loan are typically far more reasonable than conventional lenders. 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 2/27/2020


 Photo by Pete Linforth via Pixabay

Floods can be devastating. Not only do they damage many of your personal belongings, but they can also lead to devastating problems with your home. The good news is, you can make the process easier by following a few steps in the immediate aftermath of a home flood.

Contact Your Insurance Company

 The first step is to notify the insurance company that you have experienced a flood. The sooner you call, the better. Flood damage may or may not be covered under your policy, but if it is, there is likely a process that you will have to follow to make sure that your claim is processed in a timely fashion. Your insurance company may require an assessor to come out. Even though they are likely to take pictures during the assessment, you should take your own immediately to document exactly how everything looked when the damage occurred. 

Find a Safe Place to Stay

If there is a significant amount of water in your home, it may not be safe to stay there until the restoration process is complete. If this is the case, find a safe place to stay until the cleaning process is finished. If the damage is minimal, make sure you protect yourself when in the space by wearing a surgical mask, boots and other protective clothing. Water damage can lead to mold and mildew, which can lead to respiratory problems. 

Contact a Cleanup Specialist

The final step is to call a cleanup specialist. Water damage can require special care to ensure that your home is properly restored. Your cleanup specialist will make an assessment of the damage, salvage what property they can, remove the water and disinfect the area so that you and your family will not suffer from mold-related issues. They will also inform you about possible repairs that need to be made as a result of the flood.

Don't let flood damage ruin your home, follow the steps above to get on top of the damage so that you can achieve the best results. 

 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/27/2017

Unfortunately, your home's bathroom shower could use a lot of work. But as a home seller, you likely are strapped for time and resources, making it exceedingly difficult to complete a shower overhaul. So what can you do? Luckily, there are many quick, inexpensive ways to improve your bathroom shower, including: 1. Replace the shower head. Shower heads come in a wide range of styles and sizes, ensuring you should have no trouble finding one that will serve you well while you sell your home and help improve the appearance of your shower as well. From stainless steel shower heads to water-saving varieties, there is no shortage of shower head options at your disposal. Plus, these shower heads usually are affordable and simple to install, making them great choices for home sellers who are searching for an easy way to enhance the quality of their home's bathroom shower. 2. Give your shower a thorough cleaning. A dirty shower is the last thing a homebuyer wants to see as he or she checks out your home's bathroom. Fortunately, home sellers can perform extensive cleaning to transform a bland shower into an extraordinary one. When it comes to cleaning your shower, using an all-purpose bathroom cleaner often is a great place to start. Also, you should leverage abrasive scrubbing pads to eliminate deposits on shower floors. If you're struggling to get the results you want, be sure to get help from professional cleaners. Remember, these cleaners will do everything possible to give your shower a pristine appearance. And with their support, you can enjoy an immaculate shower that will look great to prospective homebuyers. 3. Retile your shower. New tiles serve as great options for those who want to improve a shower's appearance. As such, home sellers who commit the time and resources to retile a shower can transform a shower's appearance without delay. Retiling a shower can provide a fun project for do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), one that could prove significant return on investment (ROI). However, it is important to understand the ins and outs of installing tile before you begin this task to ensure the job is completed properly. Thankfully, many DIY websites offer helpful tips that you can use to streamline the process of installing new tiles. And when in doubt, don't be afraid to reach out to tile installation professionals for added support. Selling a home can be exhausting, and improving the quality and appearance of your residence's shower is just one of many ways that you can increase the likelihood of a fast home sale. Of course, collaborating with an experienced real estate agent can provide exceptional results for home sellers, too. A real estate professional who recognizes your home's strengths and weaknesses can help you showcase your residence's strengths to homebuyers. Also, this professional can empower you with the insights you need to find ways to transform your home's weaknesses into strengths. Work with a top-notch real estate agent as you sell your home, and you can benefit from the guidance provided by a real estate professional who will assist you throughout the home selling process.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 9/8/2016

Let's face it: you probably have picture frames or decorations hiding some small holes in your drywall. Most people hold off on filling small holes until it's time to repaint the wall. Even then, some people assume you can just paint right over the holes to cover them up. There's a much better way to ensure you have smooth and uniform walls, however. Read on to learn how.

Repairing small holes

If the areas you are attempting to repair are mainly small holes from picture frames made by hooks and nails, there's a relatively easy way to make your wall look like new again.
  1. First, you're going to want to pull out any debris from the whole, including loose or chipped pieces of drywall. This is an important step that many people omit. If you put your spackle or paste in a hole that has loose drywall in it, it could just fall out when it drys.
  2. Next, fill up the whole with spackle and smooth it with a putty knife or any flat surface available to you. Read the directions on the paste to determine how long it will take to dry.
  3. Once dry, sand down the area using a fine-grit sandpaper (at least 120 grit). Rub your hand over the area to see if there are any bumps. Be careful not to sand too hard if your wall is textured at all. Once the spackle is smooth and flush with the wall, you can move onto the next step: repainting.

Repainting your wall

It's good practice to save leftover paint and color samples for the walls of your house. If you've done this, your work here will be a lot easier. When you repaint the area you've sealed and sanded you'll want to paint over the edges slightly to blend it with the paint already on your wall. This will, hopefully, make it so the repaired area doesn't stand out. Remember not to panic when the paint appears darker and more vibrant where the repair is. Once it dries it will more closely resemble the paint on the wall. It may be necessary to put a second coat onto the area, so don't put your paint away just yet. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to check the walls in the room for any other areas that need to be touched up.

It doesn't look quite the same

If you find yourself staring at the one-inch area of your wall that looks slightly different than the rest, you have two options.
  1. Back away, go do something else for a while and then come back later. Was it obvious to you where the spot was after taking a break? Sometimes artists get too close to their work and focused on details that are only apparent to them. Remember that no one is likely to notice but you.
  2. If it's driving you nuts, you could always use this opportunity to repaint the entire wall. Many rooms now have an "accent" wall, meaning one wall painted differently than the other three. This is a great way to add a hint of color to a room. Find a color that will nicely accent the walls and head to the paint store.
 





Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/26/2016

Owning a home gives a huge sense of self fulfillment and accomplishment, however, it welcomes you to a new world of expenditures. Every home at some point needs one form of repair or an other. Be it major or minor, when hiring someone else to perform the repair, you are sure to spend money. On the flip side, if you know how to perform some of these repairs yourself,  hiring an expert is certainly not necessary and some cash can be saved. In light of the above, here are some home repairs you can do with ease without the services of a professional. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to begin working. Doors: Doors perform basic functions and are everywhere in the home. They add class and style. In some cases, weather elements can affect doors causing them to swell or shrink. If they expand, they will not close flush with the door frame.  This would require the use of a carpenter’s hand plane to reduce the thickness of the wood. Before doing this, please consider the fact that doors may return to normal when the season is over. To do this, make sure the door is firmly held in a position that would allow for the easy removal of excessive wood. Another door issue is how their hinges squeak when they begin oxidizing. Simply applying lubricant to the hinge, will take care of this. Application of Caulking: This is the water proof barrier between the shower, sink, bath tub and the surfaces that surround them. It acts as a sealant to prevent moisture damage. Over time, this may require replacement. The surface and old caulking needs to be cleaned and prepared before the new application.  Old residue can be scraped off with a razor blade or dissolved with solvent.  Clean the surface with paint thinner to ensure it is completely dried. Apply caulking sufficiently to ensure it covers the widest gaps in your project. Leaking Faucet: Fixing a leaky faucet is a common house hold repair. As insignificant as  it may seem, when you add up all the water drops leaked over the weeks, it is enormous. Do you want to fix a leaking faucet without the intervention of a professional? It is an easy process. Here are the steps.

  • Shut off the main water supply and unscrew the faucet handle.
  • With pliers, unscrew the packing nuts and the screws that hold the washers in place.
  • Examine the washer, if it is deteriorated extensively, you should replace it. Some washers are rare so you may need to look a little harder.
  • When you find the ideal washer, replace it and reverse the steps above to install the new one.
You will be amazed on how much you will save by engaging in home repairs. Apart from it being fun, you will learn a lot.  The internet provides a wealth of do-it-yourself videos for the novice handyman.  







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