From Margaret Everton on November 08, 2010 in Tools and Tips
By now it’s common knowledge: Americans today are more likely to make small improvements on their current homes than venture into a floundering housing market. But what about those homeowners that don’t have extra money in the bank to tackle necessary remodeling projects? Help is on the way.
Here are a few state and federal programs that can provide you the money you need to revitalize your home. Sketch out a financing plan, or get a few price quotes from a contractor, and you’ll be on your way to a higher-valued home.
Federal and State Grants
Not everyone is eligible for a federal grant, but for those that are, free funding can be an incredible help.
If energy efficiency is what you’re looking for, utility companies in cities and towns across the country are providing both loans and grants to homeowners for improvements like new heating, plumbing, electrical upgrading, and roofing. Check with your local city government for more information. Anaheim, for example, offers loans up to $60,000 for 3% interest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers up to $7,500 for repairs to homes in towns with a population under 20,000. These grants are generally awarded to homeowners without the means to take out a loan, and are meant to cover basic, non-cosmetic changes. For more information, see the USDA list of grants here.
Energy Efficient Tax Credits
For homeowners that may have the means to get a loan or cover projects to increase their energy efficiency, then taking advantage of tax credits is the wisest way to go.
Consumers that have installed anything from energy-efficient windows to improved heating and cooling systems from January 1, 2009 to December 30, 2010 can collect a credit that covers 30% of the cost—all the way up to $1,500. But act fast! The tax credits expire in less than two months.
Discounts for Solar Energy, Wind Power and Geothermal Systems
For those that took the leap and went for solar energy systems, wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell or microturbine systems, you can receive the 30% credit without the $1,500 limit. That discount, plus rebates at the state level, typically equals 50% total savings on the cost of your system. These upgrades must be operational before December 31, 2016.
The 203k Loan Program
In an effort to rehabilitate homes in lower-income areas, The Federal Housing Administration offers the 203k Loan Program. This is basically a loan that allows you to purchase a fixer-upper and pay for the renovations it needs—without taking out a home equity loan. Get the low-down on this low-interest loan here. Help is out there—it’s just a matter of finding the right program for your home and your budget. Happy hunting!