Determining Eligibility for Home Renovation Grants

There's almost no way around the high cost associated with home renovation, and most people don't have the funds to improve their homes as they would like to. When you decide to renovate your home, you'll have to decide how to go about funding the project. Many people try traditional routes like bank loans or home equity lines of credit, but those are only viable options for those with the proper credit score or a high level of equity in their home. Some choose to refinance their existing mortgage, which can help with overall costs. Unfortunately, there are many people who simply can't use one of these options due to insufficient prerequisites.

Perhaps you're in the market to renovate your home, but you don't have the credit to do so on your own. Perhaps you aren't eligible for a bank loan. If your desired renovations are merely aesthetic and technically unnecessary, this isn't a huge issue since you can put off the remodel. However, if your renovations are more essential, how can you find the financing you'll need to make the changes? It's possible that your home might need a major renovation in order to make it livable. In those cases, you might be eligible for a home improvement grant from the government.

Home Improvement Grants

If you are a homeowner with low income, and your home requires essential repairs, you could be eligible for one of the dozens of federal programs to aid such individuals. Your location will determine what sort of programs are available to you, and there will be a list of other factors that you must meet to be fully eligible. HUD, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development, offers a number of helpful programs, including:

  • Property Improvement Loans
  • Rehabilitation and Repair Loans
  • Home Improvement Loans for Native Americans
  • HOME Program (Community-Centered)
  • Rural Home Improvement and Repair Grants

For those with extremely low income who have difficulty making payments, the Department of Agriculture offers several grant opportunities as well. They provide Section 504 Home Repair Programs, and while these are hard to receive, they can help those in the direst of circumstances.

Section 504 Home Repair Program Grant Requirements

If you meet the following eligibility requirements, you can be approved for one of these grants by the USDA:

  • You must be at least 62 years old
  • Your total family income must be lower than half of the median income where you live
  • You must own and live in the home you want to renovate
  • You must demonstrate that affordable credit isn't available for you anywhere else

All of these requirements, except for the age limitation, are necessary for any loan or grant backed by the USDA. Those who are 62 or older can technically apply for both a grant and a loan from the USDA in order to receive a larger sum to use for the renovation.

Those who qualify for a loan from the USDA can receive up to $20,000. Grants award up to $7,500, so those who can take advantage of both programs will receive up to $27,500 in financial aid. Loans are paid back over a 20-year period at a low-interest rate of only 1 percent, and they are only available to those who can't afford standard loan rates. Grants don't have to be paid back, but if the renovated home is sold within 3 years, the value of the grant must be repaid.

You should have no trouble at all finding an appropriate government program to help with your home renovation. These programs are available both on a national and local scale, and they have helped many people. Grants are ideal for those who don't feel they'll be able to repay a loan, but the age requirement can be a limiting factor for many applicants. The USDA and many other organizations offer exceptionally affordable loans for those who don't meet the age requirements for grants.

Don't hesitate to contact the USDA or HUD if you need to make essential repairs or renovations to your home. If you have low income and limited options, these federal programs might be your best hope.