You’ve seen it on HGTV shows like Property Brothers or Fixer Upper—experts take an outdated home and make it into the buyer’s dream home—all at a fraction of what it costs to buy new.
But is it possible to live out your HGTV dreams in reality?
“Absolutely,” says Chris Busching, renovation loan specialist with TowneBank Mortgage in Virginia Beach, who has over two decades of experience specializing in renovation loans.
“With an abundance of rundown or vacant homes on the market, now is the perfect time to find a fixer-upper in a good neighborhood for way below market price, put some resources into it, and turn it into your dream home,” says Chris.
Except, chances are, you don’t have the cash on hand to purchase the home and make your needed or desired renovations. But with a renovation loan—you can get the money you need to buy the home and make any needed or wanted renovations, all in one loan.
“It’s the only loan program out there where the lender will use the future value of the property to determine how much money we can actually lend you,” Chris said. “Repairs can be as simple as replacing countertops with granite, or as much as tearing a home down to its foundation and building it up again.”
Renovating might sound like a lot of work that could be avoided by purchasing a turn-key home, but there are some awesome benefits if you’re willing to put the time in, says Chris.
“With the popularity of home makeover shows, we’re starting to see what I like to call the ‘HGTV Generation’,” said Chris. “In the past, a lot of people have wanted to just move into a perfect home. But there are a ton of people out there that are a part of this ‘HGTV Generation’ that watch shows like Property Brothers or Fixer Upper and understand that you can put a little money into something and get a lot of money out.”
While buying a fixer-upper requires much more work than purchasing a turn-key home, there are still a lot of vacant homes out there that need a lot of TLC—and a lot of them are selling for less than market value.
“Right now, it’s the perfect storm of conditions. There are still a lot of vacant, foreclosed properties, and the bank is willing to sell these properties for less than market value.”
So, while the process takes longer, the renovations allow you to create the home of your dreams—plus you might even earn some “sweat equity” along the way, says Chris.
Because many of distressed or vacant homes are discounted more than the repairs actually cost.
“Last year, we averaged about 10 percent gained equity for all the properties that we did loans on,” said Chris. “So, this means that if we look at the appraised values of the property after renovation and compare them to the amount they borrowed, it was appraised for 10 percent more than they borrowed.”
And with a shortage of affordable homes on the market, choosing to renovate a distressed home can help you afford a home in your desired location.
“There are less houses to choose from, so it’s much harder to get your pick of the litter,” Chris said. “A renovation loan can help open the door to a specific area that people want to live in, because other buyers are unwilling to take on a fixer upper.”
“A lot of times millennials are finding that they can’t afford the houses that they want to live in. So they say “I’ll look again next year.” But unless they’re getting a raise at work or came into some money, it’s likely that they still won’t be able to afford a home that they want to live in. So, they’ll continue to rent,” said Chris.
Renovation loans allows them to have the aspects in the home that they want—the open floor plan, granite countertops, etc., without having to pay a fortune, says Chris.
Not ready for a true fixer upper? That’s ok too. With a renovation loan, you can borrow as little as $5,000 to make your repairs, according to Chris.
“I like to say that it’s difficult to find the perfect home, but it’s easy to make every home perfect,” Chris said. “If you find a home in an area that you like, and you like the bones of the house, we can fix the little things.”
*Disclaimer: Some Loan programs require borrowers to choose from a list of approved contractors.
Chris Busching (NMLS #609816) is the National Renovation Manager in Virginia Beach for TowneBank Mortgage(NMLS #512138). He can be reached via phone at 757-285-7336 or through email at Chris.Busching@townebankmortgage.com.
The information contained herein (including but not limited to any description of TowneBank Mortgage, its affiliates and its lending programs and products, eligibility criteria, interest rates, fees and all other loan terms) is subject to change without notice. This is not a commitment to lend.