No one expects to lose a home in a natural disaster, so when the worst is realized, we do our best to put one foot in front of the other. That said, picking up the pieces following a catastrophic storm like Hurricane Harvey or Irma can be overwhelming and confusing. What kind of assistance is available, and where do you start? Here we lay out whether the 203(h) Mortgage loan, intended for victims of a major disaster in need of a new house, is right for you.
What is a 203(h) insured mortgage?
A federal program intended to help victims of federally declared disasters become homeowners or reestablish themselves as homeowners through 100% financing.
Would a 203(h) mortgage apply to your situation?
To be considered for a 203(h) mortgage you must:
- Own or rent a home located in a federally declared disaster area (you can check the FEMA website here for more in-depth information)
- Prove that your home was destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary
- Live in the home during the time of disaster
- Purchase or reconstruct a single-family home that will become your primary residence
- Apply for the loan within one year of the disaster declaration
Is a 203(h) mortgage right for you?
Only you know whether or not buying a new home or replacing your damaged home is the right move after being displaced by a disaster. However, it’s important to note that one of the main components of a 203(h) mortgage is that it requires no down payment. In comparison, a traditional FHA mortgage requires a minimum 3.5% down payment. For cash-strapped families that need a new home, this program may offer a solution.
Some things to consider
- Although you won’t be required to make a down payment, you’ll still owe closing costs.
- You’ll still owe the full amount of the loan, and no down payment will increase your monthly mortgage payments.
- Applications MUST be submitted to the lender within one year of the President’s declaration of the disaster (that’s August 25, 2017 for Hurricane Harvey in Texas, September 4, 2017 following Hurricane Irma damage in Florida, and September 7, 2017 following Hurricane Irma damage in Georgia.
We’re here to help you through this difficult time. If you think a 203(h) mortgage could be an option, please contact me today. We’re here for you as you research the best path to recovery.