The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) makes it easier for consumers to obtain affordable home improvement loans by insuring loans made by private lenders to improve properties that meet certain requirements.
Title I loans may be used to finance permanent property improvements that protect or improve the basic livability or utility of the property--including manufactured homes, single-family and multifamily homes, nonresidential structures, and the preservation of historic homes. The loans can also be used for fire safety equipment and to make improvements for accessibility to a disabled person such as remodeling kitchens and baths for wheelchair access, lowering kitchen cabinets, installing wider doors and exterior ramps, etc. Another use is energy conserving improvements or solar energy systems.
This program insures such loans for up to 20 years on either single or multifamily properties. These are fixed rate loans, for which lenders charge interest at market rates. The interest rates are not subsidized by HUD, although some communities participate in local housing rehabilitation programs that provide reduced rate property improvement loans through Title I lenders.
Only lenders approved by HUD specifically for this program can make loans covered by Title I insurance. Title I loans can be disbursed directly to the borrower or, if the loan is made through a dealer, the disbursement will be made jointly to the dealer and the borrower. While most lenders and dealers/contractors use this program responsibly, HUD urges consumers to use caution in choosing and supervising home repair dealers/contractors conducting Title I repair/renovation work.