So, you want to fix up your home but funds are a little low right now, what do? Consider a grant.

Yes, indeed. You might start looking into government-sponsored home improvement grants also known as home repair grants. But be aware, not everyone qualifies for said grants. Why? Because most have strict criteria that possible recipients must meet. However, if you do qualify they are a great source of financing for your home improvement project.

What is a Grant?

First off, a grant is a type of financial aid that a recipient does not have to repay. If you qualify, grants may be issued by federal, state, and local governments.

Since tax revenues fund government grants, they frequently have strict rules and auditing procedures. Many grants are competitive; even if you qualify for a grant, it’s still possible you may not receive it. You should apply for the grant as soon as possible.

Where Can you Apply for Home Improvement Grants?

You can find money to improve your home by contacting your local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office or visiting its website. HUD will let you know what grants are available in your area.

The National Residential Improvement Association (NRIA) is another organization that may help you find grants to help pay for home repairs. You will need to fill out a questionnaire to see what types of financial aid you qualify for.

Who is Eligible for Home Improvement Grants?

The Rural Development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers home improvement grants to those individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Own and occupy the home;
  • Unable to procure approval for affordable creditfrom other sources;
  • Meet income limitations; and
  • At least 62 years old.

The USDA awards a lifetime maximum of $7,500 to eligible homeowners. However, there are limitations on the usage of the grant money. For example, you cannot pay for cosmetic home improvements with grant money; rather you must use the funds to repair health and safety hazards or make the home more handicap-accessible.

HUD also offers grants through its HOME Investment Partnerships Program for low-income people. In addition to handicap-accessibility, HOME grants cover improvements that protect against weather conditions or emergency repairs. HUD distinguishes between “hard costs” such as material and structural improvements and “soft costs” like legal and banking fees. The organization may offer a grant to pay for increased interest payments when a borrower takes out a home repair loan along with a mortgage.

 What Other Forms of Financial Assistance are Available to Homeowners?

If you’re not eligible for a home repair grant but still can’t afford to make any repairs or home improvements on your own, there are other options to make either situation more affordable.

Low-cost loans: Some organizations, such as the USDA and HUD, also offer affordable loans to lower-income homeowners. Though you have to repay the loan, the interest rate tends to be much more affordable.

Tax credits: Tax deductions can be used in home improvement costs as a credit against taxes when you sell your home or if you work from your home and made repairs to a home office. However, they are not typically deductible as personal expenses.

Good luck and happy home improvements!