Emergency home repairs always pop up at the most inconvenient times – and almost always when you’re already in a financial bind. Coming up with the cash to pay for these repairs can feel daunting, but there are ways to cover to cost of these unexpected repairs. Here’s how:
1. Government Loan Programs
The government offers loans to assist with home repairs. The Limited 203(k) and FHA 203(k) allow borrowers to refinance or purchase property with additional funds for repairs and upgrades.
The Title I Property Improvement Loan program, which is offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, can also help with repairs. These loans are FHA-insured and issued by lenders. They’re a great option for homeowners that have little equity in their homes. Loan funds can be used for major repairs or even appliances and other items that will make the home “more livable and useful.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also offers a program that can assist with home repairs. The USDA Section 504 Home Repair program assists homeowners with very low incomes in rural areas improve, repair and modernize their homes. Grants are available to homeowners aged 62 and older.
2. Homeowners Insurance Claim
Some homeowner insurance policies also include repair emergencies. Check your policy to see if your insurer offers this coverage.
If your home’s roof, for example, is damaged by a recent storm, the cost to repair or replace it may be partially or completely covered.
3. Use Service Coupons and Financing
If you don’t qualify for a loan or grant program, shop around local service providers to see if any offer coupons or financing. If it’s a major repair, you can often find local companies that offer to finance the work through a third-party lender.
Most providers will have coupons that help reduce the cost of repairs and services. A discount may be all that you need to make the service more affordable.
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) used to be one of the most popular ways homeowners covered the cost of home repairs. These lines of credit allow you to tap into your home’s equity to cover major repairs. Just keep in mind that the loan is backed by your home, so make sure that you can afford to take out this line of credit.
5. Disaster Relief
If the repair is disaster-related, you may be able to get assistance from relief organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the Red Cross. FEMA will often cover the cost of emergency repairs that homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover.
These funds are only given for major repairs to restore safe and sanitary conditions.
6. Credit Card
A credit card may be the first thing you consider using when you need to cover emergency repairs. While credit can certainly help get you out of a bind, it should be considered as a last resort. Your available credit may not be enough to get the job done, and a high interest rate can have you paying off the repair for the next decade – or two.