If you plan to repair or renovate your home, government programs may make it easier for you to afford those home improvements.
What Financial Help is Available for Home Repairs?
Home improvement loan programs help with home repairs and modifications. They are the most common type of government financial assistance for home improvements. Some programs are available nationwide, while others are only available at the state or county level.
Find Loans and Other Incentives
Help for Certain Demographic Groups
The homemods.org national directory lets you search by state for funding, service providers, and other resources.
Am I Eligible for Home Repair Assistance?
Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. In general, it depends on:
How Do I Apply for Home Improvement Programs?
Reach out to the federal, state, or county government agency that administers the program. Loans are made by traditional lenders. But the government programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Grants are available depending on your income level and work to be done.
To get started, contact:
What Else Do I Need to Know Before Starting a Home Repair?
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Finding a good contractor to do repairs and improvements to your home is important. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides resources and tips on hiring a contractor. These tips include important questions to ask and how to report problems.
Watch Out for Utility Lines Before You Dig – Call 811
Before digging on your property, call 811. Utilities will come out to mark the area to help you avoid damaging or being injured by underground utility lines. The timing for processing your request differs from state to state. Some states allow for an online digging request.
If you can’t afford to pay your home heating or cooling bill, you may be able to get help from the government or your local social services agency or nonprofit.
What help is available for my home energy bill?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help with:
- Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills See if you are already paired with the cheapest electric company in your local area to lower your power bill and expenses.
- Emergency services in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs
- Low-cost home improvements, known as weatherization, that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.
LIHEAP funds may not be used to pay water and sewer bills.
Am I eligible for LIHEAP?
This chart from Benefits.gov shows the average LIHEAP eligibility requirements. Actual requirements may vary by state, city, or region. Each local LIHEAP office sets its own eligibility requirements.
- A person or family participating in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or welfare), or certain needs-tested veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.
- Being qualified for LIHEAP does not guarantee that you will receive help. Whether or not you receive help depends on how much LIHEAP funding is available for the year.
- On average, about 20% of households that are qualified for LIHEAP receive benefits. When LIHEAP funds run out for the year, no more benefits can be given until Congress makes more funds available.
How do I apply for LIHEAP?
Each state has different rules about when you can apply, how you apply, and the criteria you have to meet to get help.
- Contact your local LIHEAP office for application details.
- Your state’s application may be online. Check the LIHEAP Clearinghouse for a list of state applications available to print out, read, or submit online.
Who do I contact for extra LIHEAP help?
Are there other places I can get help if I don’t qualify for LIHEAP?
If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help paying for your energy bills, your local social services agency or a nonprofit organization may have funds to help. You can also contact your gas, oil, or electric company about budget billing programs or new payment options especially for customers with disabilities who are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
A home equity loan is a form of credit that uses your home as collateral to borrow money. You can use it to pay for major expenses, including education, medical bills, and home repairs. But, if you can’t pay back the loan, the lender could foreclose on your home.
Types of Home Equity Loans
There are two types of home equity loans:
- Lump sum – This is a one-time, closed-end loan that usually has a fixed interest rate.
- Revolving line of credit – You can withdraw funds at any time for more flexibility. These usually have adjustable interest rates.
For more information, see What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit, a guide by the Federal Reserve Board.
Talk to a Qualified Credit Counselor
Before taking out a home equity loan, be careful to consider the pros and cons. Explore alternatives with a credit counselor to be sure you won’t be putting your home at risk of a forced sale. If you’re unable to make payments on time, you could end up losing your home.
You can find a qualified credit counselor through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
File a Complaint
If you have a problem with a home equity loan, contact the lender first. If you can’t resolve the issue with the lender, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides low-income households with free weatherization services, such as improvements for heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, and electricity consuming appliances. This can help families stay healthier and save hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs each year.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They’ll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
Last Updated: January 31, 2020