Any homeowner will tell you that building or purchasing their forever home is one of the best feelings in the world. However, just like clothes, the home undergoes wear and tear over time. Some damages may occur that require immediate repairs, or you may simply want to upgrade your home by making some improvements. Whatever the case, home improvement projects are generally costly, and inadequate funds could leave you applying for loans or exhausting your savings.
Fortunately, there is a positive aspect amidst all the worries. Hundreds of organizations offer home improvement grants and can help you offset the expenses. A home improvement grant is designed to help homeowners offset home repairs and improvement expenses in a select region and usually don’t need to be repaid. However, grants are highly competitive, and one has to qualify for the eligibility test before they can be awarded. So, if you are looking for grants for your home improvement project, keep it here for more insights. Before we talk about the grants available, let us first look at common home repair and improvement needs and common everyday struggles of a homeowner.
Homeowner Struggles During Home Improvement Projects
The majority of the problems experienced during a home improvement project are because of inadequate funds. Some of the struggles homeowners experience include:
Delays – inadequate funds may cause delays in repairing the damage, and one may be forced to move from their home while the repairs are underway, attracting additional unplanned for expenses.
Unexpected construction costs – you may have a home repairs savings account, but you cannot predict the extent of the damage. A contractor can assess the extent of damage and recommend additional services, such as an asphalt contractor service for your driveway. Such expenses can quickly deplete your savings account.
Expensive labor and materials – construction materials tend to fluctuate from time to time. For instance, a brick supplier could increase the price of bricks because of an increase in fuel price affecting the transportation cost. In addition, the professionals required for a home improvement project are costly. You may need several contractors for one repair job, such as a swimming pool service and HVAC repair service, which causes a bulge in the budget.
Common Home Repairs and Improvement Areas
Home repairs and improvements can be either interior or exterior. Home improvements aim to enhance safety and address home repairs that, if left unattended, could be hazardous. Some of the common home repair and improvement areas include;
Your roof is an essential part of your home. It protects your home from all elements, such as extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, over time, the roof becomes susceptible to rot, leaks, or even blown off. If you experience any roof damage, you need to address the issue urgently. Leakages and replacing roof shingles are relatively affordable and do not require huge amounts of money. However, if the damage is extensive, it may need roof repair service. An experienced roofer will assess the extent of damage and recommend the best way to replace the roof. Such repairs are likely to be costly and beyond your financial ability. In such a case, you may apply for a home improvement grant to help cover the expenses.
The foundation of your house is an integral part as it determines the stability of your house. If it is compromised, the structure of your home is at risk and can endanger your life. Common foundation problems could stem from the poor laying of the foundation. If you skipped critical steps such as soil stabilization, your foundation could be affected. If water sips through concrete, you could experience cracks or sprouting of mold. The result will end up damaging both your interior and exterior. You can get in touch with concrete companies to help you figure out a soil suitable for your foundation. Foundation damage can be severe and damage the entire house. To fix it, you can end up spending tens of thousands. In such cases, a home improvement grant will come in handy given the urgency and the extent of the damage.
Sewer Line Repair
Each home requires a central place to direct waste as per the safety and sanitation standards of the area. Most homes are connected to a public sewer line where all the waste is handled and treated. However, each homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of their home’s sewer line. It is why you should consult a professional plumber to do all the connections and drainage systems. A poorly installed sewer line is at risk of being broken, and the cost to restore it is pretty expensive. Depending on the severity, you may be forced to move out of your home until the issue is sorted to avoid risking your family’s health. As a sewer line can affect the health of the home occupants, it qualifies for a home improvement grant.
Electrical System Repair
Electrical faults are common and may occur at any time. Common signs of a faulty electrical system include flickering lights, frequent shocks when operating home appliances, and circuit breakers tripping often. Failure to address the issue promptly could put you at risk of a fire or prolonged power outage. But, most importantly, you are putting your loved ones at risk if you continue to live in that house without fixing the issue. You may opt to contact a residential solar company to install a solar-powered system to improve energy efficiency since home improvement grants are geared toward improving the safety of staying at homes. Whether you choose to switch to a solar-powered system or repair your electrical system, you could qualify for a home improvement grant.
Home damages caused by extreme weather conditions are unpredictable and beyond your control. The weather could damage anything in your home, from your garage to the drainage system. A storm could weaken the trees in your compound and trigger one to fall on your house! In such cases, you need to contact an emergency tree service. Since such a case is unpredictable and beyond your control, it qualifies for a home improvement grant. Failure to address it poses a safety concern for the occupants of the house.
Where to Find Home Improvement Grants
Home improvement grants typically target low-income households in underdeveloped areas. There are several places to find home improvement grants; you just have to do your research.
Department of Housing and Urban Development: this is part of the government’s home improvement program. Under this program, the government undertakes to carry out repair or improvement projects for qualified applicants. The program usually has an allocated budget, so the government can carry out only a limited number of housing improvement projects in a particular financial year. Some of the eligible home improvement or repair work under this program include:
Roofing and ceiling repairs
Plumbing and installation work
Disability housing-improvement projects
Creation of spaces to ease overcrowding
Replacing damaged floors
Any other home repair or improvement project deemed critical in upholding the structural integrity of the building.
Department of Agriculture: the intent of the home improvement program under this department targets single-family homes, elderly homeowners and low-income families. The aim is to help these families stay in their homes that are in great shape to strengthen the community.
Department of Veterans Affairs: this department majorly caters to veterans and service members with disabilities by offering them home improvement grants. The grants are aimed at meeting their needs and helping them live more independently and comfortably. Such improvements could include the building of ramps, widened doorways or elevators.
National Residential Improvement Association: although this association does not offer any home improvement grants, it is instrumental in compiling information on the programs that provide funding to help consumers with their repair and improvement projects. Other than government grants, other institutions also offer home improvement grants.
Non-profit organizations – there are several non-profit organizations such as Rebuilding together, NeighborWorks and Repairs by Habitat for Humanity that offer home improvement projects. These organizations target low-income families and contribute to upgrading their homes at no cost.
Public utilities – some community development organizations have programs that award grants to the less privileged in societies to improve certain aspects of their homes. The project could improve energy efficiency in a home or increase access to clean water by sinking boreholes. While such programs are not available in all locations, you may be lucky enough to find a community development organization that services your area and is willing to help.
Volunteer labor programs – some organizations have formed a team of volunteers to do home repair and improvement projects for free. However, such organizations usually limit the repair and improvement projects that they can work on. For instance, if a storm leaves hail in your driveway, they can do a driveway cleaning for you. They also have age and income restrictions for applicants as the funds are limited, and the labor is free.
Requirements and Eligibility
Organizations offering home improvement grants each have varying requirements. Some of the common requirements include:
Many home improvement grants prioritize applicants whose home improvement cases will upgrade or make their lives easier. For instance, if home improvements accommodate disabled people and make their movement more manageable, they are more likely to be awarded the grant.
Not all home improvement projects are eligible for the award of grants. The majority are available only for emergencies or to cater for safety and health-related issues. For instance, dilapidated homes occupied by the elderly are likely to be prioritized when offering grants. In addition, aesthetic projects such as matching the color scheme of your kitchen cabinets to your floor design or changing your garage door to a sliding door may not be eligible for grants.
Your income is also required to determine the eligibility for the award of a home improvement grant. Some organizations have set grant restrictions on median income for specific areas. This means that if you earn above the median income in your area, you may not be eligible for the grant.
Geographical restrictions are common in the award of home improvement grants. Each government has an annual budget that allocates the different states a certain amount every financial year. Therefore, you cannot apply for a grant in one state when your house is in another state. Even so, if your home is located in that particular location, there are still additional requirements before you are awarded a grant.
You have to provide proof that you are financially incapable of making the home improvements on your own. Tax returns and proof of homeownership are some of the documents required to assess eligibility. For example, a homeowner who has retired without pension might be eligible if the home meets all other grant requirements for home improvement.
Estimated Project Costs
Before you can be awarded a home improvement grant, you need to provide an estimate of the projected costs of the repairs or improvements. Each state has a limit of the grant amount per person. The grant can cover either part or the full costs.
A lot goes through the mind of a homeowner whose house requires repairs or is due for an improvement project. Limited resources are a major problem, but you could find yourself eligible for a home improvement grant by following the proper channels. Various organizations offer home improvement grants, each with its own set of requirements. It is your duty to research on the available options and find one within your location that serves you. Do not let the financial burden of expensive home repairs weigh you down when there are other alternatives to upgrade your home.