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Three Ways to Fund Your Accessible Home Improvements

Jeff LaBombard, Owner; Bill LaBombard, Owner/President; Mike LaBombard, OwnerJeff LaBombard, Owner; Bill LaBombard, Owner/President; Mike LaBombard, OwnerInvesting in your accessible home improvement project is a great idea - especially since a small investment can greatly improve safety within your home. Remodeling with "Aging In Place" in mind can also save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. With a few modifications, you'll stay in your home long after retirement without the need to consider alternatives like an average $48,000-a-year Assisted Living facility. However, finding the funds for a home improvement project is no easy task. We've rounded up three excellent ways to fund your home remodeling project so you can find something that's right for your situation.

Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP)

This option is our most widely used funding vehicle and only residents of Massachusetts benefit from the Home Modification Loan Program. This program offers no-interest and low-interest loans to seniors and adults with disabilities. The program strives to help seniors and individuals with disabilities stay in their homes longer and live more independently.

How does it work?

  • This loan program is administered by local and state agencies that assist people of all walks of life. It starts with a brief information call to determine basic eligibility. Clients then fill out an application, choose a number of contractors to bid on the scope, and then choose one to move forward with. Processing time can take months so be sure to explore this option right away.
  • Examples of agencies offering this program include Pioneer Valley Planning Commission at (413) 781-6045 for the Pioneer Valley, and RCAP Solutions at (978) 630-6725 for Central Massachusetts.

How much can I borrow?

  • Available HMLP loans range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Who is eligible?

  • Any homeowner with a disability, anyone who qualifies as a frail elder, or someone who has a household member with a disability is eligible for this loan in Massachusetts. The type of loan and the amount of interest depends on income.
  • Applicants may be eligible for a 0% deferred payment loan based on the 2019 Household Income thresholds below:
    2019 Income Guidelines
    Household SizeEligible with Gross Income up to:
    1 $166,000
    2 $189,600
    3 $213,400
    4 $237,000
    5 $256,000
    6 $275,000
    7 $294,000
    8 $313,000
  • Landlords may qualify for a 3% amortized loan.
  • For more information on qualifications for this loan, visit the Home Modification Loan Program website.

Rebuilding Together

This charitable organization brings volunteers, contractors, and low-income residents together to improve health and safety conditions in residential homes. This is a wonderful option for lower-income seniors who could not otherwise afford a home remodel. Volunteers make needed repairs and modify your home for optimal safety with this organization. If you think there's no way you can get the repairs you need to age in place, apply to this organization.

How does it work?

  • This organization offers home repairs at no cost to the resident. They generally follow a health and safety checklist to determine which repairs are necessary. Repairs include adding grab bars, installing handrails, and making other special considerations for elderly residents.

Who is eligible?

  • The creators of this program connect residents with branches in their area. People of all ages are eligible, but many seniors over the age of 62 receive benefits from this program.
  • Although each branch decides what low-income means for their community, most follow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a guideline.
  • Most single residents must make less than $30,050, and couples typically must earn less than $34,300. Contact Rebuilding Together for more information at (413) 283-6709.

Reverse Mortgage Loans/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

Those who don't qualify for charitable help or a HMLP loan might benefit from a reverse mortgage loan. This unique loan is specifically for seniors aged 62 and older. Although this type of loan allows borrowers to turn their home equity into cash, it differs significantly from a home equity loan. Let's look at the differences.

How does it work?

  • A reverse mortgage turns the equity in your home into cash, so you benefit from the money you have in your home without moving to another location. However, unlike a home equity loan, you don't have to repay it until you A) don't live in the home as your primary residence, or B) you fail to meet the obligations of your mortgage (pass away).

How can I use the loan?

  • This type of loan is great for residents who need outside assistance, but wish to remain in their home. In addition to remodeling and improving ease of access, you can also use this loan to hire supportive services from a home health aide or other caregiver. The money you receive from this loan is tax-free.
  • You may use the funds from this loan for any purpose, including living expenses, home remodeling and modifications. You can even use the funds to downsize to a new home that better meets your needs.

Who is eligible?

  • Homeowners aged 62 and older are eligible for this loan, but it is essential to consider whether this type of loan is right for you. Typically, you should use this type of loan if you expect to remain in your house for at least several years.
  • The current value of your home determines the amount of money available. Older homeowners typically receive more money, because life expectancy is a factor in deciding the terms of the loan. Reverse mortgages aren't for everyone, but they are a wonderful option for many seniors who wish to age in place. If you're not sure whether this loan is right for you, visit the National Council on Aging website for more information.

Aging In Place doesn't always cost a fortune. In fact, remodeling your home to adapt to your needs is a great way to save thousands of dollars in elder care expenses. If you think that Aging In Place is out of reach, try one of these excellent home improvement funding options. Even if these particular options don't suit your needs, there are many different avenues to acquire funding. If you're looking to start a project using any of these methods, be sure to give Aging In Place Builders a call for a free estimate/consultation at 413-225-3047 or visit our website.