Hello Bailey's Mom. The 203(k) streamline process is a great program. I would check to see if Energy Efficiency Mortages are available in your area as they allow you to add another $10,000 on top of the loan without income qualification, which means that you don't have to use the 203(k) streamline for items that can be covered under the energy efficiency loan and that frees up money under the 203(k) streamline program that can be used for other things that are not energy efficiency related. For instance, you mentioned that the house needs new kitchen appliances and maybe a new furnace. Most likely the kitchen appliances and furnace would be covered under the energy efficiency loan (the cost consultant can help you with making the determination of what should be covered under what loan). I would also recommend that you use the energy efficiency loan to have the house weatherized (a weatherization contractor will come in and seal the house to reduce the hourly air exchange which will help greatly to reduce energy cost). You may be reluctant to take out an extra $10,000 loan, but the monthly savings on energy cost will more than make up the additional interest that you pay on the $10,000 and making your house more energy efficient will also add value. There are certain things that are not eligible for financing under the Streamlined (k) program (e.g., major rehabilitation and remodeling, repairing structural damage, new construction (incl. room additions), repairs requiring detailed drawings, landscaping or similar site improvements).
Now to the process for 203(k) streamline. After you have signed the sales contract (which is made subject to the home inspection), you'll schedule an inspection with a 203(k) cost consultant, home inspector and appraiser to budget the home improvements. Once you approve the budget, the cost consultant completes the work write-up and prepares contractor bid packages to obtain cost estimates. The appraiser uses the work write-up to determine "as-is" and "improved value." The loan closes with an FHA-approved 203(k) lender and the construction begins within 30 days of loan closing and must be completed within a certain amount of time (I am not sure if it's 3 or 6 months - I have heard different timelines and you have to check with your loan agent to make sure you get current information). It's important to work with an experienced cost consultant who is familiar with the time requirements of the 203(k) streamline and who has an established network of contractors who can get the job done within the required time frame. This is not the time to involve contractor friends (that's just my personal opinion).
One more thing. Don't expect to move into the house right after closing because the contractors will first demolish what will be replaced and the house may not be habitable for the first month or so.
You can expect a 45-day closing as the 203(k) streamline and energy efficiency loans do not usually hold up the closing of the escrow. Your loan agent can give you a better time estimate.
Good luck to you.