Manny Florim, Home Buyer in Roswell, GA

Has anyone in the Atlanta area had a decent experience with a 203k both lender and contractors?

Asked by Manny Florim, Roswell, GA Fri Apr 27, 2012

If so PLEASE let me know who you used as the lender and contractor. We are looking at purchasing a home that will require a 203k. I have had 5 "approved" contractors come out for estimates off of a list the bank gave me. It either took two or more weeks to get estimates (usually incomplete or not we discussed) or never got back to me at all. Not one of them gave me a good feeling. I work in an industry that customer service is key. So I expect no less when I am the customer. There has to be a good contractor and lender out there.

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Tim Brown’s answer

I share your frustration with contractors. As a lender, it falls on us to ensure the documentation from the contractor conforms to FHA requirements. Not sure why the bank requires you to use a a specific list of contractors. One of our biggest problems with the 203k program is the quality of the contractor. We don't require the buyer to use a specific contractor so our experience is that homeowners generally like to pick someone that will give them a great deal, often a relative or a friend. That usually does not work out well for the homeowner or us because the process requires significant documentation that many "handymen" are not used to providing.

My recommendation is that you select a contractor from a larger company that will want to ensure the work is done right and the customer is satisfied because they have more to lose if this is not the case. I usually encourage my borrowers to speak with Home Depot and Lowes because they have developed a list of 203k contractors that meet their high standards for quality and customer service (and of course who also buy materials at their stores). No contractor would want to have Home Depot get bad feedback on their performance so we see the customer service to be particularly good with these contractors. Additionally since many 203k projects also involve new appliances these home centers really become a one stop shop for everything.

As the lender, I like them because I know the contractor has been through the 203k drill before and knows what paperwork is required, how to ensure they get paid on time and ultimately that they want to keep both the buyer and the lender happy for the prospect of future business.

Don't give up on the 203k loan, it is a solid product. Given your experience thus far, I would ask your loan officer to allow you to select your own contractor and if he or she balks at that, I would consider another lender. Your appraisal is transferable so there is little downside to moving forward with someone else. Feel free to contact me if I can help you in a way. Hang in there, it will get better...

Timothy Brown
LPO Manager | Evolve Bank & Trust
11605 Haynes Bridge Road Suite 125| Alpharetta, GA 30009
678.468.5626 x110 | fax 678.935.1156 | cell 678.467.9959
NMLS#: 168281
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 28, 2012

I'm sorry to hear that you are having some difficulty finding a contractor with whom you feel comfortable.

My company, Southstar Construction, is a licensed general contractor operating in the Atlanta metropolitan area. We do bid and perform projects for home buyers who are using bank financing.

I would be more than happy to have an informal conversation with you about your project needs.

Give me a call or email me today.


Kendall Jenrette
Southstar Construction & Remodeling
Managing Principal
Phone: 404-587-1910
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 28, 2012
Hi Manny,
Prospect Mortgage is the 2nd largest volume FHA 203K lender in the country and we are a direct lender. We are one of the few lenders that offers both the Streamline and Consultant versions of the 203K program. Most that offer 203K's are limited to only the Streamline option.

We do not give any contractor references though. Your contractor just needs to be licensed and insured. A HUD Consultant or your real estate agent would a good source for a contractor. You can use up to 3 contractors for the Streamline and the Consultant version must have one GC used.

Unlike most companies that offer 203K, we have our own in-house draw department. That is key for your experience after closing. Working with a loan officer who is very familiar with the 203K is critical.

Rodney Mason, NMLS #151088
Sr Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
825 Juniper St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Office: (404) 591-2453
Apply Online at
Licensed in Alabama & Georgia

Prospect Mortgage offers a full selection of mortgage programs including:
Conventional | FHA | FHA 580-639 FICO | FHA 203K Renovation (Streamline & Consultant) | HomePath® | HomePath® Renovation | HomeStyle Renovation | VA | USDA | GA Dream | Jumbo Financing
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 27, 2012
Every lender on the market has their own draw department now. BofA is not buying these anymore, I can't think of one 203K lender (retail or wholesale) that doesn't have their own draw department.

Some function pretty well, others not so much ;)
Flag Fri Apr 27, 2012
The bank should NOT be dictating your contractor. Sounds like either Fidelity or Wells?

As long as the contractor is licensed and insured they should be able to work your 203K renovation. They should take 3 -4 days max to return an estimate unless your project requires drawings.

Depends on the job and the location, but I know plenty of good contractors. You can also check out for some companies trained on the product.

If you are doing a consultant 203K then choose your HUD Consultant WISELY. Not all are created equal. I have several posts on my website about contractor and consultant selection.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 27, 2012
Use a local lender. Michelle Mueller at Fidelity Bank 1 (770) 861-5652. I've had three clients who have used them in the last 6 months. She did a great job.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 27, 2012
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