Claire Parker, Renter in Chicago, IL

We are looking to buy a house and rehab it with a 203 k loan. Do we need both a contractor and an architect? Any info would be appreciated.?

Asked by Claire Parker, Chicago, IL Wed Apr 3, 2013

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Evelyn S. Fred’s answer
Hi Claire,

The lender will provide you with a list of contractors to choose from. they need to be certified, licensed and bonded. If you'll need an architect they will provide you with those resources also.

The "queen" of 203k loans is Christine DePaepe @ Guaranteed Rate if you would like some expert advise. Let her know I referred you, no obligation at all for the free advise!

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
I'll add here that in my experience with 203K buyers, the bank has allowed them to choose a contractor (all plans must be approved by bank). I don't see where it's been said yet and I don't know how strict your bank will be but my clients were not able to use a relative that is a contractor should you have one that you were hoping to use. They had to be at arms length to be approved to do the work. Just a little tidbit in the rare case you know someone close so you don't waste valuable time getting the wrong bids.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
It is recommended to hire both a license contractor and an architect but it's not required. It will depend on your renovation plan/needs.

Dana Lindberg
CFS Mortgage -
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 27, 2013
it depends how major is the work the house needs or you want to do! If you are changing the hardwood floors and replace roof in Chicago you don't need an architect! If you demolish walls --you need!

What repairs are eligible under the FHA Streamline 203k?

Repair/Replacement of roofs, gutters, and downspouts
Repair/Replacement/Upgrade of existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
Repair/Replacement of plumbing and electrical systems
Repair/Replacement of flooring
Minor remodeling that does not involve structural repairs, such as kitchens
Exterior and interior painting
Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, and weather stripping
Purchase and installation of appliances, including free-standing ranges, refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and microwaves
Improvements for accessibility for persons with disabilities
Lead-based paint stabilization or abatement of lead-based paint hazards
Repair/Replacement/Addition of exterior decks, patios, porches
Basement finishing and remodeling that does not involve structural repairs
Basement waterproofing
Replacement of windows and doors and exterior wall re-siding
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 6, 2013
Talk to me before you go ahead. I had a 203K loan and it has been a nightmare. Over a year later, more code violations and used kitchen cabinets installed.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 6, 2013
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
It depends on how much rehab work you plan on completing there is two different 203K programs:

1) Streamlined 203K is less than $35,000 worth of renovation work, this does not require a consultant
2) Full K which is more than $35,000 worth of renovation work, this will require a consultant and then the consultant will have to be a consultant on the list of licensed 203K consultants which is found on HUD's website. They will then be able to let you know if you need a architect when completing the renovation. Typically an architect is only needed when you are repairing or renovating something within the structure.

Chris Diamond
Diamond Residential Mortgage Corporation
NMLS 771882
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Definitely need a contractor, most likely a Certified 203k Contractor.
Architect could be required if there are major structural modification.

You are best to check with a well qualified HUD approved FHA 203k Consultant and then select your Certified 203k Contractor.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
Hi Claire,
The answer is yes, you would need both if you plan on adding an addition of any type or make structural changes. There is no such thing as a HUD approved contractor so you can choose any contractor you wish, the contractor will need to supply license and insurance info to the lender, and they will have to be willing to abide by the draw system of payments.
The architect will only need his state license which is listed in his drawings he will provide you.

You need to know that buying a home with a contingency of a 203(K) approval takes a lot of time especially if you are adding an addition of any type. A construction project is a deeply involved process and realistically is takes about 2-3 months for all of the inspections and architectural drawings to be created, you will have to sit down with the architect and decide on the design of the house along with any finishes you want, so try to be realistic about how much time you need.
A rehab of a pre-existing structure without additions or structure alterations will take less time.

The construction money comes from the assumed equity of the property that is based on several appraisals, so be realistic about the amount of money you’ll need for the project. Adding an addition that needs a foundation will be a lot more money than just building upward. If the addition needs a foundation and it will be a two-story for example, then start at $200,000 (usually more), then add the money for the cabinets, counter tops, carpet, tiling, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, wall finishes…etc.
If the addition is a dormer or second story atop a pre-existing than it is less, I’ve written jobs anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000, yours may be more of course.

There is so much more to say but if you want more info you can call me or the other fine pro’s that have left answers for you on this site.

Ed Mendelson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Jeremy Rose - Your Home Loan Professional - Prospect Mortgage Rose is an experienced, efficient, and courteous loan professional in Chicago

203K Renovation Specialist at Prospect Mortgage, LLC;
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
You definitely will need a good contractor, with a good estimate if you are sure you know what needs
to be done and what you want to have done, if on the other hand you are not sure what the rehab
should involve, and what could be done based on construction, and zoning regulations, you may need
an architect to produce a plan, and then the contractor to provide you with a cost estimate, you will
need for the loan anyway...
Sincerely yours,
Edith YourRealtor4Life & Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert

Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, Buyers, Sellers and Investors alike....
And always with a SMILE 
Covering for @Properties the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs, the fine homes on the
North Shore, and many of the W and SW suburbs, and with her trusted Partner Agents all of
the US and worldwide properties. Edith speaks French, German, some Spanish and other.....
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
A contractor is must, the architect is only necessary of you are doing major structural changes. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
Estimates on the work to be done will be required by the lender.

Get yourself preapproved by a lender so that when you find your "home" you can submit an offer and preapproval immediately.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
Dear Ms. Parker:

I would be happy to help you. I am a qualified HUD 203k Consultant & Contractor. Without additional information it would be difficult to answer part of this question. In general any type of structural work (Removing or installing walls, floors, etc.) requires an architect. All work requires a contractor and in most cases the contractor has to have a license, again depending on the type of work involved. Our company covers all of your needs and have been involved with the program on a on going basis since 1991.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss your project further.

Thank you,
John G Moustis
President / Owner
Phone & Fax: 630-963-6020

Quality building, remodeling & consulting services in the Chicagoland area since 1991
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
My web site has some lender references that do 203K's, but it is a complicated transaction with a mountain of paperwork. You will need a copntractor who is approved by the lender. You can pick one, but they need to do what the lender tells them to do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
Hello Claire
A contractor is required - however you may not need an architect depending on the scope of the work.
My company is one of the best when it comes to 203k lending - I would be happy to discuss this further if you are interested
Sam Sharp
Senior VP of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
773 290 0455
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
You will need a HUD approved contractor. If you are making structural changes then yes, will need an architect. If it's only cosmetic then a contractor should be able to give you estimates. If the work needed is extensive then you may need a full doc 203k.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
Hi Claire. The lender will provide the contractors and architects that are needed and who you can choose. It will not be left up to you to find someone. The 203K loan program can be a great option.

I would love to help you with your search. Please shoot me an email or give me a call if you would like more information. Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
The bank is going to require contractors to go out and give estimates.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
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