By Stephanie Andre
RISMEDIA, March 29, 2011-Twenty-year lending industry veteran Joe Daly knows quite a bit about FHA's Streamlined 203(k) loan program-a government program that adds money into a mortgage for repairs and renovations. He's qualified to teach real estate professionals about the 203(k) program through continuing education, holds buyer seminars regularly and is a certified 203(k) specialist.
Given all of Daly's accolades, it makes sense that when he decided to work with a home improvement retailer for his borrowers' Streamlined 203(k) renovations, he made the decision to work with Lowe's and REbuildUSA, a company that has partnered with Lowe's on a national, in-store program to offer customers a one-stop destination for all of their repairs, renovation products and services needs through the FHA Streamlined 203(k) program.
"I loved the idea of incorporating a big-box store with the 203(k) program," says Daly, National 203k/Renovation Lending manager for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage.
When you have a buyer who decides to go with the Streamlined 203(k) loan, it's tough to then explain to them that they now have to get bids from a plumber, roofer, etc.-all in a reasonably short time frame. "It's especially tough if they're a first-time home buyer; they've typically never worked with housing contractors in this capacity," he explains.
But through Daly's affiliation with REbuildUSA, he can literally "push a button" and, within a short amount of time, Lowe's has already set up an appointment with the buyer, making sure the bids are submitted in time.
"With that one push of a button, a team captain at the local Lowe's is notified about a new buyer and the date of the service level agreement; they then contact the borrower to schedule an appointment," explains Daly.
In fact, Daly recalls one instance in which while he and a borrower were meeting, he had submitted the borrower's information and left his desk for a moment. Upon his return, he discovered that his client had already talked with someone at Lowe's. "It couldn't have been more than 15 minutes," he says. "It was amazing."
What's more, by working with Lowe's, Daly knows that he doesn't have to worry about contractor validation (a requirement by HUD); Lowe's contractors are already validated, so within a week of contact with the team captain, the bids are done.
"It saves me so much time," explains Daly. "I don't have to keep checking in on the contractors or borrowers to ensure the process is moving along. Someone else takes the ball and runs with it. It frees me up to complete the process-from working on the loan itself to ordering the title and being able to close within 45 days."
Another major plus: Lowe's guarantees its work for 12 months. "If you call a local contractor, they may not offer that guarantee or might give you a tough time about going back to the home and fixing something," he says. "With Lowe's, you make the call and know the job will get done."
This is the future of home buying, says Daly. "If the lender does it right, this can work for just about anyone," he says. "As a real estate professional, you shouldn't have to take a buyer to 50 showings before they find the house they want...all because 'house number three' was wonderful but it needed a new roof. The buyer can buy 'house number three' and roll the roofing repairs right into the mortgage. This is how you move inventory."
With this program, everyone wins, as long as it's managed correctly, he says. And for Daly, he knows he's with the right players.
"With Lowe's, REbuildUSA and myself, we are assisting the borrower like a train-you make stops at certain ports but you are always taken to the next destination...smoothly and on time."
For more information on the Lowe's/REbuildUSA program, please visit www.rebuildusa.com.
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