Skip to content
Fact Checked by Experts

FHA 203k Loan in Columbia County, Florida

FHA 203k loans have been growing in popularity among home buyers and real estate investors across Columbia County, Florida. This government-backed loan program offers an easy and flexible way to finance home improvement projects for qualified borrowers. This type of loan is also known as the FHA home improvement loan or 203k rehabilitation loan program, but no matter what you call it, you need to know the basics before applying for one of these loans.

If you're planning to buy an investment property or are interested in remodeling your existing home, read on to learn everything you need about FHA 203k loans in Columbia County, Florida.

We'll discuss what an FHA 203k loan is, eligibility guidelines, things covered by these loans, and they create value after the renovations are done. We'll also explore five desserts and where to find them in Columbia County, Florida.

Understand the FHA 203K Loan

If you're considering purchasing a fixer-upper home in Columbia County, Florida, you may be eligible for an FHA 203k loan. This government-insured mortgage allows you to use it for two purposes: financing the home's purchase price plus the cost of repairs and renovations.

The property must meet specific requirements before being approved for this loan. In addition, if your credit score is 580 or higher (or 620 with compensating factors), you can get this loan without putting down any upfront money out-of-pocket.

Types of FHA 203K Loan

There are three FHA 203K loans, each with advantages, disadvantages, requirements, and stipulations. So, which one is right for you? The answer depends on the property, the loan purpose, and the financial situation.

This guide will explain the differences between each type of FHA 203K loan to help you make an informed decision.

FHA 203K Standard Loan

If you're looking to purchase a home that needs some significant repairs, the FHA 203K Standard Loan is the perfect loan for you. This loan allows you to finance the home's purchase price, plus the cost of any necessary repairs, all in one loan.

It requires a minimum of $5,000 (FHA maximum limit will apply). This can be a great way to save money on interest and get into your dream home sooner than you thought possible.

You can use this loan when your home needs structural work involving non-safety-related landscaping or your entire renovation costs exceed $35,000. However, you'll be required to have a HUD consultant and a HUD-approved contractor to qualify.

The HUD consultant will help you ensure all minimum property requirements are met and your contractor has completed the work as agreed in the contract. The following are some of the renovations eligible for an FHA Standard 203K Loan in Columbia County, Florida:

  • Increase the size of the kitchen by expanding into the dining room
  • Increase the size of the windows to add more light
  • Knock down walls to open up the floor plan
  • Add a detached garage if you don't have
  • Make an addition to add square footage
  • Add a retaining wall to prevent flooding
  • Correct foundational issues
  • Finish a basement or attic
  • Make repairs to the pool

FHA 203K Limited Loans

If you're looking to do cosmetic work or repairs that fall under $35,000, then a Limited FHA 203K Loan is right for you. This loan option provides you with a smaller amount of money at a lower interest rate, and it doesn't require as much paperwork as the other types of 203K loans. Plus, you won't have to go through the hassle of finding an additional contractor since the lender will take care of that for you.

The Limited home improvement loan does not require the approval of a HUD consultant. As the borrower, you will submit a written work plan demonstrating your understanding of the contractor's bid. Additionally, you can't use this loan to finance a mortgage. Below are the home improvements eligible for an FHA 203K Limited Loan:

  • Replace windows to increase energy efficiencies
  • Update HVAC, electrical, and plumbing
  • Replace countertops in kitchen and baths
  • Add gutters and downspouts
  • Replace tub and showers
  • Refinish flooring
  • Replace siding
  • Repair septic
  • Repair roof
  • Painting

FHA 203K Homestyle Loan

If you're planning to purchase a home that needs significant repairs or renovation, a HomeStyle Loan may be the right choice. This type of loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). It allows you to finance not only the purchase price of the property but also the cost of necessary or desired repairs or upgrades.

This loan can accommodate structural and non-structural repairs and upgrades, including landscaping and site amenities upgrading. Below is a list of all the home improvements eligible for a Homestyle Loan:

  • Create curb appeal by changing the fascia of your home
  • Build the attic and put in dormer windows
  • Add new kitchen appliances
  • Remediate lead-based paint
  • Create an open floor plan
  • Add an on-suite bath
  • Update all fixtures
  • Add new carpet
  • Repair a well
  • Build a pool

How to Qualify for an FHA 203K Loan Program

Qualifying for an FHA 203K loan program isn't necessarily easy, but it's not impossible either. If you can pass the necessary credit checks and other eligibility requirements, you'll be able to achieve your homeownership dream with this loan quickly and painlessly.

If you're looking to take advantage of this financing option, here's everything you need to know about qualifying for an FHA 203K loan program.

FHA-approved lenders offer 203K home renovation loan programs that allow you to add or update an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). However, with ADUs becoming increasingly popular, the following are eligibility guidelines you should beware of:

Loan-to-Value Ratios (LTVs)

FHA 203k loans have more lenient guidelines regarding your loan-to-value ratio or LTV. This is the ratio of your loan amount to the property's appraised value. To qualify for an FHA 203k loan, borrowers must have an LTV of up to 97%.

An LTV of 97% means you'll finance up to 97% of the home's purchase price. The other 3% would need to come from your savings, a gift, or a grant.

Credit Score

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a minimum credit score of 620 for its 203K home loan program. This is the minimum credit score required for all other FHA loan programs. If you have a credit score below this threshold, you may still be eligible for the program.

However, you'll need to provide additional documentation to prove your creditworthiness and a down payment of up to 10%.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, plays a significant role in whether or not you're eligible for an FHA 203k loan. Lenders use your DTI to determine if you can make monthly payments on a loan after factoring in all your other debts. When applying for an FHA 203k loan, lenders want your DTI to be 43% or less.

Additional Product Information

There are a few more requirements to keep in mind before you can apply for an FHA 203k loan, including:

  • If you plan on occupying the home after renovations are complete, it needs to provide basic living accommodations such as cooking, sleeping, and bathroom areas with running water.

  • The property must be a one-unit dwelling completed for at least one year.

  • The home must be your primary residence.

  • You must have had no bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past three years.

  • You cannot use the loan to renovate a rental property.

  • ADUs must be a parcel of your primary 1-unit dwelling and aren't permitted with 2- to 4-unit dwellings.

Top view of home model and wrench with repairing and construction tools

FHA 203K Loan Application Process: Step-by-Step Guide

If you're looking to buy a fixer-upper home, you might be wondering how to get an FHA 203K loan approved. If you want to live in and improve your house rather than sell it, this type of loan can be the perfect option.

Follow this step-by-step guide to the FHA 203K loan application process to help you get through it as smoothly as possible.

Find an FHA 203K Loan Officer

You can find a list of approved lenders on the HUD website. An FHA 203K loan officer can help guide you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.

They'll work with you to gather the necessary documentation, such as bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns. You'll also be given some documentation to pass on to your contractor once you have selected one.

Getting Pre-Approved

The next step is to get pre-approved by your loan officer. The loan officer will need to see your credit score, proof of income, and other financial information to determine your eligibility for the loan.

Find a Perfect Home and Interview Contractors

Once pre-approved, the next step is to find a property that meets the loan program's requirements and interview several contractors to pick the one who meets your needs.

In addition to finding out how much it will cost to buy the home and what services the contractors provide, you should also ask them if they have any experience with FHA 203K financing and how long they've been in business.

You can then get an estimate of what it will cost to repair or remodel the home before you make an offer.


The next step is to find a HUD-approved consultant. The consultant will visit the property, assess the needs, and provide a written report. The inspection and appraisal report will determine the maximum loan amount that can be approved.

During your inspection period, you'll be allowed to work with your contractor to review items required to meet minimum property standards and add anything else you want to be done on your home.

Provide Specs and plans

If you're planning on making changes to the floor plan of your home, you'll need to submit specs and plans as part of your loan application. The lender will review these and make sure they comply with HUD's Minimum Property Standards (MPS).


Once your application file and appraisal have been reviewed and submitted to Underwriting, the lender will review everything and decide whether they want to proceed with your application.

If you are lucky enough to get approved at this stage, you can move on to signing documents for the loan. If you're denied at this stage, it is up to you as the borrower to find out why and make the necessary corrections.

Closing the Deal

During closing, the contractor will submit a detailed work plan to the lender for approval. Once the work plan is approved, the contractor will begin work and submit progress reports to the lender. Your loan officer will inspect the property periodically to ensure the work is completed as planned.

Get What You Need from Your Current Home with an FHA 203K Loan

If you're looking to spruce up your current home and make it as attractive as possible, you should consider utilizing an FHA 203K loan (commonly known as a renovation loan).

With this type of loan, you can do the following things to get what you need from your current home instead of moving to a new one:

  • Adding square footage to your current home to grow with your family

  • Adding a new bathroom to avoid sharing one

  • Adding a home pool to create a home oasis

  • Adding embellishing touches to create a modern feel

5 Desserts in Columbia County, Florida and Where to Get Them

Columbia County has plenty of sweet spots to satisfy your cravings, whether you're in the mood for ice cream or something more filling. From indulgent desserts made with fresh ingredients to decadent sweet treats at bakeries and coffee shops, you'll find a dessert to make your mouth watery.

Here are five can't-miss desserts in Columbia County, Florida, and where to find them.

Key Lime Pie Desserts

There's no better place to enjoy key lime pie than in The Sunshine State. And while you can find this tart and sweet dessert all over the state, there's something special about the pies made in Columbia County, Florida.

If you're ever in the area, stop by one of these four spots for a slice (or two) of key lime pie.

  • Publix Super Market at Lake City Commons
  • Marion Street Bistro & BrewHouse
  • Cedar River Seafood
  • Winn-Dixie

Banana Pudding Dessert

There's nothing quite like a cold, creamy banana pudding dessert on a hot summer day. This comforting dish is made with fresh bananas, Nilla wafers, and a secret ingredient that gives it a delicious kick.

Luckily, if you're in Columbia County, Florida, you don't have to go far to find this delicious treat. Here are some of the best places to get banana pudding in the area:

  • BW Blacksmith Deli and Grill
  • Sugar Dessert Shoppe
  • Sonny's BBQ

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake is a must-have dessert when visiting Columbia County, Florida. This dish is simple yet elegant and can be found at most restaurants in the area.

The key to a good Strawberry Shortcake is fresh Florida strawberries, so be sure to ask your server where they sourced their berries.

Another essential element of this dish is the shortcake; it should be light and fluffy, with a subtle sweetness. Stop by one of the following spots to grab a bite:

  • Brittany's Cupcake Shoppe
  • Flowers Sunbeam Bakery
  • Dairy Queen Grill & Chill

Icebox Cake

One of the most popular desserts in Columbia County is the icebox cake. This no-bake dessert is perfect for hot summer days and can be made with just a few simple ingredients.

It's made by layering graham crackers with a creamy filling, usually made with whipped cream or pudding. There are endless flavor combinations to choose from. To get your hands on a delicious icebox cake, head to one of these three spots:

  • Ellianos Coffee Company
  • Sugar Dessert Shoppe
  • Baskin-Robbins

Peach Cobbler

If you're looking for a genuinely Southern dessert, look no further than peach cobbler. This dish is traditionally made with fresh peaches, sugar, butter, flour, spices, and a secret recipe passed down for generations.

And while there are many ways to make peach cobbler, the result is always the same: a delicious, comforting dessert. It's served hot from the oven with vanilla ice cream on top at various spots, including but not limited to:

  • Publix Super Market at Lake City Commons
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • Ole Times Country Buffet

Bottom Line

If you want to make significant improvements to your home in Columbia County, Florida, you might be able to get an FHA 203k loan. This loan allows you to borrow money for repairs or renovations that increase the value of your home or make it more livable in some way (like making accessibility modifications).

Although there are some limitations on what modifications can be made using FHA 203k loans, they can still be an excellent investment if you need repairs done on your home but don't have the money to do them yourself.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

Find The Right Mortgage

For more than 20 years, Phil have been helping customers achieve their home purchase and refinance goals by providing them with invaluable resources and support.

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Phil Ganz

Subscribe to Get Your First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Sign up for the weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest real estate market trends, loan news, and so much more!