American Mortgage Resource, Inc.

Providing the Best Financial Resources for Boston and Massachusetts

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Home Loans and Fixer Uppers

There are countless reasons why fixing up old homes has turned into one of the most colossal real estate trends over the past decade. While it seems everyone talks about fixing up an old home one day, not many people are speaking about what it’s like to finance such a project. Fixer upper loans combine the purchase or refinance of a property with the cost of renovating it. This unique mortgage option addresses the challenge buyers often face when figuring out how to finance a fixer upper. Follow along below as we discuss why you should invest in a fixer upper and what loan options may be available to you.

Reasons to Purchase a Fixer Upper

  • You can build the custom home of your dreams
  • You can flip it for a profit
  • It’s typically cheaper than purchasing a newer home
  • There’s less competition when purchasing it
  • You fell in love with the property or neighborhood, but not the home itself

Loan Options

  • FHA 203(k) Loan – This government backed loan will require that you to adhere to FHA guidelines and limitations when completing renovations. In some cases this loan will not allow for much DIY work, as the government will require that licensed contractors complete most major tasks.
  • VA Renovation Loan – Some eligible service members, veterans and qualifying spouses can use this loan to combine a VA purchase loan or VA cash-out refinance with their renovation costs. Other major advantages of this option include not having to pay a down payment or any closing costs on the property at the time of purchase. In some cases the VA accommodates a higher purchase price based on the home’s expected value once renovations are complete
  • HomeStyle Loan – Referred to as a Fannie Mae convention loan, a HomeStyle loan is a fixer upper loan similar to a FHA 203(k) loan, but with increased limits for borrowers. Due to the fact that this is a conventional rehab loan, homebuyers finance their home directly with private banks or mortgage companies that offer this product, and Fannie Mae purchases the loans from lenders.
  • CHOICERenovation loan – Also dubbed the Freddie Mac loan, CHOICERenovation can be used to finance a fixer upper project through traditional means in conjunction with the refinancing of a separate existing property. This option is great for those who plan on purchasing the fixer upper as a second home or as an investment property.

Final Thoughts

Before you commit to spending your free time renovating a fixer upper, make sure you know exactly what to expect throughout the process financially. For free and honest advice from the pros, contact the team at American Mortgage Resource, Inc. in Boston, MA. Visit our website to learn more about the loans we offer or contact our team directly Monday – Saturday at (617) 972-8588.

How to Qualify for a VA Loan

The Veteran Administration’s Loan was created to provide veterans with a federally-guaranteed home loan with no down payment. It is granted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to eligible veterans and current active military members. Eligible borrowers can use it to purchase a home as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage. If you currently or formerly serve in the U.S. military, you may qualify. Read on to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply for a VA loan.

Benefits of a VA Loan

VA loans are the one of the best mortgage options for veterans and come with many benefits and advantages that allow you to achieve your dream of becoming a homeowner. This includes:

  • No down payment
  • Better terms and interest rates
  • You can apply and receive more than one VA loan
  • No private mortgage (PMI)
  • Fewer closing costs
  • No penalty fee for prepaying the loan

Who is Eligible?

As mentioned above, VA loan eligibility extends to current and former military service members, such as combat veterans and troops who served in peacetime, active-duty personnel and reservists. Spouses and surviving spouses of service members – including those who are disabled, missing in action, or held as a prisoner of war – are also eligible. The list of eligibility requirements is very specific and varies according to the date you served, the type of service, and the length of time. In a nutshell, you are most likely eligible if you were not dishonorably discharged and meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime (WWII, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War).
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime.
  • You have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
  • You are currently on active duty with 90 continuous days.
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has a service-related disability, MIA, or is a POW.

If you don’t meet the minimum service requirements because you were discharged, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, you may still be able to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if it was due to one of the following reasons:

  • Hardship
  • The convenience of the government (you must have served at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Early out (you must have served 21 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • A service-related disability

However, if you were dishonorably discharged due to bad conduct and other grievous offenses, you may not be eligible for a VA loan. You can try to potentially qualify by applying for a discharge upgrade if you have a strong case that it was due to mental health conditions, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and more.

Borrowing Requirements

Now that you understand the eligibility criteria, there are three more general requirements that VA loan applicants must meet. The first is obtaining a COE after providing documentation that proves your service in the military. The other two requirements are that you must have a stable source of income and an adequate credit score. There is no minimum income required to get a VA loan but there needs to be evidence of sufficient income to cover the monthly loan payments. As for your credit score, it can vary from lender to lender but most prefer at least good or better, which is at least 670+ on the FICO scale.


When it comes to researching and applying for loans, it can be overwhelming trying to understand all of the eligibility conditions. The process of trying to buy your dream home can be stressful without the help of professionals. If you find yourself in a difficult situation and in need of loan help, American Mortgage Resource, Inc. is here to help you every step of the way. Consult with our experts today at (617) 972-8588 and we’ll help find a solution based on your needs. For more information, visit our website to learn more about our services and loan options. 

The Best Ways to Use a Home Equity Loan

What are you envisioning for your home? Are you looking to renovate the kitchen? Perhaps replace the garage door? To fund your house projects, you can find financial support through a home equity loan. Bankrate comments, “Tapping your home equity can be a convenient, low-cost way to borrow large sums at favorable interest rates in order to pay for home repairs or debt consolidation.” Continue reading to learn about more ways you can use your home equity loan.

Home Improvements

Financing large projects is feasible with a home equity loan. With fixed monthly payments and a large sum of cash up front, you can pay for projects like a kitchen remodel, bathroom renovation, deck installation, and more. Once these projects are finished, they can raise your home value over time and give you a good return on your investment. Are you planning to sell your home in the future? Prospective buyers will take an interest in your new improvements.

College Debt

While student loans are more conventional, another route you can take is by using home equity. You may find that a home equity loan gives you more of an advantage due to the lower interest rates. Additionally, you can extend the term of the loan and therefore reduce your payments. However, you want to be careful not to default payments, otherwise, you could lose your house. Before using home equity for student debt, calculate the monthly costs and see if you can make the payments.

Debt Consolidation

Are you paying high-interest debt on a credit card or car loan? Consider consolidating your debt with your home’s equity. This way, you can pay off personal debt at a lower interest rate and set a longer term. You will be able to make monthly payments quicker and easier. Note: using home equity makes this secured debt – meaning the collateral is your home. Bankrate states, “If you have a solid debt payoff plan, using home equity to refinance high-interest debt can help you get out of debt faster.”


When you need a home equity loan, contact the team at American Mortgage Resource, Inc. Our professional lenders have the answers to your loan questions and are friendly when helping you with your loan needs. Get started on the loan application process today!