If you’re in need of some major renovations to improve the safety and accessibility of your home, but you can’t afford it, a renovation grant may be worth looking into. These grants are money that people who qualify can get from state and federal agencies to make home improvements to the interior and exterior of their structure. The money doesn’t need to be repaid, but it must be used for specific projects and not for cosmetic purposes.
Several agencies offer grants: the Veterans Administration, Agency of Aging, Native American Housing Improvement Program, and The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Not everyone can qualify for a major renovation grant. The criteria differ depending on the grant but can include specific age requirements, ethnic background, income levels, and disability.
As stated, a significant renovation grant cannot be used for just anything, and it must fall into the categories of health, safety, and accessibility. In order to apply, go to government websites like HUD and The Department of Aging. Documents will likely be required, like identification, social security number, income taxes, proof of income, age, and, in some cases, ethnicity. To qualify, you must both own and live in the home. Below are some ways you can use the grant to improve your home.
1. Get the Roof Repaired
If you’ve qualified for a major renovation grant, one of the first things you should do is hire roofing contractors. The average roof lasts about 30 years, so chances are, if you’ve been in your home for a long time, the roof will, at the very least, need repairs. If you notice things like missing or curled shingles, cracks, or holes, you’ll need repairs.
A faulty roof can cause leaks, which in turn will damage the structure of your home, as well as your possessions. Eventually, mild and mildew will form, which is a health hazard to both humans and pets. Water can also damage your electrical system, and if a short occurs, it can cause a fire. Getting your roof repaired will also help save money.
It’s been proven that a good roof will cut down on energy costs. Your heating and air conditioning systems won’t have to work as hard if the roof is sealed and insulated well. A new roof will also help with the curb appeal and value of the home should you decide to sell. Whether you sell or not, you can be secure in knowing that your family will stay warm, safe, and dry with a new roof over your heads.
2. Declutter Your Space
Having a home overrun with clutter is more than an unsightly nuisance, it can be unsafe and unhealthy. Cluttered homes can cause issues with accessibility, leading to slips, trips, and falls. If you’ve reached the point where you’re hoarding things, chances are pests and rodents have taken up residence. Critters like mice, flies, and roaches carry some pretty unhealthy diseases nobody wants to be around.
Things like trash, rotten food, and other piles can collect dust and bacteria that can cause respiratory illnesses, headaches, and allergies. Any of these situations would qualify you for a major renovation grant as they’re related to health, safety, and accessibility. You can use the grant money to hire a junk removal service to help you get rid of the clutter.
If you’d rather do it yourself, rent a dumpster and recruit some friends to help. The grant can also be used to buy items for organization, like shelves, bins, and other storage solutions. If you need help cleaning and sanitizing after the decluttering, you may be able to use some of the money to hire a cleaning company for a one-time overhaul.
3. Get a New Fence
A major renovation grant could also be used to repair or replace an old, damaged fence. Fence repair can fall into the grant category if it’s rotting, rusted, has holes, sharp objects, or anything else that poses a safety issue. Having fence repairs done can help keep pets in your yard and prevent them from potentially harming others. You won’t need to worry about anyone, especially children, harming themselves on sharp edges or stray nails.
Most of all, it can improve your safety and security. Even though the major renovation grant is not supposed to be used for cosmetic projects, sometimes there’s an unintentional outcome. In this case, a new fence will definitely improve the look of your home. The neighbors will probably be happy as well!
4. Replace Old Windows
Outdated windows can be more than an aesthetic problem. They can cause utility costs to increase, let cold air in and even water. Depending on the state and age of your windows, a home renovation grant may be used to purchase new ones. If the windows are cracked, missing glass, hard to close, or offer little insulation from the elements, you can put the grant money towards a home window service.
Broken windows are not just a drafty inconvenience either. They can be dangerous during rainstorms and bad weather. Cracks and holes also allow for insects and pests to enter your home, and no one wants that.
The window contractor will evaluate your windows and determine if you need repairs or total replacement. The work may include replacing the glass screens, adding storm windows, and replacing the frames. New windows can help keep your home at a regulated temperature, prevent water damage, and reduce utility bills.
5. Update Your Electricity
If you’re experiencing flickering lights, power outages, blown fuses, and light bulbs, chances are your electrical system needs updating. The good news is a major renovation grant can be used for this purpose. The grant will cover the cost of an inspection by an electrical contractor, labor, and materials that may be needed. The grant will cover a new electrical panel, updated fuse box, outdoor pipe that houses wiring, new wiring, grounding system, and outlets.
The money may also cover the purchase of new lighting fixtures. For instance, if the ceiling light in the dining room is falling apart and has exposed wires, the grant will cover a replacement. You may even be able to have track lighting or recessed lighting installed if your overhead lighting is in poor condition. You will need to prove all of this, so be sure to have the contractor write a detailed estimate. Additionally, take pictures, save receipts, and even save the old fixture until your grant is closed. You can never be too careful with government grants.
6. Clean Up The Yard
On the surface, cleaning your yard may not seem like a health or safety issue that would qualify for a major renovation grant. But, just like a cluttered home that’s taken on a life of its own, yards can sometimes get the best of people, too. If you’ve suffered an illness or injury that prevented you from regular clean-up, it’s easy for a yard to become overgrown, cluttered, and messy.
There may be old rusty or rotted sheds that need to be removed. Perhaps there are landscaping issues like overgrown weeds, dead trees, piles of wood, bricks, or other refuse that have been building up. All these things can pose a danger to humans and pets. Rotting material can attract insects and rodents that carry disease.
Dead trees have the potential to fall on people and property, causing injury and lawsuits. Mold and other fungus can grow in standing water, causing illness for everyone in the surrounding area. The good news is, with a renovation grant, you’ll be able to hire numerous contractors like landscapers, tree removal specialists, demolition crews, and junk removal contractors to take care of the issue.
Not only will the health and safety issues be resolved, but you’ll be able to use the yard again. You can sit outside and get fresh air, have friends over, and maybe even plant a vegetable garden. It doesn’t get healthier than that!
7. Update the Heating and AC
Whether you need HVAC repairs or replacements, many government grants can assist you. From veterans and senior citizens to rural and urban residents, major renovation grants are available to help. Depending on the program, you may be able to get old systems updated and brought up to code.
If the system cannot be fixed, you could qualify for anything from a new furnace to new air-conditioning window units. Other programs offer the installation of new energy-efficient appliances that will lower your utility bills, conserve energy, and reduce harmful emissions and pollution. You must agree to specific requirements like installing carbon dioxide monitors, high-quality filters, and Energy Star-rated appliances.
You’ll also need to agree with contractors doing the work who are chosen by the government agency. Weatherization programs will assist with duct cleaning, insulation of attics and basements, and sealing up any cracks and holes to improve energy efficiency. The best part of these already free programs is that by taking part, you may qualify for tax rebates.
8. Replace Old Doors
Another way to use a major renovation grant is to replace the aging doors around your home; take a particular look at the entry doors in the front, back, and side of the home. New doors can improve the security of a house because most are made from steel, fiberglass, and other strong materials. Modern doors have more robust hinges and tamper-resistant locks.
They also have reinforced doorknobs that are difficult to remove. Updated doors will also be compatible with modern security features like keypads and Smart locks that can be controlled from your phone. All of these new door features will make it difficult to break the door down or pick locks, which will significantly improve the safety of you and your family.
New doors can also benefit you by increasing energy efficiency. You can say goodbye to drafts and hello to more comfortable temperatures and lower utility bills. Another reason to consider new doors is to improve accessibility. Your old doors may be difficult to open and close, making it hazardous if you need to evacuate or need emergency services.
Up-to-date doors will also be up to code and meet specific requirements, making it easier for those who use mobility devices to get in and out of the house. Signs that you may need to call some door contractors for estimates include rotting wood, signs of moisture, mold, or mildew, rusty hardware, trouble locking and unlocking the door, and air coming through spaces or cracks.
9. Update Plumbing and Fixtures
Clean water is essential for the health of everyone in a home. Not only do we use it for drinking and cooking, but it’s needed for cleaning, washing, and sanitation. If you’re having difficulty with water flowing into your house, a major renovation grant can help pay for plumbers and drain cleaning services.
One sign that your home may need new plumbing is low water pressure. Poor water pressure could indicate you need a new water heater or that old pipes need to be replaced. Many times, old iron pipes can become clogged with debris and rust.
Another sign something is wrong with your plumbing is discolored or smelly water. Either of these could mean the pipes are rusted or corroded. It could also mean there are malfunctions that are allowing foreign bodies into the water system.
Poor plumbing is not only a potential health hazard, but it can increase your water bill. When you have leaky pipes, it can waste up to 90 gallons of water each month. Leaks can be hard to detect, but if you see wet spots or signs of mold or mildew, it’s time to call a plumber.
A grant may also be able to help you purchase new fixtures like toilets, sinks, and faucets. If you’ve got outdated or damaged fixtures in the bathroom or kitchen, they can be replaced with energy-efficient items using the grant funds. With new plumbing, you and your family will be healthier and save some money in the process.
A major renovation grant can be a lifesaver for many homeowners who can’t afford the upkeep on their home. A grant can relieve stress and make a depressed house a happy home again.