When the couple first saw the house in Gig Harbor’s Old Town district, they knew it was the right one. They had already decided that the neighborhood near their grown daughter was where they wanted to be. Granted, the house needed some work, but they planned to renovate after they moved in.
“Living near their daughter was the most important thing to them,” says Brenda Thornbrue, a renovation specialist and loan officer with Academy Mortgage in Lacey. “So when their lender told them they couldn’t finance it because the house needed work, they were devastated.”
Fortunately, the listing agent connected them with Thornbrue, who was able to finance them with a renovation loan that provided funds to make the necessary repairs and customize the home to fit their preferences. “They could not have been happier,” says Thornbrue. “People in their neighborhood walk by now and ask if they can look inside the house because it’s so beautiful. They were able to get exactly what they wanted.”
In Thurston County and throughout the Pacific Northwest, inventory is limited. Some homes stay on the market for as little as 14 days in what has been a sellers’ market for the past several years. It’s hard to find a home in a great location at an affordable price, which is where renovation lending comes in.
“There’s a huge need,” says Thornbrue. “There are a lot of people out there that want to purchase homes and they’re unable to because there’s not enough inventory or it’s not in their price range. With the renovation program, a buyer can purchase pretty much any home and make it the way they want it as long as it is within their budget.”
Renovation Lending Opens New Doors
Thornbrue is a renovation loan expert, who specializes in financing homes that may need work or simply may not be exactly what the buyer has in mind, yet. “It opens up more inventory of fixer-upper homes or outdated homes,” she says. “Whether or not they’re in need of repair, you can purchase the home using a renovation loan and customize it.” Current home owners can also take advantage of this loan program if they want to remodel or add on to their current home.
For the renovation component, a licensed contractor bids on the work that needs to be done and those costs are added to the overall loan. “It’s one loan, one closing, one payment,” says Thornbrue. “All renovation work begins after the loan closes.”
The loans apply to foreclosures and situations where the seller can’t afford to make the repairs or perhaps simply doesn’t want to. “The seller may think the house is great the way it is, but the buyer is thinking, ‘I would make an offer on this home right now if only it had an updated kitchen or didn’t have green shag carpet,’” Thornbrue says. “Through renovation loans can make these changes, as well as, add a bathroom, add a second story, or add to the square footage.”
Not all lenders are able to offer this loan program, according to Kathy Randich, branch manager. “We’re happy to have the advantage to provide several renovation options at Academy,” she says. “It’s great that we have an expert who’s not only very knowledgeable, but she also has a true passion for it.
As Long as The Bones are Good, The Rest can be Fixed
With over two decades in the industry, Thornbrue has had many experiences with clients but one stands out. A young woman from the emergency medical field approached home-buying already knowing she wanted a renovation loan. “She told her agent, ‘These are the areas I’d like to buy in,’” says Thornbrue. “As long as the bones of the house are good I’m going to customize it and make it the way I want.”
The woman was able to find a home that needed a new roof where she converted a handicapped bathroom to standard, added an additional bathroom and remodeled the kitchen, all while staying within her budget. “She completely gutted the inside front room and kitchen to make a very large, gourmet-style kitchen because she loves to cook,” says Thornbrue. “The contractor was able to turn this into a two-bathroom, three-bedroom house in a great location. She now has $100,000 of equity in that house.”
To learn more contact Brenda Thornbrue at Academy Mortgage | NMLS # 433639.
Equal Housing Lender | State Lic: WA MLO-433639, OR: 433639
Corp Lic: WA CL-3113 |Corp NMLS #3113