Any time you’re looking to have your home elevated or raised, there’s a lot that goes into the planning process. Apart from the logistics of actually lifting your home, you want to be sure that you’ve taken every precaution to get the right price and the best funding options possible. That being said, there are different scenarios for a home elevation, and with those scenarios come different funding options.
In some cases, and if you meet eligibility requirements, you can receive government grants. Some grants are given as preventative measures while others are reactionary—you are eligible if your home has undergone flood damage. In other instances, you can go a more traditional route of taking out a loan or even financing with your contractor. The method you choose depends entirely on your situation, but we’ll give you an idea of your options and help you take a step in the right direction.
What is Home Elevation and Why Does It Matter?
Home elevation refers to raising your home so that the lowest floor is above flood level. This is the most effective way to protect your home, belongings, and family from flood waters. However, it’s also the most expensive means—at least on the front end. Thankfully, if you want to elevate your home, you aren’t usually required to pay the full price upfront. Many homeowners have access to different resources that can help them cover the cost of home elevation. Here, we break down your financial options if a home elevation is in your future.
FEMA is an excellent resource for homeowners in need of financial assistance for home elevation. The agency has several programs that offer grants to homeowners who have experienced flood damage or are seeking to prevent it.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program from FEMA provides funding to states, tribes, and territories, who then disperse the funds to sub-applicants, like state agencies and local governments or communities. From there, individuals have access to those funds, which can be used for home elevation.
Another program offering funding for home elevation is FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This grant is usually a one-time grant awarded after a major flooding disaster. Unfortunately, if you’re applying for a hazard mitigation grant, it means you’ve already experienced severe flooding damage.
FEMA has one other grant program available to homeowners through their local governing bodies: the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant. This program was created to prevent flood damage to states, territories, tribes, and local communities through preventative measures.
Typically, individuals will apply for these grants at the local level. Those governing bodies then submit applications to the state. And from there, states, territories, or tribes submit the applications directly to FEMA.
Construction loans are yet another option if you’re exploring ways to pay for your home elevation. These loans are unique in that they’re short-term—usually only for a period of one year. This allows you to have funds at the ready to cover the costs of your home elevation before obtaining more long-term funding, if necessary.
Because construction loans are short-term and risky, the down payments and interest rates are typically higher than those of a traditional mortgage. Most lenders ask for a 20 percent down payment, while some may require up to 25 percent from you. Because your home is already built and you’re seeking out a construction loan for elevating purposes, you shouldn’t have a problem securing the loan since you’ve already got your collateral—your home—for your lender to fall back on.
If you can’t qualify for a grant or don’t want to wait on approval, or if you aren’t comfortable taking out a construction loan, financing is the perfect option for you. Your lifting contractor can typically provide you with extremely competitive rates that rival those of lenders if you choose to finance through them.
One major benefit of financing your home elevation through your contractor is that all of your business is done in one place. Your builder is your bank, in this instance, which helps keep things organized and convenient for you. Additionally, you’re going to get excellent customer service. Your contractor is more concerned with providing a satisfying experience than a big bank or lender is because there’s more at stake for them. You’ll likely find that financing with your home elevation contractor is not only painless but will turn out to be a really pleasant experience.
Lifting your home, whether a few inches or an entire story, is a logistical task in a league of its own. But paying for it doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario. As a homeowner, you have options, whether they be grants, loans, or financing, so you can elevate your home with a financial plan that works for you.