203K FULL HOME RENOVATION LOAN GUIDE: Picking Up the Pieces with a new GC.

So after my last post in October on 203k Loan Time Extensions and Termination our house just started moving again and it is January. Over the past three months we had to sort out the issues left from the old GC, get subs sorted and have the engineer come out to give us his review of changes that need to be made to bring the house to code to be able to pass inspection. Turns out the Engineer is God and their word is above the building inspector so what he says goes. Between waiting on the Engineer’s report which takes weeks and with the holidays, we lost over a month just waiting, but once we hit the new year work has begun again and it is exciting to drive by the house and see people actually working on it. For matters of transparency, the Engineer’s time, plan updates and report cost about $1,750 total this time. Every time he continues to come out to the property costs about $225 an hour. Fun times over here.

We ended up contacting the old GC on our own and negotiating how much he would receive from the 10% hold back check because we learned our lesson this year and knew it wasn’t worth going to court over $5k. If you are ever in this situation take my advice and try to settle outside of court at all costs because the justice system isn’t just and you will spend more fighting it with lawyers than what you are even fighting over.

Based on the Engineer’s report, the new GC had to fix all of the structural items raised in the report to bring the house to code which included rotted roof trusses, broken floor joists and sistering other beams in the house – none of which was included in our quote with the new GC or in the bank’s escrow account so it all comes out of our pocket. These are items the old GC was paid on that he said he would fix later and never did so there is no money left in those buckets to pay out against which means we pay. This week they are pouring concrete to infill two windows and a major beam in our house that we have been waiting many months for. Luckily the concrete beam was budgeted for, but the windows were not, so again, an additional cost for us mainly for the labor and supervision. Once this is all done an inspection will be called and hopefully everything passes (fingers crossed!). Once passed, the next step will be bringing in the trades to complete their work (AC, Electric & Plumbing) then the insulation and drywall can be put up! I am super excited about this part because I feel that once we have drywall up it will start to look like a real house and the end will be in sight. After drywall will come stucco, painting and finishes like flooring, tile and installing fixtures / appliances. The good news is we have everything picked out and almost everything is already purchased so no wait time on those items. Read my post on how we found everything to decorate and design our house on a budget here.

In the meantime, the Engineer’s updated plans and report have to be submitted to the building department so the building inspector can know what he is inspecting. It can be annoying not knowing the order and process of things, so hopefully this all helps someone out there. No one tells you who’s responsible for what and you would be surprised what you have to end up doing; for instance the Engineer is too lazy to drop off the paperwork at the building department so we have to pick it up and drop it off today. If we didn’t know this and left it up to them we would lose more time.

While we wait on building progress we started figuring out what fence we want at Lowes and my husband went to the store to price out everything. You bring your site survey with you so they can see the setbacks and figure out how much fencing and other materials you need. We were able to get 5% off our total price as we have a Lowes credit card. Because we are a new home build we had to request a permit with the city for the fence which can take two weeks. After much debate we decided to go with a wood fence and paint it gray like in the picture below. We can’t paint it until it is installed but I am excited for how this gray fence will look against our white contemporary house. Fencing Costs: Materials $1,500 / Labor $600 (friend of a friend).


Ok so that is the lowdown on the past few months as we pick up the pieces from the old GC and transition the new GC onto the project. I had read somewhere that switching can hold you up about three months and turns out they were right. We will have to ask for another extension in the next week, but hopefully it’s our last extension request!

Let me know any questions you have on the 203k Loan as I am pretty much a bonafide #203k expert now. xx, Beth



  1. Geezus! I just found your blog searching for “how to fire your 203k GC”. I am literally calling my bank today to find out what my options are as we are no where near completion (deadline Feb. 26th) and my GC’s work is shotty. My hubby and I have been beyond patient with this guy but being that my husband is a Contractor himself and I’m a bit handy myself, we cannot continue to stomach what this guy is doing to our house. We have over 100k in repairs to be done and our GC has cheapend us all along the way. I do hate to prolong this process (3 months!?) but what choice do I have? Also our Consultant is worthless! She doesn’t even inspect his crappy work! I do wish we could be our own GC. Thanks for sharing your experience and advice. I don’t feel so alone.


    1. I feel your pain. The bank isn’t helpful and neither is the consultant. They just hold the money. If you can find a GC that will allow you to do some of the things yourself as far as finding your own subs and everything it seems to be the best way to go. Let me know any questions you may have and good luck! xx, Beth


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