It’s hard to deny the remodeling movement is gaining momentum. It seems as though everyone from your neighbor to your local politician is remodeling his or her home, and the guy at the hardware store or the contractor across town is everybody’s new best friend.

Countless TV shows depict eager home buyers purchasing charming, character-filled fixer-uppers-and fixing them. The ending is always happy. But what those shows don’t talk about is how much real home owners can pay to make a remodeler’s nightmare into a dream home. Without the benefit of TV.

Thankfully, there’s a mortgage loan that appeals to the dreamer in all of us, and it reduces the fear factor of purchasing a place that needs work.

First-time home buyers are generally familiar with Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans, but they may not be aware that there’s a branch of FHA loans perfect for those ready to take on fixer-uppers-FHA 203k mortgage loans.

For homeowners with vision, a 203k mortgage provides funds not only to buy a home, but also for necessary remodeling. For those who find the remodeling nightmare is worse than they feared, most 203k loans come with a 10 percent to 20 percent contingency reserve to protect against the unexpected, like shaky foundations or mold. But these mortgages come with specific stipulations.

For example, borrowers must provide estimates for their desired upgrades and renovations, including labor expenses-something that isn’t always easy to do.

Lower down payments and less stringent credit requirements make 203k loans a great option for home buyers with can-do spirits.

However, it is also necessary to meet specific criteria-not all properties or repairs qualify, and you need to determine whether you can do the work yourself.

Talk to your real estate agent about the proper procedures, eligibility, and potential problems. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s great to get help turning your fixer-upper into your dream home.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.