While Alaskans wait for assistance, renovation loans finance earthquake repairs
This year's Alaska Home Show featured more than just ways to improve homes; earthquake repairs also turned out to be a hot topic.
Many vendors, including the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, are ready to help. The AHFC offers two types of loans to help Alaskans with renovation post-earthquake. The corporation's spokeswoman Michelle Graves said each carries an interest rate that ranges between 3% to 4%.
She said borrowers are using the money not only for earthquake repairs.
"People are fixing some of the damages they had during the earthquake, and at the same time they're adding to that, maybe updating their kitchen, their bathroom. So we're seeing a little bit of everything," Graves said.
One of the options is AHFC's refinance renovation loan, which incorporates renovation costs into a new loan, according to the AHFC website. The corporation has also increased the loan amount to help homeowners with earthquake damaged homes to $200,000 plus 10% in contingency funding for a total of $220,000. A dozen Alaska-based lenders are partners for the program.
Condominium owners and homeowner associations may also be able to access a loan. AHFC loans may be approved with support of at least 75% of the unit owners and include a payback timeline of up to 15 years.
Unlike state or federal aid, there is no deadline for Alaskans to apply for loans.
The more lenient timeline means homeowners have a chance to address problems uncovered in the spring thaw.
"Some of the earthquake damage is now just showing up, too. So, we're probably going to have a lot more renovations that are going to deal with earthquake damage," Graves said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended its deadline to apply for federal assistance to May 31, two months after the original April 1 deadline.
South Anchorage resident Patti Bogan expects repairs to her home to cost close to $150,000. So far, she's received $12,000 from FEMA and said $900 of it went to sewer repairs. She is still waiting for money from the Small Business Administration, which offers loans to homeowners and renters during disasters.
"What are we supposed to do, drain every savings account, 401K? We can't do that, because, we have nothing to live on," said Bogan.
The AHFC may be able to help her and other Alaskans still recovering from the earthquake.
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