Creative Home Buying Options Abound!

Learn which ones may be right for you

by Bob Melone, radius loan officer

Over the last few years, you’ve likely heard that mortgage lending guidelines have undergone some tightening. It may even seem like getting approved for a mortgage without flawless credit and less than 20% down is next to impossible, and that “creative financing” options went out of style in 2005 along with Jessica and Nick.


Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. In the next few installments of our radius blog, I’ll be discussing the many creative mortgage options available, which allow for fixed rates, low down payments and flexible credit scores.  

Today, I’d like to focus on the granddaddy of creative financing options: the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) rehabilitation program. The FHA 203(k) rehab program allows buyers to finance almost any improvements they’d like when purchasing a home with as little as 3.5% down (based on the home’s purchase price and rehab amount). Meanwhile, renovation work can start right after the closing.

Before addressing specifics of the program, though, consider this scenario. If you’re currently in the market to purchase a new home or you’ve bought one before, you likely know it well:

You see a hot, new listing for a home that’s just hit the market. Looking at the pictures and description online, everything looks flawless: the size and style of the home, the bedroom count, the neighborhood… it’s all perfect! You’re sure it’s an ideal fit for you and your family. You promptly set up an appointment, the agent opens the front door and… UGH!! The linoleum in the kitchen is peeling and the lime green cabinets are straight out of a Brady Bunch episode. They’re so outdated even Alice wouldn’t want to use them!


You’re heartbroken. But once reality sets in, you know the house could, in fact, be perfect. That is, with a new kitchen, updates to the bathrooms, a roof that could use some repair, the removal of an old shag carpet that needs to be pulled up so the hardwood floors underneath can be refinished, and the possible addition of a deck off the back.

All those renovations and more are possible through FHA’s 203(k) rehab program, which allows for the following (and much more):

  • Additions for increasing living area or a garage
  • Finishing basements
  • Satisfying Title 5 requirements
  • Making any structural repairs
  • Remediating health issues (i.e., mold)
  • Updating kitchens and baths
  • Completely replacing utilities (electrical, plumbing, etc.)

Single-family homes, condominiums and 2-4 unit homes are all eligible under the FHA 203(k) rehab program. You can even use it to renovate your current home! Meanwhile, our 203(k) program allows for flexible credit qualifying and credit scores as low as 640.

Maximum loan amounts, which are also quite generous, vary from county to county and the type of property you plan to buy. For example, the maximum loan amount for a single-family home in Norfolk County is $523,750, while the maximum loan limit for a four-family home in Norfolk County is over $1,000,000! To find the complete list of maximum FHA loan limits, follow this link.

Simply put, the FHA 203(k) program is a great way to turn today’s reality into tomorrow’s dream. So if you’re planning to buy a home that needs some work, or plan to do renovations on your current home, please feel free to call me with questions. I’m more than happy to answer them and would love to help.

Have a great day!


Andria Dolce Raves

Stephanie Avelino worked with our very own Andria Dolce, and had a lot to say about her. This is what she said:

Dear radius financial:

I have three words for you:  Andria, Andria, Andria.  Dolce that is.

You know:  Andria Dolce  
Loan Officer NMLS# 949919
 @ radius financial group inc.

This is Stephanie Avelino and I recently had the good fortune and pleasure to work with Andria as we were refinancing a 2 family investment property in Roslindale, MA.  Andria was great to work with and I would recommend her and radius financial in a heartbeat.  Feel free to contact me anytime for further information.

Here are some highlights to my experience:


Andria is organized, knowledgeable and follows through when she says she will.  She was often able to answer my questions right on the spot and if she couldn’t, she promptly got back to me with the information I needed.

This was extremely helpful because I am only a moderately organized person myself and I live a life that is a bit too hectic between 2 kids ages 5 and 13 (yeah that’s pretty interesting) working part time, managing our own household and taking care of the investment property.  Many days I am lucky if I get my pants on before I leave the house.   With Andria’s help and support I was able to collect and submit all necessary paperwork and forms needed to complete the refinancing.  Andria helped keep me on track throughout the process – just what I needed.


Andria is determined and resourceful.  We had a 30 year fixed rate loan on our property but we also had a special deleading loan through the city of Boston that had been transferred and required subordination.  This required tracking down the loan info and dealing with Mass Housing Finance Agency.  At first I didn’t even know which bank or agency had acquired the loan after transfer.  This issue added some extra red tape and time to our application process and made the whole thing more complicated.

With Andria’s help and support and resources that she was able to draw upon, we were able to obtain the subordination, even though at first our request was denied and it seemed like this might not be possible.  In addition, even if we had not been able to obtain the subordination, Andria had a back up plan in mind that probably would have allowed us to restructure the loan and still wind up with a favorable rate for refinancing.


Andria is accessible and reassuring.  It was easy to get in touch with her, even on weekends and the time she was sick.  And she offered information and reassurance for all of my questions and confusion about the different steps of the process.


My new loan has now been transferred to Citibank and I now have a monthly payment that is about $570 less than my old monthly payment.  I am one very satisfied customer.

Winning that $250 gift card would make me happy, but even without it I am quite pleased to have worked with radius to help me refinance my property.

In addition, Andria is nice and she has a sense of humor: Two big pluses to the already mentioned attributes.

Hope all goes well for folks at radius.  Things with us are swell.

Take Care:
Stephanie Avelino

Hydrogen Peroxide Power


Whether you’re moving out of your home or into a new one, you’ll likely be putting in some cleaning time. Instead of investing in a host of expensive cleaning agents, consider using hydrogen peroxide. It’s a safe, ultra-cheap gem at a price that can’t be beat: A 16-oz. bottle only costs a buck!

Here are 10 ways you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to make your home shine:

In Your Kitchen

1. Clean your cutting board and countertop. Hydrogen peroxide bubbles away any residue left after preparing meat or fish for dinner. Add hydrogen peroxide to an opaque spray bottle — exposure to light kills its effectiveness — and spray on your surfaces. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean.

2. Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning units that store food and dishes. Just spray the appliance outside and in, let the solution sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.

3. Clean your sponges. Soak them for ten minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow dish. Rinse the sponges thoroughly afterward.

4. Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked-on stains will lift right off.

In Your Bathroom

5. Whiten bathtub grout. If excess moisture has left your tub grout dingy, first dry the tub thoroughly, then spray it liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit — it may bubble slightly — for a little while, then come scrub the grout with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat the process a few times, depending on how much mildew is there, but eventually your grout will be white again.

6. Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

In Your Laundry Room

7. Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to pre-treat stains — just soak the stain for a while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing the garment into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

Anywhere in Your Home

8. Brighten dingy floors. Combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of hot water, then go to town! Because it’s so mild, it’s safe for any floor type, and there’s no need to rinse.

9. Clean kids’ toys and play areas. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Fill an opaque spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis. You can also soak a rag in peroxide to make a wipe.


10. Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants. Use 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide added to one gallon of water for your plants.