Reflections of a post-2016, 203(k) Loan Consultant

Early this year, I was approved by HUD to work as an independent FHA 203(k) Loan Consultant. As such, this blog’s 203k reflections won’t include historic 203k information other than any I encounter when working with more-seasoned lenders and contractors. As far as I’m concerned, I can use that to my advantage. My clients have little interest in hearing about the good ol’ days. Lenders and contractors don’t have time for it.


So Much to Learn

So, what does it mean to be a “post-2016, 203k Consultant?” Mostly, it means that I don’t have to read through the old myriad of HUD handbooks, mortgagee letters, and housing notices to understand my role and obligations as a 203k Consultant. Nevertheless, it has been a steep learning curve to get myself started. The newly revised FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook takes quite a while to read and digest its information. Also, a lot of the information needed by consultants can only found in related publications.

That being said, HUD publications only describe what a 203k Consultant does. They provide no guidance on how it should be done. Independent consultants are free to determine their own preferred approach in providing their services. This is a good thing. Some approaches are more successful than others in actual practice. Less-qualified consultants are gradually thinned-out through a natural selection process. So, how have I determined my own approach as a consultant?


203(k) Loan Consultant Seminars

Well, I didn’t choose to attend one of those in-a-nutshell seminars. You probably know the type – those that claim to teach students how they, too, can become a successful 203k Consultant. As a certified home inspector, I already know how to inspect homes. Also, having produced repair specifications and cost estimates for well over 15 years, I already possess those skills. Other consultants from backgrounds like mine have confirmed my expectations. Such seminars usually re-package HUD’s own information, and then introduce the inspection and estimation process to their students. No thank you.

Let’s just say that I’m not that kind of guy. I verify my information sources first-hand before stating anything as a fact. I take a hands-on approach, and need to see original source documents before passing information to my clients. Word-of-mouth could be someone’s sales pitch as often as it might be the truth. I needed to be able to tell the difference before extending my personal services as a professional consultant.


Good Examples

What I really needed were specific, best-practice examples and some guidance to help keep me on my path toward success. Fortunately, a few seasoned, 203k Consultants understand the need to develop and promote other consultants for the health our community. Some of my fellow consultants have been very generous and encouraging in offering advice and feedback as needed. As another 203k Consultant recently told me, I have several things in my favor as a newer consultant: I don’t have any bad habits, and I sincerely want to do a good job.

So, as I go forth…supposedly lacking bad habits, but sincerely wanting to provide my clients with the best 203k Consultant services available, I intend to document my progress here in this blog. Hopefully, it will inspire other consultants to pursue excellence as they serve their communities. I welcome your feedback as I continue my own journey.