Frisco to launch home improvement loan program aimed at keeping long-term residents in their homes |

Frisco to launch home improvement loan program aimed at keeping long-term residents in their homes

The home improvement loan program aims to help town residents who have built up significant equity in their home over the years but lack the cash for emergency repairs

Blue, slightly hazy skies are pictured over Frisco on Monday, July 19, 2022.
Taylor Sienkiewicz/Summit Daily News archive

In an effort to maintain Frisco’s year-round population, the town is establishing a new program that would offer low-interest home improvement loans without monthly payments to permanent residents.

The Frisco Town Council unanimously approved a resolution to establish the home improvement loan program during its meeting Tuesday, April 11. 

The loans can only be used for home repairs or for energy efficiency upgrades, but not for improvements such as kitchen remodeling, deck or patio installation or driveway resurfacing, according to a staff memo that lays out the details of the program.

“This is an opportunity that really could help some people — some of our local residents — stay in their homes,” Community Development Director Don Reimer said at the meeting.

Proposed by council member Andy Aerenson, the program aims to help the town reach its goal of increasing the proportion of full-time residents in town to 50%, the staff memo states. Only full-time residents who live at the property they own in Frisco can apply for the loans, which are for up to $50,000.

In an interview, Aerenson said that the program will benefit residents who have been living in their homes a long time and have built up a lot of equity but don’t have a monthly income to afford a loan and make repayments. The applicant must show they cannot qualify or afford a conventional loan, the staff memo states.

Rather than be repaid in monthly installments, the applicant must prove they have adequate equity in their home and would repay the loan from equity upon a refinance of the mortgage or upon the sale of the home, according to the staff memo. 

The loan would have an interest rate of 3%. If the property ceases to be the full-time residence of the property owner, the default rate of prime +3%, would apply and the loan would have to be repaid within a year, the staff memo states.

Aerenson said that when the council discussed the program, most council members appeared to know at least one long-term resident who had been forced to sell their home due to required repairs they couldn’t afford.

For those with significant equity in their home, this program could help, Aerenson said, since the homeowner could use that equity to obtain a loan through the town, rather than having to make monthly repayments out of pocket.

For example, if someone purchased a house 20 years ago for about $100,000 and the property is now worth $1 million, the homeowner is sitting on $900,000 in equity, Aerenson said. But that equity doesn’t help them afford a $40,000 roof repair.

“That’s who we’re trying to help here,” he said.

At the April 11 meeting, Mayor Hunter Mortensen said that he knows multiple people who have been impacted by the cost of repairs when a homeowners association or condominium association assesses the cost of repairs to its members.

“The age of the vast majority of our (condo) complexes in Frisco are old and tired and have probably not seen the upkeep,” Mortensen said. “And with the cost of real estate now, the people who are buying those units, they have the money to do those things. So then it’s adversely affecting the folks who are part of this community.”

“So I think this is an opportunity to keep people in their condos, in their homes, that might have been at risk otherwise,” he said.

The program would be open to both market-rate and deed-restricted properties, including condominium properties, according to the staff memo. Reimer said at the meeting that the loan would be recorded with the Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, and a questionnaire, similar to those for deed-restricted properties, would be sent to the properties annually to ensure the owner still lives there.

The town does not yet have an anticipated start date for the program, Communications Director Vanessa Agee said in an email, as the program and application still need to be developed. But the town will market the program when it is available, including through blog posts, emails, ads, a media release and on social media, she said.

Council member Andrew Held noted that the home improvement loan program is just one part of the council’s larger efforts to address housing affordability and maintain a year-round population.

“It’s another small piece in the greater housing topic that we’ve been working on, workforce housing and keeping people here,” Held said. “I hope that people take advantage of it.”

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