winter home renovation

Ohio winters can be brutal; from snow and ice to bone-chilling temperatures – and let’s not forget about the round-the-clock darkness. December through March (or even April and May) can feel like a one-way ticket to Siberia.

When it comes to the lake effect snow machine in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, no Ohioan is immune from the harsh conditions brought forth by Mother Nature. For us humans, we have shelter to escape winter’s fury; unfortunately, our homes don’t have that same luxury.

Houses all across the Buckeye State, regardless of structure or building material, are vulnerable to these winter conditions, wreaking havoc and potentially causing serious damage that comes with a hefty price tag. Couple that with the fact that nearly 90% of the homes in northeast Ohio were built prior to 1990 (which was 30 years ago, by the way) and you have many homes that are going to need a little TLC.

Ohioans are all too familiar with this and the hesitations that come with it.

Which parts of the home are most vulnerable to winter damage?


The part of the home most exposed and susceptible to winter weather is the roof. It’s great for keeping you toasty inside during the colder months, but as we learned in science class, warm air rises and once it clashes with cold air outside, condensation forms. For a homeowner, this scientific fact may take the shape of ice dams, causing roof leaks, loose shingles and atrocious damage inside, including mold mildew and wood rot.

Vinyl Siding

In Ohio, we’re accustomed to extreme weather variations. It can be 20 degrees and snowing one day, and then 75 and sunny the next. Temperature fluctuations are terrible for our sinuses and particular harsh on a home’s siding. Under freezing conditions, siding is vulnerable to cracking. When temperatures fluctuate, siding expands and contracts, and those cracks become entryways for water and consequential damage.


Built to withstand the elements, a home’s deck still isn’t immune to winter damage. It’s a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and surfactant leaching – water-soluble paint ingredients – can cause discoloration if planters and anything obstructing are not cleared from the deck before the first flakes start to fall.

If a home has winter damage, what can buyers do about costs?

So at this point, you’re probably wondering why we’re bringing all of this up.

A) We all live in the state of Ohio and B) These are issues that can and do come up during the home-buying process. A buyer may find a home they really like but then get “cold feet” because they are concerned about having to spend the additional money on a new roof.

Let’s be honest, no one wants to fund major home repairs solely on a credit card – especially a homebuyer that is likely already going to be shelling out a nest egg on a down payment. So then, what can be done about a home you’re interested in that needs some repair?

An FHA 203k loan – insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – allows a prospective homebuyer to borrow cash for both the home purchase as well as any improvement/renovation projects done after they close on the home. They achieve all of this using just one loan. Essentially, buyers can finance renovation costs into their mortgage to make repairs, improvements or upgrades to their home.

Home Renovation Loan Benefits for Buyers

  • Great for buying a fixer-upper
  • Down payment as low as 3.5%
  • Buyer can earn instant equity in the home

If you are a homebuyer looking to purchase a home that’s got some wear and tear thanks to Mother Nature, the FHA 203k may be a good option. Click here to learn more about how the renovation lending works.

*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms. Not intended as legal, financial, or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

“203(K) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance.” Department of Housing and Urban Development. Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.