Have you bought a bigger home to take in more kids...
We started this journey as straight adoptive. Since then we have short term fostered and found we were stronger than we originally thought and could handle the heartache of letting them go. Now, we are thinking about fostering, supporting reunion, but also with the intent to keep any foster placements that end up adoptable and that are a good fit with our family. We would be interested in fostering up to three kids and with our daughter, the max we would have would be four kids. The only problem is our home is not very big. We have three bedrooms, but only one bath. And one of the bedrooms is a one-kid bedroom (small). We would want to eventually move to a bigger home. A bigger home costs more money though, lol, and I was wondering if we could get a bigger home by using the foster care payments as income to qualify for more mortgage?

What have you all done? Have you bought bigger homes to accommodate more children?
You may get several replies here. However, you may have to discuss agency, state, and other matters including specific requirements, policies, and specifications with your caseworker for a correct process that adheres to your local laws.
Foster care is not considered income, it's reimbursement. If you get a lender who know's the diference then you wouldnt make it through.
You need to be able to get the bigger home and maintane what it cost's on your income alone without dependence on the foster care stipend.
I've not purchased a bigger home to accomodate foster kids. My vote would be no it's not a good idea unless you know you can swing it never having a placement.
Good luck!
Thats wonderful that you want to help more children, but I agree with what Digs said. They more than likely would not count that towards your income. We also want to purchase a bigger home so that we can have more children, but we won't be using the stipend for to qualify for a larger mortgage. I do wish you luck on your journey.
We are in the process of moving to a LOT bigger house now, we are going to up our license to 4 kids, but not take that many. We will still keep it at about 2, but it's nice to know that we to be able to if we would need to.
And, no, a bank wont count foster care stipend as income, unless it's adoptive subsidy and you can prove it wont stop coming in.
No, you can't use the stipend as money to pay for a bigger mortgage.
One, what happens when you don't have a placement? How will you make the mortgage payment?
Two, what happens when you have a placement who, for everyone's best interests, really should be moved? But you don't move them because you need the money to pay your mortgage. That is benefitting nobody.

Is there anyway to do some basic remodeling in your current home to create more room?
I have a very handy DH who built 2 bedrooms on our 3rd floor where it used to be one big open room that we used as a library. So now we have an extra bedroom and a room that we currently use for storage, but at some point, will probably use for a bedroom.

Kids don't need a ton of room in their bedrooms, especially if you have a nice playroom in your house. Beds, clothing, and a couple toys is really all they need. Bunkbeds work well in small bedrooms.
Actually yes, if you have fostered without interruption (no placements) for a year, you can use it as income. Our lender said that it is no problem, and we can also use our adoption subsidy as income.

Now, I wouldn't go over buy yourself into a house you can't afford, because that helps no body, but in our case we wanted to buy a new place before selling our house in VA, and having the adoption subsidy counted helped us out. We decided to rent instead to learn the new area, but we could have borrowed taking the adoption subsidy and/or fostercare payments into consideration.
We definitely aren't interested in being house poor. My sister just went through a foreclosure and we don't ever want to go through that.

jmd: Hmmm, adding another bathroom wouldn't cost nearly as much as buying a larger home. Good idea. We have already remodeled one long bedroom into two smaller rooms to turn our home back into a three bedroom as it originally was.

Mrs.CQ: It's good to know that some lenders will use the income. Thank-you.

I think we will wait to get more serious about a larger home. Right now it's not a huge deal to only have the one bathroom, but as our children get older it will be more important. We have one Biological Parent daughter who is almost seven so she's not a bathroom hog yetSmile
We were ready to buy a bigger house, anyway, about 6 months after we started fostering we put our 2-bedroom "starter" house on the market (we "started" there for 9 years!). So when we started looking, we definitely had it in the back of our minds that there should be room enough not just for our current situation (a shared room for our boys, plus a room for the foster babies), but to expand for future--if our boys each have their own room, is there still room for more kids? We tried to get the most house for our money (doesn't everyone?).

We would not have bought a house just to be foster parents. . .that feels a little bit like "running a foster home" to me, with sort of weird, unpleasant connotations. But that's just me. Buying a house and moving are such a hassle, I can't imagine ever doing it except in the case of "We have definitely outgrown this house--we're tripping over each other and I can't get away from Spongebob on TV no matter where I go in here!" Oh, or winning the lottery; then I'd get one of those Home Makeover type houses and load it up with kiddos! :D

But if you are planning to move anyway, definitely take into consideration how much house you can get for the money in different areas, the restrictions on sleeping arrangements for foster kids of different ages, etc. A finished basement or attic family room can be a huge help, as well as any "bonus rooms" there might be. Or if the house is laid out on its lot in such a way that it will be "easy" (HA!) to someday build an addition or otherwise expand square footage.
We moved into a bigger home during the time we were being licensed (from a 3 br/2 ba to a 6 br/3 1/2 ba). We obviously didn't use the foster stipend as income because we didn't have placements at that time. However, we were told that some lenders consider it. They may consider it the same way that they consider commissions (that the money could be there but not guaranteed).
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