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The high cost of land in most metropolitan areas is making the nofrills starter home go the way of the six-ounce Coke. More and more, affordable housing in metro areas will mean "fixer-uppers," in many cases subsidized by a governmental agency. A number of subsidized rehab programs use private-sector contractors to do repair work for the owner/occupants of rundown houses. The owners qualify for grants or low-interest loans because of their low-income status. My personal experience with these programs comes from consulting with cities, writing their guidelines and specifications, and conducting seminars on the topic. I found that most contractors who got involved with public-sector rehab were in for a number of surprises. Several factors set these grant and loan programs apart