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Get a Construction Loan
A construction loan is a type of loan that is specifically designed to fund the construction of a new building or home. Unlike a traditional mortgage loan that provides funding to purchase an already-built property, a construction loan provides financing for the construction process itself.
What is a Construction Loan?
A construction loan, as the name implies, is a type of loan used to finance the construction of a new home or significant renovations to an existing property. Unlike a traditional mortgage that provides a lump sum to purchase a house, a construction loan works a bit differently, offering a more flexible and tailored funding solution for building projects.
In a typical scenario, the lender provides funds in installments, referred to as “draws”, to the builder or contractor as construction progresses. For example, you might receive the first draw to clear and prepare the land, another when the foundation is poured, another when framing is completed, and so on until the project is finished. This system provides assurance to the lender that their funds are being used for the intended purpose, and it helps the borrower manage costs and cash flow during construction.
One noteworthy aspect of construction loans is that they are generally short-term loans, typically lasting around a year, or until construction is completed. During this period, borrowers often only pay interest on the money that has been drawn out, rather than the full loan amount. This interest-only payment can help manage costs during construction when borrowers may also be paying rent or a mortgage on another property.
Once construction is complete, the loan usually needs to be paid off or converted into a traditional mortgage. This process is sometimes called “end loan” financing. Some lenders offer construction-to-permanent loans, which automatically convert into a traditional mortgage once the home is complete, saving the borrower from having to close on two separate loans.
While construction loans provide flexibility for custom home builds or major renovations, they can also come with higher interest rates and fees due to the increased risk lenders assume given that the collateral for the loan, the house, isn’t fully constructed yet. It’s also important to have a well-planned construction schedule and budget, as cost overruns or delays can lead to challenges with construction loans.
As with any financial decision, it’s crucial to consider your financial situation and seek professional advice before choosing a construction loan. Understanding the terms and conditions of your loan agreement will help ensure that you’re making a choice that aligns with your financial goals and homeownership dreams.
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A construction loan is a short-term loan designed to finance the construction of a new building or home. Here’s how it typically works:
Application: The borrower applies for the construction loan with a lender and provides detailed information about the project, including the estimated costs, timeline, and construction plans.
Approval: The lender reviews the application and approves the loan if the borrower meets all the requirements. The lender may also conduct an appraisal of the property to determine its value.
Disbursement: Once the loan is approved, the lender disburses the funds to the borrower in stages as construction progresses. This is known as a “draw” and is typically based on the percentage of completion of the project. The borrower can only draw funds for work that has already been completed and approved by the lender.
Interest Payments: During the construction phase, the borrower typically only makes interest payments on the loan, based on the amount drawn. The interest rate is typically higher than a traditional mortgage.
Completion: Once the construction is completed, the borrower will need to refinance the loan into a traditional mortgage or pay off the remaining balance in full.
Construction loans can be complicated, and the requirements and terms may vary depending on the lender and the project. It’s important to work with an experienced lender who can guide you through the process and ensure that your project is properly funded.
The eligibility requirements for a construction loan can vary depending on the lender and the specific loan program. However, here are some general eligibility requirements that borrowers may need to meet:
Good credit: Most lenders will require a minimum credit score, typically around 620 or higher. Borrowers with better credit scores may be able to qualify for more favorable loan terms.
Income and assets: Lenders will want to see that the borrower has sufficient income and assets to make the loan payments and cover other expenses.
Down payment: Construction loans typically require a down payment of at least 20% of the total cost of the project. Some lenders may require a higher down payment, depending on the borrower’s credit and financial situation.
Construction plans: The borrower will need to provide detailed plans and cost estimates for the construction project, including a timeline for completion.
Experience: Some lenders may require the borrower to have experience in construction or real estate development.
Collateral: The property being built will serve as collateral for the loan, so lenders will want to ensure that the property has sufficient value to cover the loan amount.
These are just some of the eligibility requirements that borrowers may need to meet to qualify for a construction loan. It’s important to work with a lender who can guide you through the requirements and help you find a loan program that meets your needs.
The down payment required for a construction loan can vary depending on the lender and the specific loan program. However, most construction loans typically require a down payment of at least 20% of the total cost of the project.
For example, if the total cost of the project is $200,000, the borrower would need to provide a down payment of at least $40,000 (20% of $200,000) to qualify for the construction loan.
Some lenders may require a higher down payment, particularly for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit or for projects with a higher risk of default. It’s important to work with a lender who can guide you through the requirements and help you find a loan program that meets your needs.
The interest rate for a construction loan is typically higher than the interest rate for a traditional mortgage, and it can vary depending on several factors, including:
The lender: Different lenders may offer different interest rates for construction loans, so it’s important to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders.
The borrower’s credit score: Borrowers with higher credit scores may qualify for lower interest rates, while borrowers with lower credit scores may be offered higher rates.
The loan amount and term: The interest rate for a construction loan may vary depending on the amount of the loan and the length of the loan term.
The down payment: The interest rate may be lower if the borrower provides a larger down payment.
Market conditions: The interest rate for a construction loan may be affected by overall market conditions, such as the economy, inflation, and the supply and demand for construction loans.
Type of loan: There are different types of construction loans, including fixed-rate and variable-rate loans, and the interest rate may vary depending on the type of loan.
It’s important for borrowers to understand how the interest rate is determined for their specific construction loan and to work with a lender who can provide a clear explanation of all the costs associated with the loan.
In some cases, it may be possible to use a construction loan for major renovations to an existing home. However, this can depend on the specific loan program and lender.
Some construction loan programs may be specifically designed for new construction projects and may not allow for major renovations to an existing home. Other programs may allow for renovations, but may have stricter requirements, such as requiring the renovation to add significant value to the property.
Additionally, lenders may require a detailed renovation plan and cost estimates, just like they would for a new construction project. The borrower may also need to provide documentation to show that the renovated property will meet local building codes and other requirements.
It’s important to work with a lender who has experience with renovation loans and who can help determine the best financing options for your specific project. Depending on the scope of the renovations, a traditional home equity loan or line of credit may be a more appropriate financing option.
If the construction takes longer than expected, it can affect the borrower’s finances and the terms of the loan. Here are some possible scenarios:
Loan term extension: Some one-time close construction loans may have a specific loan term or timeline for the construction project. If the construction takes longer than expected, the borrower may need to request a loan term extension from the lender to avoid defaulting on the loan.
Additional costs: The longer the construction takes, the more money the borrower may need to spend on additional costs, such as interest payments, insurance, utilities, and other expenses. This can increase the overall cost of the project and potentially affect the borrower’s finances.
Changes in interest rate: If the construction takes longer than expected, it may affect the interest rate and terms of the loan. For example, if the loan has an adjustable rate, the interest rate may change based on market conditions or other factors during the construction period.
Potential penalties: Some one-time close construction loans may include penalties or fees for delays or other issues related to the construction project. It’s essential to review the loan terms carefully and understand any potential penalties or fees that may apply.
It’s best to work closely with the lender and construction team to ensure the project stays on schedule and within budget. If there are any delays or issues, it’s important to communicate with the lender and explore options for resolving the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If there are cost overruns during construction, it can affect the borrower’s finances and the terms of the loan. Here are some possible scenarios:
Additional funds: If there are cost overruns during construction, the borrower may need to provide additional funds to cover the extra costs. The borrower may need to use their own funds or secure additional financing to cover the cost overruns.
Re-evaluation of the loan amount: If the cost overruns are significant, the lender may need to re-evaluate the loan amount and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. The lender may require the borrower to provide additional collateral or increase the down payment to maintain an appropriate LTV ratio.
Loan modification: In some cases, the lender may offer a loan modification to help the borrower manage the cost overruns. This may involve extending the loan term, increasing the loan amount, or changing the interest rate or other loan terms.
Delays or default: If the borrower is unable to cover the cost overruns or secure additional financing, it may result in delays or default on the loan. This can affect the borrower’s credit score and ability to secure future financing.
It’s important to work closely with the lender and construction team to manage the construction costs and avoid cost overruns. It’s essential to review the loan terms carefully and understand the process for addressing any potential cost overruns that may arise during the construction project.
The approval process for a construction loan can vary depending on the lender and the specific loan program. Generally, the process can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months.
The approval process typically involves a detailed review of the borrower’s financial and credit history, as well as the construction plans and cost estimates for the project. The lender may also conduct an appraisal of the property to determine its value.
The length of the approval process can depend on several factors, including the complexity of the project, the borrower’s creditworthiness, and the lender’s underwriting process. In some cases, delays may occur if additional documentation or information is needed from the borrower or other parties involved in the project.
It’s important for borrowers to work with a lender who can provide a clear timeline for the approval process and who can help ensure that all necessary documentation and information is provided in a timely manner.
Yes, in most cases, borrowers can choose their own builder or contractor for the construction project with a one-time close construction loan. However, the lender may have specific requirements and qualifications for the builder or contractor.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a builder or contractor:
Qualifications: The builder or contractor should have the appropriate licenses, insurance, and experience to complete the construction project successfully.
Reputation: It’s important to research the builder or contractor’s reputation and check references to ensure they have a history of completing high-quality projects on time and within budget.
Communication: The builder or contractor should be responsive and communicate clearly throughout the construction process, including providing regular updates on the project’s progress and any issues that may arise.
Cost: The builder or contractor’s pricing should be competitive and within the borrower’s budget. It’s important to get detailed cost estimates and compare them to other builders or contractors to ensure the pricing is fair.
Contract: The borrower should have a detailed contract with the builder or contractor that outlines the scope of work, timeline, payment schedule, and other terms and conditions.
It’s essential to work closely with the lender and builder or contractor to ensure the construction project meets all the lender’s requirements and is completed successfully. The borrower should also stay involved in the project and communicate regularly with the builder or contractor to address any issues that may arise.
The specific documents required for a construction loan application can vary depending on the lender and the loan program. However, here are some of the common documents that borrowers may need to provide:
Construction plans and cost estimates: The borrower will need to provide detailed plans and cost estimates for the construction project, including a timeline for completion.
Credit and financial information: The borrower will typically need to provide information about their credit history, income, assets, and debts. This may include tax returns, bank statements, and other financial documents.
Property information: The borrower will need to provide information about the property, including its location, size, and any existing structures.
Contractor information: The borrower will need to provide information about the contractor or builder who will be working on the project, including their license, insurance, and qualifications.
Appraisal: The lender may require an appraisal of the property to determine its value and ensure that it is sufficient collateral for the loan.
Title insurance: The borrower may need to purchase title insurance to protect against any issues with the property title.
Other documentation: Depending on the lender and the loan program, other documentation may be required, such as permits, licenses, or environmental assessments.
It’s important for borrowers to work closely with their lenders to ensure that they provide all the necessary documentation in a timely manner and to ask any questions they may have about the loan application process.