Building a new home offers many advantages over purchasing an existing home on the market. You are able to customize the home to your specific needs and preferences and avoid costly repairs of outdated features. New homes are often also more energy efficient and technologically equipped.
Different from Traditional mortgages.
Securing financing for a construction loan does differ from obtaining a traditional mortgage, however. Since the home is not yet built, there is more risk for the lender because the home being purchased is used as collateral for the loan. In other words, there is no present collateral to back the loan before it is approved. Much like applying for a traditional mortgage, you will be required to submit documentation pertaining to your income, assets, and credit history to determine if you meet requirements set by the lender to qualify for the construction loan. You and your builder will also provide detailed documentation on the building plans and construction timeline to the lender to evaluate the ability for the project to be completed on time and within budget.
Because of the increased risk that comes with building a house, you can typically expect to need a credit score of 700+ with a sizeable down payment of at least 10-20%. The specific requirements will vary based on your lender and the type of construction loan you choose.
One-Time-Close, or “Construction-to-Permanent” loans
A one-time-close construction loan, also commonly known as a construction-to-permanent loan, is a popular choice among borrowers, because it allows you to avoid the extra expense of two closings when building your new home. Because construction and permanent financing are combined into one loan, you will save on costs associated with title and appraisal fees that would occur if there were two separate closings.
With a one-time close program, the borrower will take out all of the financing to build the home, and the loan is closed before starting construction. Permanent house payments will not typically begin until the construction is completed. The loan is funded as the house is being built through construction draws to the builder. In order to receive these draws, the lender will conduct regular check-ins and inspections of the property to ensure the project is being completed according to the plans and timeline. Generally, you are making interest-only payments as the builder draws funds to build the home. Once construction is completed, the loan will be converted into a permanent note, and your permanent monthly house payment will begin.
Construction loans are a great option for aspiring home owners who want to build their custom dream home from the ground up. While the process differs from obtaining a mortgage on an existing home, your lender can walk you through the process and advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing a building project.