10 Crucial Questions To Ask Mortgage Lenders – Money Matters

Getting a Loan to Build a home

Build Custom Home / November 12, 2023

Get a construction loan if you want to build a house to your specifications.Get a construction loan if you want to build a house to your specifications.

The best way to get everything you want in a house is to have it built to your specifications. Financing the entire project involves several steps and requires an outlay of funds before you can even approach a lender for a construction loan. The more prepared you are with your loan request, the more likely the lender will be to consider loaning you the money.

Find a piece of land if you don’t already own one. Be sure it’s “buildable, ” meaning the city, county and state allow you to build on the land. Determine if it’s financially within your means to build on it without incurring extraordinary costs, such as grading heavily sloped land. Research the zoning, the size of house the property can accommodate, whether utilities are installed and the cost of putting them in if they aren’t. Get a copy of the local building permit process for an understanding of what’s required of you and your builder. Contact the local tax office to discover if there are liens against the land. Offer to purchase the land and include contingencies that the site is buildable per your requirements.

Commission an architect to draw plans for your house, taking into consideration the size and shape of your land and the features you want both inside and out. Purchase stock architectural plans and have the architect convert them to your specifications and the shape of the land to save money. Ask if a survey is included in the architect’s price, and if other analyses of the land are required. Include the plans and costs in your request for a loan package.

Show your plans to several builders. Get a preliminary budget estimate of labor and material costs and be sure all systems and utility costs are included. Inform the builders that you’ll be getting a construction loan. Have a construction schedule outlined and include it in your package.

Meet with local lenders that know your area and specialize in construction loans, known in the industry as "story loans." Engage the lender with your story and the facts about your building plans to get him as enthusiastic about your construction project as you are. Show the lender that you have done your homework and are ready to begin building.

Accept the best loan and terms offered, knowing that during the construction period you’ll pay interest-only on the outstanding balance. Work out a disbursement plan between the lender, the builder and yourself, with the lender paying the builder directly. Work closely with the builder to be sure construction is completed within the given period of time stated in the loan terms. Plan with your loan officer for the loan to be converted to a conventional mortgage when you receive the certificate of occupancy from the local governing body. Be prepared with at least 30 percent of the loan amount as a down payment or, if you own the land, to use it as your equity.

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