New Home Construction: Loans and Financing

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When shopping for a new home, visions of gorgeous kitchens, sumptuous master baths and closet space galore may dance in your head, but you can’t forget the important step of financing. As you shop for your dream home, key questions to ask yourself very early in your search include:

  • Are my credit reports up-to-date and accurate?
  • What information will I need to gather to apply to finance my new home?
  • What can I afford in the way of a mortgage?
  • What are my loan options?
  • Where do I learn more about, and ultimately shop for, a mortgage?

New Home Construction: Loans and Financing

many respects, financing a new home is much like getting a mortgage to purchase a resale home — but there’s an important difference. In addition to shopping around for rates and terms from banks, mortgage companies, brokers, and online lenders, builders of newly-built homes may offer attractive financing packages, either directly through their own mortgage subsidiary or via an affiliate.

In addition to builder financing, there are some unique tools that apply to new homes (but not to resale homes) that include bridge loans and new-construction financing. These can be use to fund the purchase and construction of a new home before the sale of your current home.

We’ll look at each topic in detail, but first, there are important steps you’ll need to take to ensure you have all the require information, documentation and forms.

Getting Ready

Someone once said success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Whatever lender or type of financing you ultimately select, it’s vital that you start preparing well in advance of application. Here are some key steps to make the process simple and efficient:

Obtain Your Credit Information

Well in advance of home shopping, you need to order your national credit files — ideally from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian,Trans Union). Make sure there are no inaccuracies or outdate information. You can get your files free once a year at Annual Credit Report.

Correct anything you find in error upfront; otherwise, you’ll delay the entire financing process. Also order your FICO credit scores from one or more of the bureaus. They’ll play a key role in determining what sort of terms your lender will offer.

Any lender will need to see documentation of your income, employment, two years of IRS filings if you are self-employe, bank accounts, 401(K) funds and other assets. Finance It’s smart to compile this before you even begin shopping for financing options. It’s also useful to have at least a rough idea of your current household expenses; they will affect the amount of mortgage you can obtain and the maximum price of the house you can finance.

Determine How Much You Can Afford

You can get a good idea about this well in advance of shopping by checking calculators that most lenders and builders provide on their websites. Simple rules of thumb (such as, you can afford a home two to two-and-a-half times your gross annual income) were cite in the past.

However, today’s rules are much more complex. Most lenders take your basic information and enter it into automate underwriting models that blend credit scores, debt-to-income ratios and other factors to make decisions about loan sizes, rates and fees.

The bottom line is: Get accustome to experimenting with different rates, down payment amounts, and loan terms (30-year, 15-year, fixe-rate, adjustable-rate) to see how your maximum mortgage amount varies and how that affects the top price you can afford for a new house.

The Many Shades of Loans

Mortgage loans come in different shapes and sizes. Think of them in terms of their problem-solving characteristics:

FHA Loans

If you’ve got only minimal cash to make a down payment and your credit history has a few blemishes, a federal government-backe loan is most likely your best choice. FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans allow down payments as low as 3.5 percent along with generous credit underwriting.

VA Loans

VA loans require no down payment, but you must be a veteran to qualify. USDA rural loans also allow zero down, but they’re limited to areas with relatively small populations and may have income restrictions. The caveats are the FHA has been increasing its insurance fees recently, which increases your monthly payments. The VA has increase its guarantee fee, as well.

Conventional Loans

If you have more than 10 percent or 20 percent to put down, these may be your best bet. Conventional loans are designe to be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-chartere mega-investors). The downside is conventional underwriting rules are more strict and banks may impose add-on fees to loans, increasing your cost. Down payments below 10 percent may be possible but they require high private mortgage insurance premiums.

New Home Construction Loans

A construction loan is useful if you are building a home yourself as a general contractor or working with a custom builder; these are often paire with lot financing loans. Most new home construction loans provide short-term funds designe to get you through the building stage of your project (six to 12 months) followe by a conversion into a permanent long-term loan of 30 or 15 years; this is calle a single-closing loan.

A two-closing loan, on the other hand, refers to buyers taking out a construction financing loan, closing it when the house is built, and then applying for a new loan for their permanent financing. While this is more expensive due to the requirement of two loan approvals and two closing costs, this option is helpful if construction costs go beyond budget.

New-home construction loans are a specialize niche in the lending industry and nowhere near as widely available as standard mortgages. Your best bet is to shop among community banks that know the local or regional marketplace, especially savings banks and thrift institutions, though some brokers advertise online and are worth checking out.


You can expect an installment schedule of drawdowns of funds in any loan contract. Though always negotiable, a typical schedule might provide for an initial draw of 15 percent of the full loan amount for the site preparation and foundation stage; a second draw of another 15 percent to 20 percent for the framing, and additional draws over the remaining months for the work on plumbing, electrical system, interior carpentry, installation of appliances, etc. Before each draw is paid out, the bank will send an inspector to the site to report on the progress of the work and to determine whether it meets local building codes and regulations.

Construction Loan Down Payments

Most banks who offer construction financing want to see substantial down payments upfront — typically at least 20 percent to 25 percent. However, some lenders have specialize programs that link FHA-insure permanent loans with short-term construction loans. So say you plan to build a house that is expecte to be value at $400,000 at completion on a piece of land you already own.

A local commercial bank might offer you a nine-month, $300,000 loan to construct the house — figuring $100,000 as the land value — and ask for an $80,000 (20 percent) down payment base on the projecte appraisal at completion. At the end of the construction period, you’d end up with a $300,000 permanent loan.

Interest Rates

Generally, the short-term, construction-period segment of the financing package will carry a “prime-plus” interest rate. If the prime short-term bank lending rate is 3 percent, the construction period loan might be set at 4.25 percent to 4.5 percent.

The permanent 30-year or 15-year portion of the package generally will be. Near the going rate for regular mortgages — say 4.25 percent to 4.5 percent on a fixe 30-year loan. Rates can be significantly lower for adjustable rate options such as a popular. “5/1” ARM where the rate is fixe for the first five years. Of the loan but can vary each year thereafter. Typically within a pre-specifie range.

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Bridge Financing

So-calle “bridge” loans can also be important tools for you. These short-term (six to nine months) financings are designe to get you past a timing squeeze. Such as when you’re buying a new home but haven’t yet sold your. Current house and don’t have all the cash you need.

The lender, who may be a local bank or a subsidiary of your builder. Agrees to advance you money using the equity you’ve got in your current home as collateral. Thus the article about New Home Construction: Loans and Financing. Hopefully it will be useful for you and that’s all thanks.

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