Picture your Dream Home. Does it have a hot tub? A screening room? A subterranean garage for your collection of vintage roadsters? Everyone knows what their dream home looks like. So why do so few people actually build it? The truth is that building the home of your dreams often costs less than buying a house on the market. All it takes is good plans, an experienced contractor, and the right financing. Today, that means a construction loan.
In the past, the federal prime rate was so high that it made construction loans very expensive. People didn’t want to pay large sums to borrow funds, so they would finance their home construction with a line of credit on an existing home or by spending their cash reserves. Problems often would occur if the funds ran out or if the project went over budget.
With lower rates now available, more and more people are turning to construction loans. Not only are they economical, they also provide built-in protection for your project to ensure it is completed on time and on budget.
Even with dropping home values, home construction nearly always costs less than purchasing a home on the market. This includes buying a lot or a “tear down” and building from the ground up, as well as adding improvements to your own home or a property purchased out of foreclosure. Borrowing money for these types of projects is better than draining your own funds because, as all good real estate investors know, using leverage increases the return on your investment and allows you to invest your money elsewhere. With a construction loan, borrowers only need to invest a minimum amount of funds into the project (generally 5-20% of total project cost) and can finance the rest. Simply put, using debt to finance the building makes your home an even greater investment.
They also offer safeguards that help keep your project on time and under budget. First, the bank issuing the loan works hard to ensure you are working with a reputable builder. Most banks require that the construction loan request include a contractor package that needs to be approved. If your builder has bad credit problems, past lawsuits or has received complaints to the licensing board, the bank will generally catch this information and reject your builder. Second, the bank issuing your loan watches the construction process from start to finish. Unlike loans that are issued as a lump sum, with a construction loan the bank requires that your approved contractor submit for draws to get reimbursed as each phase of work is completed. The bank even schedules site visits to ensure that the work is done in a satisfactory manner and on time. The bank is offering to do due diligence on your builder and project.
Upon completion of the construction phase, some loans seamlessly rolls to permanent mortgage which is why they are known as a “one time close”. What will you have achieved by building your own home? Even more than the satisfaction of living in your dream home, the result and impact on your balance sheet can be dramatic. Upon completion, you will own a home valued at the full market price of a new home for the cost of the land purchase and construction, often as much as 25-30% less than the retail market value.