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Top 10 Construction Loans In 2019

Last Updated: 06. August 2019
Top 10 Construction Loans In 2019
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The idea of building a home, sinking a swimming pool or pursuing significant structural adjustments to your property is all exciting, until you factor in the costs. Most people cannot afford the capital requirement for building a new home or major structural improvements.

Enter a special type of funding known as a construction loan. This refers to a short term loan advanced to individuals seeking to custom-build their homes or carry out other capital intensive property improvements.  It differs from the conventional mortgage in the sense that it is short term, attracts higher interest rates as most lenders consider it risky and the amounts advanced can be used to fund not just the home but virtually every other property adjustments.

Note: There are only two instances when a credit union or local bank will advance you a construction loan: if you are a certified real estate developer or if you prove to involve a qualified builder. You must also furnish the lender with your construction Blue Book and have the minimum down payment.

How does it work?

Construction loans are short-term, with their repayment periods extending to no more than 12 months. In most cases, this loan is offered to cover the cost of building your home or real estate project. Some lenders will fund you directly to pay the contractor in charge of the construction project and have the funds disbursed in bits throughout the different stages of the project.

To qualify for a construction loan, you must either have the backing of a qualified builder or be qualified developer yourself. You can also apply for an owner-builder construction loan, which is ideal if you are the one building your home. However, you will need to provide a “blue book,” which is a comprehensively researched construction list with all the costs, requirements, and projections.

Understand that the loan has to be repaid within the stipulated time. Most lenders have nonetheless, adopted these three flexible repayment options. Firstly, and the most popular involves repaying the loan in equal monthly instalments. Alternatively, you can choose to pay the loan monthly interest during the construction period and then pay bulk of the cash upon completion. You can also apply for the “End Loan” and use it to refinance the existing loan. This is a specialized part of loan refinancing where the next loan is converted into medium- to long-term fixed-rate mortgage.

Why should you take a construction loan?

I. Capital for home investment

A construction loan gives you the money to invest in your home. Just like conventional mortgages, these loans are ideal if you are looking to become a homeowner, but have no capital to purchase your own house. The construction loan will cover all the costs of your project with the option of converting the loan into a mortgage later.

II. Build your customized home

Housing projects and initiatives can provide decent homes, but building your dream home to your specifications is at times more fun. A construction loan gives you the rare opportunity to build your house from the ground up. You can work with a builder of your choice or even make it yourself. These loans give you the freedom to design and build a unique home specific to the needs of your family.

III. Fund your commercial construction project

Construction loans can fund your commercial property and projects. If you are in the construction business, these loans can be used to invest in equipment, labor, or any other costs involved in the project. Since you have the option of refinancing, you can quickly own real estate property through long-term repayment plans.

IV. Relatively flexed repayment plans

You can find interest-only construction loans. Unlike other repayment options, interest-only contracts require you to pay interest on the initial loan, and not any part of the principle during the life of the construction. This does not only lower the total interest you pay on your construction loan but also makes repayment more feasible. Most construction loans are also refinanced into a long-term plan upon project completion, so you end up paying lower interest for the initial loan.

What are pros and cons of taking a construction loan?

Pros

  • Perfect credit for custom-homes and projects
  • Covers all the project costs
  • A short-term loan with feasible repayment plans
  • Can be refinanced at the end of the term and converted to a long-term mortgage
  • Allows you to save money on construction as opposed to mortgages

Cons

  • Short repayment periods – often within 12 months or by the time of completing the project
  • High and variable interests unlike the fixed rate mortgages
  • Difficult to find especially if you are not a certified builder

Selection criteria

  • Loan products and terms
  • Loan application process and waiting time
  • Minimum qualification requirements
  • Customer service
  • Interest rate
  • Draw schedule
  • Complaints and Reviews

Top 10 constructions loans for 2019

1. US Bank – 20% minimum down payment

US Bank is one of the top picks if you are in the market for construction loans. The bank is well-versed in the new construction sector and boasts profound knowledge on how to successfully launch and complete projects. They quickly pair you with a loan officer to initiate the loan process. US Bank also offers several types of construction loans, including construction-only and building repair loans. They have comprehensive resources for construction as well as advice on how to get qualified contractors for your project. The bank also has substantial experience in the industry and is located in 41 states in the US.

Pros:

  • Flexible construction loans and options
  • Evenly distributed across the US
  • Offers a loan officer for face-to-face support
  • Varied loan offers
  • Great customer care

Cons:

  • No online application
  • Lots of paperwork
2. Wells Fargo – up to 89% of your home value

Wells Fargo is another popular lender offering different types of construction loans for qualifying applicants. They have a nationwide network of consultants and loan officers who are available via phone. The lender also provides an extended rate lock program that locks your interest rate for up to 24 months. This significantly reduces the overall interest you end up paying on your loan. Wells Fargo also accepts online applications and has a financing checklist you can use to review eligibility requirements.

Wells FARGO & Co (WFC)

Pros:

  • New construction loans
  • Easy-to-reach consultants
  • Home equity refinancing
  • Online loan application
  • Low down payment

Cons:

  • Variable closing costs
  • Requires high credit score (above 600)
  • Unknown fees and APRs
3. Normandy – up to $4 million at 10.95% APR

Normandy is another mortgage lender offering various types of construction loans. They have a particular interest in funding residential home constructions. They also provide land loans and have expertise in the new home construction loans sector. Normandy has funded over $800 million in residential construction loans. They offer full services, including loan funding and servicing available in 39 states in the US. They also allow online registration and application. Successful applicants receive their loans within 21 days. Normandy enjoys a reputable A+ rating in BBB and offers online account management as well as online loan pre-qualification.

Pros:

  • Quick loan application and approval
  • Available in many states
  • Multiple types of construction loans
  • Offers land loans

Cons:

  • High-interest rates
  • Strict pre-qualification requirements
4. NBKC – Over 25 years of industry experience

The National Bank of Kansas City is an FDIC insured bank and approved Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Lender. They offer a wide range of home loan products, including VA, FHA, and building and construction loans. NBKC is highly reputed for exceptional customer service and convenience. They have 25 years of experience in the banking sector and allow nationwide online loan application. NBKC provides a line of credit home construction loan. They also offer discounts to members as well as a helpful finance calculator.

Pros:

  • Simple application process
  • Financial calculators and loan resources
  • Wide range of home construction loans
  • Nationwide online lending platform
  • Low down payment

Cons:

  • Mobile app limitations
  • Limited office locations
5. Kabbage – up to $150,000 at 10% APR

Kabbage is another popular online lending platform that offers various types of personal and business loans, including construction loans. It provides a business line of credit loans to all qualifying companies. This includes all sizes and sectors. If you are looking for a construction loan awarded to contractors and builders, Kabbage offers a quick, convenient way to apply for up to $150,000. Repayments are made in six or twelve months with monthly fee inclusive of the interest. Unlike most lenders, you do not need an excellent credit score. However, you must have a business in operation for at least 12 months. This is ideal if you need construction loans for a real estate project or commercial buildings.

Pros:

  • The convenient online loan application process
  • Fast loan disbursement
  • Low minimum requirements
  • Flat fee rates and APRs

Cons:

  • Must have at least 12 months business credit history
  • Requires proof of monthly $4,200 minimum income
6. Quicken Loans –Best for the wide variety of loans availed

Quicken Loans is another popular lender with various construction and mortgage loan products. It is the largest online lender in the US if you are looking for an established lender with experience in both mortgage and home refinancing. Founded back in 1985, Quicken focuses on offering a wide variety of mortgage loans, both personal and commercial. Their current offers include VA, FHA, Adjustable-rate, Flat-rate, and Jumbo. You can also apply for a construction loan to finance your new house. Quicken offers loan and mortgage calculators, refinance guides, and various other resources in their extensive list.

Pros:

  • Offers quick loans
  • Accepts online application and approval
  • Has various types of loans
  • Ideal for refinancing

Cons:

  • No home-equity refinancing
  • No office locations
7. Fund Box – up to $100,000 at 78.6% APR

If you run a construction business, then you may need to take loans to fund projects awaiting invoices from your clients. FundBox offers invoice financing that allows you to borrow a maximum amount limited only by what your invoices generate. You can take loans from $1,000 to $100,000 paid within three to six months. It is more like selling your invoices at a discount. This loan can be used in construction or any other business. Loans are also disbursed within a few hours.

Pros:

  • Smooth loan application process
  • Minimum qualifications
  • Perfect for funding various phases of your construction
  • Low credit score limits

Cons:

  • Higher annual interest rates
  • Early repayment fees
8. Lending Tree – up to $35,000 at 36% APR

Lending Tree suits businesses in the construction industry with its array of commercial construction loans. You can borrow term loans, SBA, lines of credit, and equipment financing loans, among others. The lending tree allows you to borrow enough capital to finance your construction projects. This loan aggregator offers a platform where you can find construction, mortgage, and home refinancing loans with adjustable and fixed-rate options. Their fees and rates are relatively low, although rates vary depending on the individual lender. You also need to have a business with an over 12-month history of operation and a minimum monthly income of $8,000.

Pros:

  • Low rates and fees
  • No need for credit score
  • Quick loan disbursement
  • Various types of loans

Cons:

  • Variable interest rates
  • High minimum monthly income requirement
9. Guaranteed Rate – Available in over 50 states

Guaranteed rate is a highly reputed lender with various construction and mortgage loan offers. They offer a one-stop solution for that loans you enough capital to finance the construction and to purchase the property. Guaranteed rate is also ideal if you are looking for an interest-only construction and mortgage refinancing loans. As an interest-only lender, you will pay lower interest compared to other conventional offers. The platform is also reputed for customer service and is available in all the 50 states.

Pros:

  • You can lock your interest during the construction phase
  • Low down payment required
  • Long-term home refinancing including 15 ad 30-year terms
  • Smooth loan application process

Cons:

  • Must have a FICO score of 700
  • Draws outsides 12 months come at an extra fee
10.Funding Circle – up to $500,000 at 26.99%

If you are looking for lenders offering traditional business loan, Funding Circle is among the top options you will come across. You can borrow from $25,000 up to $500,000 for whatever business purposes. This peer-to-peer marketplace suits small and medium businesses. Their main loan product is a termed loan with low-interest rates. You can borrow a loan for your construction project and pay within a period of 6 months to 5 years. However, interest rates vary depending on various factors such as credit score. They also charge origination fees.

Pros:

  • Ideal for any business including construction
  • You qualify for a higher loan amount
  • Feasible predictable repayments
  • Suitable for traditional creditworthy loans

Cons:

  • Must have a credit score of 620 and above
  • Origination fees and collateral

What to consider when choosing a construction loan

There are various things to consider before and after applying for a construction loan. These loans are not ideal for everyone, and there is no one-fit-for all. Some of the areas to give priority include:

I. Credit score

Qualifying for a construction loan can be tough if you have a limited credit history. You should, therefore, consider developing a consistent history and a good rating before applying for such loans. It is also essential to watch and continue building your credit after successfully applying for a construction loan. This will increase your likelihood of qualifying for the end loan, which is very critical in facilitating the refinancing of your credit into a long-term mortgage.

II. Loan terms and policies

Different lenders impose different conditions on their loan products. You should carefully read all the terms and clauses in the loaning agreement to ensure you are well informed on all aspects. You can also compare various local lenders in your area to find those with better loans and repayment terms. If you do not understand any part of the contract, ask the lender for clarity, or engage a professional attorney or real estate broker.

III. Builder vs. owner-builder

You can build your own home if you have the experience. However, most lenders are reluctant to fund individuals to develop their own homes. You will have to provide a comprehensive list of requirements and proof of knowledge/experience in construction. If you are using a builder, make sure you work with qualified professionals. This will ensure your home’s value is higher than the loan you took to facilitate its construction.

IV. Business vs. residential construction

Your project, including aspects of why you build the home, usually determines the best loan for you. If you are applying for a residential construction project, there are loan products better suited to residential apartments. Just as there are loans for building your own home. Loans offered to businesses that are in the construction sector are also different. Knowing these minor details will help you pick the best construction loan for your unique needs.

Bottom line

A construction loan can finance your dream home from scratch. It is ideal if you have the financial cushion to complete repayments within a year and deal with any construction set-backs. Upon completion, you can apply for an end loan and enroll for a current long-term mortgage plan. It is worth noting that construction loans are balloon mortgages that require payments to be completed by the time your home is finished. They are perfect for those with a piece of property they want to develop. If you are looking for a place to stay, a traditional loan or mortgage might be the right solution for your goals. Nevertheless, several lenders are offering feasible construction loans in the market. The above list comprises some top lenders that will allow you to build a unique home with your specifications.

FAQs

What is a construction loan?

A construction loan is also referred to as a self-build loan and is taken by an individual wishing to build a home or any other customized real estate project. The loan can be used to either fund the entire project or just the initial stages of the construction project before the developer acquires long-term funding. Some of the unique characteristics of a construction loan include the fact that it is short term and is only availed to certified investors.

What are the minimum qualifications for a construction loan?

Construction loans are a specialty of regional banks and credit unions as they have a better understanding of their local real estate market. To qualify for the loan, you must be a certified builder or prove that a qualified builder will oversee the project. You also must have a good credit score and raise the minimum down payment that ranges from 20% to as much as 30% of the cost of construction.

How long does it take for the construction loan to get approved?

Processing construction loan applications is a rigorous process that involves checking not just the financial background of the applicant but also their professional background as well as the viability of their construction project – the Blue Book. It may, therefore, take longer than mortgages – averaging between 7 and 10 days.

Can I use a physical asset as a guarantee for the down payment?

Yes. For instance, if you a piece of land and wished to acquire a construction loan to develop it, most innovative lenders will agree to hold onto the land documents as collateral for the loan. This in some cases, eliminates the need for the down payment.

What is the difference between a construction loan and a mortgage?

The key differences between construction loans and a home mortgage lie in the amounts involved, the interest rates charged, and repayment periods. There is only so much that a banker is willing to advance you in the form of a construction loan while mortgages carry extensive loan limits. Additionally, construction loans carry high and variable interest rates while most mortgages are fixed rate. Construction loans must also be paid within a short period – usually 12 months – while mortgages repayments can extend to as much as 30 years.

Do I have to pay closure fees twice?

Like most other real estate related debts, construction loans carry significant closing that is paid during loan application and approval. The second phase of closing fees for a construction home comes about if you wish to refinance the loan and convert it into a mortgage where you get to pay the closing fees associated with acquiring the refinancing loan.

Who can qualify for a construction loan?

While qualifying for a construction loan may be hard, it isn’t impossible. Before going through with the construction process, however, you must go through your lender’s qualification requirements to ensure that you fulfill their minimum requirements.

 

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Edith is an investment writer, trader, and personal finance coach specializing in investments advice around the fintech niche. Her fields of expertise include stocks, commodities, forex, indices, bonds, and cryptocurrency investments. She holds a Masters degree in Economics with years of experience as a banker-cum-investment analyst. She is currently the chief editor, learnbonds.com where she specializes in spotting investment opportunities in the emerging financial technology scene and coming up with practical strategies for their exploitation. She also helps her clients identify and take advantage of investment opportunities in the disruptive Fintech world.