How much are closing costs on a construction loan?
Sometimes called “single-close loans,” they typically only require the borrower to pay one set of closing costs. This way, you can avoid the hassle of submitting documents twice and paying additional fees. Plus, many borrowers like to lock in their mortgage rates early.
At SCCU, we offer a No Closing Costs option for construction loans, which comes with some restrictions. For our conventional construction loans, we collect $1,400 at the initial closing to cover inspection costs. SCCU will refund the borrower any remaining funds after the final closing. If additional funds are necessary, the borrower won’t have to pay past the $1,400.
If a borrower chooses to get this type of loan and then a separate mortgage loan, this allows them to find the best terms for each type of loan. Some like this option because they can also enjoy more flexibility with making changes during the building phase. However, this also means they will need to submit documents twice and pay closing costs twice.
What are the construction loan requirements?
Construction loan requirements will vary by type and lender. Because there isn’t a house to use as collateral, lenders will often need to see more documentation and require higher qualifications from the borrower. In most cases, the borrower will need to have a credit score of 680 or higher, a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or lower, sufficient income, and a down payment of at least 20% or more. You can learn more about pulling your paperwork and calculating your debt-to-income ratio in our online Home Buying Center
Lenders may also want the borrower to present them with a builder contract, building plans, a prepaid homeowner’s insurance policy, detailed estimates to buy the house, and an estimated home appraisal. In addition, the lender may need specific documents from the builder, such as their work history and insurance. Ultimately, having a plan in place helps minimize the risk for the lender, and it will help you get preapproved for the loan.
- Can a first time home buyer get a construction loan? They sure can! As long as the first time home buyer meets the requirements and can pay the down payment, lenders will still usually issue them a construction loan.
- Can you get a construction loan without a down payment? Whether or not a down payment is a requirement depends on the type of loan. With VA and USDA loans, qualified borrowers can get a construction loan with 0% down. For FHA loans, the down payment could be as low as 3.5% down. Some lenders will issue traditional construction loans with 10% down. Lenders who offer construction loans with zero to low down payments can be difficult to find, and they may have stricter criteria.
Can a construction loan be used for renovations?
Yes, you can get a construction loan for substantial renovations. Keep in mind that you’ll typically need to show the lender that you’ll be adding value to the house. You’ll also be on a construction timeline with a draw schedule.
However, if you’re looking for more freedom with how you use the funds, your budget, plan, and payments, there are other options available. These options typically are easier to qualify for.
For renovations under $20,000, these may be a better fit for your projects:
- Personal loans: Personal loans are often easier to secure, and they usually have better terms and a fixed interest rate. You can see SCCU’s personal loans here.
- Credit cards: Many home improvement stores will issue credit cards with higher credit lines for projects. While you can qualify for a credit card with a fair credit score, the interest rates are often higher.
For both personal loans and credit cards, it’s a good idea to set up a payment plan beforehand to ensure that you’re making payments on time and not hurting your credit score.
For renovations above $25,000, and for those with sufficient equity in their home, you may like the following options more:
- Cash-out refinance: With a cash-out refinance, you can refinance your first mortgage and take out your home’s equity in cash.
- Second mortgage: You can also look at a home equity loan, which often has a fixed rate, or you could consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which often has a variable rate.
How to Apply for a Construction Loan
It can be quite the journey to build your dream home, but for many, it’s worth it. If you’d rather not go it alone with a construction loan, it can be helpful to hire a construction loan broker to help you navigate the requirements and facilitate the process. They can help you find a good builder and gather everything you need to get approved for a loan. If you’d like to forge your own path, here’s a snapshot of how to apply for a construction loan:
- Shop around for a licensed builder: It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple builders. Be sure to ask friends or family for recommendations and look at ratings/reviews from past clients. You’ll need a plan in place that involves the blueprints, materials, timelines, and site options. Be sure to ask about what shortage issues they’re facing and alternative options for those items.
- Do your homework with lenders: Once you have a contract in hand with your builder, talk to multiple lenders about the maximum amount they’ll loan, their rates, and requirements for credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio. Learn more about how to pick the right lender for your dream home here.
- Gather documentation and get preapproved: Next, make sure you have everything you need to apply for the construction loan with the lender. This includes identification documents and proof of income.
Why consider a credit union like SCCU for a construction loan?
At SCCU, we offer construction-to-permanent loans with terms up to 30 years, competitive interest rates with a guarantee18, one application, fast pre-qualification decisions, one closing, one paperwork filing, up to 90% financing available16, and Member Service for the life of the loan. Plus, we can make exceptions and extend the construction phase if necessary, especially due to shortage issues.
Unlike banks that put shareholders first, we’re a co-operative institution that puts our members’ interests first. We also provide personalized service for our members. We stand by our promise: Honest People. Trusted Products. Time Valued. If you have any questions about construction loans, feel free to get in touch with us
and one of our Team Members will be happy to help.
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