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6 min read May 15, 2023

A Guide To Construction Loans

A construction loan is designed to fund the construction of a new home or building

Unlike a traditional mortgage loan, which is typically used to purchase an existing home, a construction loan is used to pay for the costs associated with building a new structure from the ground up.

What Is A Construction Loan?

A construction loan is a type of financing that is used to fund the construction of a new building or home. This type of loan is specifically designed to provide short-term funding to cover the costs of construction, including materials, labor, and permits.

Construction loans require a more detailed application process and higher qualification standards since lenders are taking on greater risk by financing a construction project that does not yet exist.

How Do Construction Loans Work?

Construction loans typically work in a series of phases, with funds being disbursed as each phase of the construction process is completed. Here is a general overview of how construction loans work:

  • Application: The borrower submits an application for a construction loan, which includes a detailed construction plan, timeline, and budget. The lender will review the application and verify the borrower’s creditworthiness.
  • Loan Approval: Once the lender approves the loan, the borrower is provided with a draw schedule, which outlines the specific phases of construction that will be funded, and the amount of funding that will be provided for each phase.
  • Disbursement: As construction progresses, the borrower will submit draw requests to the lender, which specify the work that has been completed and the amount of funds needed to cover that work. The lender will then inspect the construction site to ensure that the work has been completed as described, and will disburse the funds accordingly.
  • Interest and Payments: The borrower is typically required to make interest-only payments during the construction phase, based on the amount of funds that have been disbursed. Once construction is complete, the borrower can either pay off the loan in full or convert it into a traditional mortgage.

Types Of House Building Loans

There are several types of house-building loans that borrowers can consider:

  • Construction-to-permanent loans: These loans are used to finance the construction of a new home, and then convert to a traditional mortgage once construction is complete. With a construction-to-permanent loan, borrowers only have to apply for and pay closing costs once, simplifying the process.
  • Stand-alone construction loans: These loans are used solely to finance the construction of a new home. Once construction is complete, borrowers will need to apply for a traditional mortgage to pay off the construction loan.
  • Renovation loans: These loans are used to finance home renovation projects, such as adding a new room or updating a kitchen. Renovation loans can be structured as either a construction-to-permanent loan or a stand-alone construction loan.
  • Owner-builder construction loans: These loans are used by borrowers who plan to act as their own general contractors and oversee the construction of their own homes. Owner-builder loans can be more difficult to obtain, as they require a high level of construction expertise.
  • FHA construction loans: These loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and are designed for low-to-moderate-income borrowers. FHA construction loans have more relaxed credit and income requirements, but may also have higher interest rates and fees.

Construction Loan Rates

Construction loan rates can vary depending on several factors, including the borrower’s credit score, the loan amount, the loan term, and the lender’s underwriting requirements.

In general, construction loan rates are typically higher than traditional mortgage rates, reflecting the increased risk to the lender associated with financing a construction project.

Construction Loan Requirements

Construction loan requirements can vary by lender, but here are some common requirements that borrowers may need to meet:

  • Detailed construction plan: Borrowers will need to provide a detailed construction plan, including architectural plans, construction timelines, and a budget for the project.
  • Good credit: Lenders will look at the borrower’s credit history and credit score to determine their creditworthiness. A higher credit score can lead to more favorable loan terms.
  • Down payment: Construction loans typically require a larger down payment than traditional mortgages, with most lenders requiring a minimum of 20% of the total construction cost.
  • Cash reserves: Lenders may require borrowers to have cash reserves on hand to cover unexpected costs or delays during the construction process.
  • Experienced builder: Borrowers may be required to work with an experienced builder or general contractor who has a good track record of completing construction projects on time and on budget.
  • Property value: Lenders will also assess the value of the property once construction is complete, to ensure that the loan amount is appropriate and in line with the property’s value.
  • Appraisal: Borrowers may need to obtain an appraisal of the property before construction begins to determine its value and ensure that it meets the lender’s requirements.

It’s important for borrowers to review the specific requirements of the construction loan they are considering, and to work closely with their lender to ensure that they meet all requirements and understand the loan terms.

How To Get A Construction Loan

Here are some general steps to follow when trying to get a construction loan:

  • Determine your budget: Start by determining your budget and what you can afford. Consider the total cost of the project, including land, labor, materials, and other fees.
  • Find a lender: Research and compare different lenders that offer construction loans. Look for lenders with experience in construction lending and favorable terms.
  • Gather your documents: Lenders will typically require a detailed construction plan, including architectural plans, construction timelines, and a budget for the project. You’ll also need to provide financial information, such as tax returns, bank statements, and proof of income.
  • Apply for the loan: Once you’ve chosen a lender and gathered your documents, you can apply for the construction loan. The lender will review your application and assess your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan.
  • Get approved: If you are approved for the loan, the lender will provide you with the loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. You’ll need to sign the loan agreement and any other required documents.
  • Start construction: Once you’ve secured the loan, you can begin the construction process. The lender will typically disburse funds in stages as construction progresses.

It’s important to work closely with your lender throughout the construction process and keep them informed of any changes or delays. You’ll also need to make sure that you stay within budget and meet all requirements of the loan.


In summary, a construction loan is a type of loan that provides financing for the construction of a new home or major renovation project. Unlike traditional mortgages, construction loans are typically short-term and require higher down payments, and they are disbursed in stages as construction progresses.

If you are considering a construction loan, it’s important to do your research and compare different lenders to find the best deal. With careful planning and the right financing, a construction loan can help you build the home of your dreams.


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