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Mortgage Financing

Insight into Home Construction Loans



When buying a new home, taking a mortgage is considered to be the usual route. However, in case you are planning to build a house from scratch, you can consider the option of a home construction loan. A home construction loan can be seen as a mortgage that comes with a twist. There are many important aspects of a home construction loan that need to be understood before applying for one. Hence, in this article, we will be discussing in detail the concept of home construction loans and how they work.

The Basics

You can apply for a home renovation loan for a renovation or completely new construction that you are planning to undertake. Such loans are always shorter in duration, and the lenders will be charging a higher interest rate as there is no collateral present in such a case. Thus, this is one way in which a home construction loan differs from the traditional mortgage. Because in a traditional mortgage the presence of collateral makes the lending process less risky for the lender. A home construction loan will be received in installments and will be given to the builder instead of the homeowner. Each installment is referred to as a “draw” and is given for a particular stage of the overall project. Some examples include pouring, framing, and the finishing.

How does a Home Construction Loan convert into a Mortgage

After the completion of the construction project, the liability in the form of a loan can take the form of a mortgage and the payments can be divided into regular installments.

Types of Home Construction Loans

Depending on the kind of work involved in the construction process, there are different types of home construction loans available to customers. These include:

1.      Single-Close Construction Loan

If you have a clear construction plan in front of you and are only looking to finance the process, such a loan is best. This is because the loan converts into a mortgage once the building is complete and the interest rates are decided upon and locked in at the time of closing.

2.      Two-Close Construction Loan

Such a loan has to be paid off in full once the building has reached the completion stage. Thus, the borrower will need to pay the closing costs, and there are more requirements to be fulfilled to qualify for such a loan. This loan is considered to be ideal if the borrower is looking for a lender that is permanent during the building process of the house. Also, you need to make sure that the cash reserves you have are sufficient to back such a loan.

3.      Renovation Construction Loan

This category is preferred by those that have set their eyes on a fixer-upper project but are looking for finances to carry out the renovations. The costs associated with the renovations are considered to be a part of the mortgage amount, and there are no closing costs. The amount of the loan will be set according to the value of the house once the renovations are complete.

What will you get?

When your home construction loan gets approved, you can expect the loan payments to be available for the following:

  • Land
  • Any plans made for the construction, any permits that are required, and any fee associated with such processes.
  • The cost associated with the work done by labor and the cost of materials involved.
  • The closing costs
  • There are also some contingency costs that are taken into consideration since at any time during the project you can expect running into unexpected costs.
  • Some loans also cover for the interest reserves, something that is chosen by people who do not wish to make the payments associated with the interest during the construction process.



At first, you will have to share plans with the lender so that a complete inspection can be done to determine the kind of work needed during the construction process. As previously mentioned, the loan is given in installments known as draws. Thus, no lump sum amount will be given to the builder at any given point. Inspections will be carried out before lending each draw. It will take into consideration the work undertaken, and the work required going forward.

Information regarding the builder

Before the lender decided to give you the money, they will require you to show them the documents regarding the builder. This is because a lender requires you to have a builder who is well-qualified and who has comprehensive work experience. Moreover, insurance is another important factor in determining whether the builder chosen is right or not.

Borrower’s Details

Among the details of the borrower, the lender will need information regarding your debt to income ratio. Your debt is expected to be 45% or less of your total income. Also, your credit score will have to be 680 or higher, and the amount of down payment will depend on the kind of project. A down payment of 20% – 30% will be required in new construction projects. The amount might be lower in case of renovation projects. Moreover, the lender will ask you regarding the repayment plan and will decide on this beforehand.

Bottom Line

As a borrower, you will have to make sure that you can satisfy both, the builder as well as the lender. Thus, taking a home construction loan is not an easy task and requires significant work to be done before the process starts. If you are looking to finance your renovation or construction project, start by looking at a list of top builders in your area and consider all your finance options. Having the right builder and the right lender will make the overall process smooth.

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How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?




With rising healthcare costs and increase in property taxes, many retirees face difficulty in meeting their monthly expenses. Reverse Mortgage is an effective way for old age homeowners to convert their home equity into cash. Homeowners can use this cash in multiple ways such as renovating their property or paying off their monthly dues.

You can use a Reverse Mortgage to pay off a regular mortgage. This way, you can avoid monthly payments to your lender. If you can manage your property dues, such as taxes and other maintenance costs, you can apply for a Reverse Mortgage. You can pay the loan off any time before the last surviving property owner passes away or moves out.

Step By Step Guide To Securing a Reverse Mortgage

1.         Counseling

The first step towards securing a Reverse Mortgage facility is obtaining objective information about the Reverse Mortgage loan from counselors approved by Housing and Urban Development organization. Once the counseling session is complete, you will receive a certificate of completion at your home address. This certificate is part of the Reverse Mortgage loan application.

2.         Submit Loan Application

To initiate the Reverse Mortgage loan, borrowers need to submit an application packet to their lender, which usually includes:

  • A Valid Identification document
  • Proof that the property put up as collateral is your primary residence
  • Proof of income showing that you have enough money to pay for homeowner insurance and property taxes on your property
  • Reverse Mortgage counseling certificate

3.         Appraisal

Once you submit the loan application, the lender will appraise your property value. This is a major step in the Reverse Mortgage process as it determines the amount you are eligible to receive as a loan.

  • Request for Appraisal – According to latest housing regulations, lenders cannot order appraisers of their own choice and need to contact an independent Appraisal Management Company to appraise the property’s value.
  • Property Visit By An Appraiser – Once the lender makes a request for appraisal, FHA-approved property appraisers will visit your home for inspection and take necessary pictures to determine the property’s worth.
  • Submission of Appraisal Report – The appraisal report is shared with the lender within 3-5 business days after the property visit. Latest regulations require that lenders share a copy of the latest appraisal report with the applicant as well.

4.         Underwriting the Loan

During this stage of the loan process, underwriters review the application along with submitted documents and stipulate the terms and conditions associated with the loan. Once the application meets all the conditions, the lender will set a closing date for loan disbursal.

Cash Payment Options

  • One-time Disbursal – You can receive a lump sum payment from your lender through Reverse Mortgage. However, this is only available for fixed-rate
  • Term Option –Using this option borrower can receive a fixed amount of cash on a monthly basis for a pre-determined period.
  • Line of Credit –This is useful for applicants who need to utilize their Reverse Mortgage facility as and when required. The interest accrues depending on how cash the borrower draws over a period of time.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Since these loans were designed for senior citizens, Reverse Mortgage facility is available for people above 62 years of age.
  • You should either own the home or have low enough mortgage to pay it off using a Reverse Mortgage loan.
  • You must be living at the property and must not stay at any other place for more than 12 months.
  • For multi-family homes, you should be using one of the units as your primary residence. In the case of manufactured homes, they are approved for Reverse Mortgage as long as they follow FHA requirements. An HUD-approved condominium can also be used for availing Reverse Mortgage facility.
  • You must be able to pay your monthly dues during the life of the loan. These may include home insurance, property taxes, and maintenance fee such as homeowners
  • Many lenders require that you must not be delinquent on any federal loan.

Fees Associated With Reverse Mortgage

1.         Origination Premium

The federal government insures Reverse Mortgage loans, but the loan applicant has to bear the insurance costs. Insurance premium can range between 0.5% and 2.5% depending on the appraisal value and the amount you borrow from your initial limit in the first 12 months.

2.         Processing and Closing Fee

The lender can charge you up to $6,000 for processing the loan depending on your property value. Closing costs include fees for background and credit check, property appraisal, taxes and any other fees.

Risks Associated With Reverse Mortgage

  • Reducing Family Inheritance – Reverse Mortgage is a high-interest loan, which is compounded over a period of time. The upfront costs and accrued interest can considerably reduce your home equity. This means you may not be leaving behind much for your family or surviving spouse as an inheritance.
  • Risk of Foreclosure Proceedings – This could be a major problem for a surviving spouse who did not co-sign the Reverse Mortgage facility with the primary applicant. In case the applicant passes away, their spouse will be forced to sell the property to pay-off the loan. Hence, it is important that borrowers talk to other house occupants about a backup plan in case they do not survive.
  • Stringent Terms – Reverse Mortgage borrowers’ risk of losing equity in their home very quickly as the high-interest rates compound over a period of time. The terms for Reverse Mortgage are quite stringent as well, with lenders refusing to amend loan terms such as lowering interest rates or adding a co-borrower after loan disbursal.

Bottom Line

Reverse Mortgage allows borrowers to use their home equity to manage their monthly expenses. However, before availing this type of loan, borrowers should spend some time in understanding the loan terms and devising a strategy to maximize the loan proceeds. Otherwise, they may end up leaving little or no inheritance to their spouse or other family members.

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How To

Financing a House Boat




If you are a water lover and wish to enjoy the nautical feel of living a relaxed life on the water, a houseboat should be one of your options. A houseboat is not only for millionaires. In fact, if you meet certain requirements, you can also own a house on the water. However, a visit to the grocery store might become more complicated than ever once you start living on the water.

The overall cost of your houseboat will vary depending on different factors such as the size of the boat and its location. However, the trend of owning a houseboat has increased over the years and there are many first-time buyers that are investing in owning a houseboat rather than a traditional home.

Understanding the Difference between a House Boat and a Floating Home

When it comes to living on the water, not all options are the same. Primarily, there are two living options, a House Boat and a Floating Home. Now, if you have thought they both refer to the same setting, this section will give clarify the differences for you. A House Boat, as the name suggests, is considered to be a house that can move around, which means that it can also be seen as a vehicle, whereas, a Floating Home is one that is attached to the dock and hence cannot move around.

Therefore, a floating home can be seen as a fixed house located on the water. The total cost of your water-based home will vary depending on the size of it. However, you should be expecting to pay a higher amount than usual owing to the peculiar nature of the lifestyle. Fortunately, you have the option to finance your lifestyle with the help of a lender.

How to Finance Living on Water

1.      House Boat

The first challenge that you should be ready for when looking for financing options for your houseboat is to find the right lender. It is no surprise that there are not many lenders in the community that help to attain such loans considering the unique nature of such a living condition. However, the basic way in which the financing of both, a houseboat and a floating home will vary lies in how the lender treats them.

A House Boat, due to of its ability to move, is considered to be more of a vehicle than a home and therefore the term of the loan will be much shorter as compared to one in the case of a traditional home. Also, another reason why the lender prefers to keep the term short is that of the amount of maintenance required in owning a House Boat. When financing a House Boat, you should know that there is a massive amount of maintenance that will be needed to make sure that it can function in an ideal manner.

Therefore, you should not expect the mortgage’s term to be more than 20 years. In fact, you might also get a term that is considerably shorter than 20 years as well. The interest rate paid is also expected to be 3-4 percent higher than in the case of a traditional home. There will also be a yearly inspection that you will have to pay for and will be carried out to ensure that the House Boat can function well. The inspection costs around $300-500. The down payment will also be higher than in the case of a traditional home and hence you should be ready to pay around 35%in down payment.

2.      Floating Home

In the case of a floating home, the loan terms are more similar to that of a traditional home. A floating home is connected to the utilities of the city and is therefore considered to be property rather than a vehicle. As the owner of a floating home, you will be required to pay taxes and depreciation will play an important role in determining the value of the home.

The price of a floating home, however, is higher than that of a traditional one. The interest rate that you will be paying on the loan for your floating home will be 1-2% higher than for a traditional home. The term of a loan taken on a floating home will be around 15 years and a minimum down payment of 20% will be required. Also, to be eligible for a loan on your floating home, you should have a credit score of at least 680.

Miscellaneous Costs

Apart from the costs associated with financing the loan, there are also other costs that you will incur when you decide to choose a water-based lifestyle. Maintenance is generally costly when it comes to houses such as floating homes and houseboats. That is because when the house will be situated on the water, there will be more damages over the years. Also, you are also required to pay a monthly fee that is somewhat like a home owner’s association fee which is approximately $700.

Bottom Line

Even though living on the water has its various advantages, the high costs associated with this kind of living can discourage people from choosing this route. Also, it is not uncommon for buyers to face difficulty in locating a lender that can help them finance their dream home. Because of their rarity in the market, the lenders have the power to charge higher rates than usual. Therefore, carefully considering all your options is a must when looking for financing options for your water-based home.

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How To

Understanding Subprime Mortgages




When seeking for financial assistance in the form of a Mortgage loan, it is imperative that the intended borrower has a good credit score to secure the ideal loan. In addition to a good credit score, a debt to income ratio of less than 35 percent is also required. Unfortunately, not all borrowers can meet such requirements because of their credit history and low income.

In such cases, borrowers can apply for a subprime mortgage which is specifically designed to offer assistance to people with low credit scores and other financial issues. In this article, we will explain what a subprime mortgage is, when you might need it and how to apply for it.

What is a Subprime Mortgage?

Many times borrowers with low income face difficulties while applying for a loan. A conventional mortgage requires the borrowers to have a good credit score and a steady income. However, a subprime mortgage is offered to people who have a credit score of 600 or below.

One would expect such a loan to be at a greater risk of default since the borrowers already have a bad history when it comes to the repayment of loans. This risk is compensated for at the beginning of the process by offering higher interest rates as compared to the conventional loans. In some cases, banks may also charge the borrowers in some other way, such as a greater down payment or a higher closing cost.

Types of Subprime Mortgage

Within the category of Subprime Mortgage, there are other subtypes to choose from. These are:

1.      Fixed-Interest

The main advantage of choosing this type of subprime mortgage is the longer term of repayment. Instead of the traditional 30 year period for the repayment, a fixed-interest mortgage allows the borrower to have a longer repayment period of 40 to 50 years.

This longer-term translates into reduced monthly payments for the buyer, however, since the lender has to compensate for the risk associated with the greater inability of the borrower to pay off the total amount, a higher interest rate is added. While choosing such a mortgage, it is important to find out the amount of interest rate that is being offered by different lenders and choose the one that offers the lowest.

2.      Interest-Only Mortgage

An interest-only mortgage allows the borrower to have a period of 5, 7 or 10 years in which they are required to pay only the interest payments that are charged. Under such type of payment, the principal payment can be delayed and the borrower, if wishes, can regularly make payments towards the principal.

At the end of the term, the borrower is expected to pay off the mortgage or can refinance the mortgage. Such a mortgage is considered ideal for borrowers that are expecting to witness an increase in their income or an improvement in their financial condition over the years.

3.      Dignity Mortgage

This kind of mortgage is considered to be relatively new and gives the borrower ease in paying off the principal amount. In the beginning, the borrower is required to pay about 10% of the principal amount. After this, if the borrower is found to be diligent in paying the regular interest payments for five years, the amount that has been paid in the form of a higher interest rate is compensated to pay off the principal amount by reducing the interest rate to the prime rate. This gives the borrower an opportunity to prove their ability to pay off the loan which is why the term “dignity’ is used.

4.      Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

An Adjustable-Rate mortgage (ARM) uses a fixed interest rate at the beginning of the loan’s term after which the payment keeps changing and resetting according to an index. At the beginning of the repayment schedule, the borrower might be paying off a reduced amount. However, the unpredictable nature of such a mortgage does not give the borrower any guarantee about how the change might affect the payment schedule. There is a lot of unpredictability associated with such a mortgage due to its high dependence on the economic conditions and the index.

How to Get a Subprime Mortgage

When applying for a subprime mortgage, you will find the process to be extremely similar to the process that is followed when applying for a conventional mortgage. However, we have summarized the complete process of getting a subprime mortgage in the following steps:

  • At the beginning of the process, it is important to consider your options by making a list of all the lenders that offer subprime mortgages. By looking at the interest rates offered by each lender, choose one that best meets your needs.
  • Even though the documentation required in the case of subprime mortgage is not as complex as in the traditional mortgage, the lender will ask you for a steady proof of income, bank statements, and documents that reflect your monthly expenses.
  • Read the contracts thoroughly and sign them.
  • You might need to offer additional documents if the lender requires. Hence, you should not expect all the documents mentioned above to be sufficient and should be ready to gather and present any additional documents.

Pros and Cons of Subprime Mortgage

The biggest advantage of a subprime mortgage is the ability of borrowers with poor credit scores to get a loan and the less complex nature of the overall process as compared to that of a conventional one. Whereas, the disadvantages of subprime mortgage include, the higher interest rates and the requirement to show a steady income for borrowers who are presently unemployed.


Even though getting a subprime mortgage might be risky, as a borrower it allows you to have a more versatile mortgage option that you can use to buy a home for yourself without having to worry about your credit history or debt responsibilities. In case you expect your financial condition to improve shortly and are in need of temporary financial assistance getting a subprime mortgage is your best option.

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