Getting a Construction Loan for Investment Property

Mortgage and Lending with Level 4 Funding NMLS 1018071 AZMB 0923961

Because there are so many financing options available to today’s homebuyers and real estate investors, it can be hard to make the right choice. When it comes to upgrading your property, or even building a new one, one option worth considering is construction loans for investment properties.

Renovation or construction loans for investment properties can be used for several projects, but almost always allow the user to customize their space or property. Anyone interested in new construction or a big renovation should investigate this as a viable financing option. Keep reading to learn if these loans are right for you and learn how you can qualify.

What Are Construction Loans?

Construction loans are short-term financing options for new real estate or renovation projects. They are used to pay for the costs of building a new house or for upgrading an existing property. Construction loans are only applicable for the time it takes to complete the project, and users only borrow what they need. These loans are distributed directly to the contractor (instead of the borrower) in segments called “draws.” Draws are marked as certain elements of the project are completed, such as the foundation being poured, or the frame being built.

The main appeal of construction loans is that they enable home buyers or investors to build a new property; though, the freedom to customize a property does come at a cost. For example, construction loans are known to have higher than average interest rates. The structure is typically set up to protect lenders who trust that a project will be completed correctly and that it will be worth a certain amount when done. Homeowners should not rule this option out, however, because there are several perks to this form of financing.

What Can A Construction Loan Be Used For?

A construction loan can be used for several projects, depending on your lenders’ requirements and terms of the agreement. Here are a few of the ways to utilize an investment property construction loan:

Purchasing raw land

Pouring foundation

Building an addition to a property

Framing and finishing a house

Building sheds or other structures

Adding a garage

What’s The Difference Between A Construction Loan And A Home Loan?

A construction loan and a home loan are different in terms of what they can be used for; and as such, the approval requirements will be slightly different for each. A construction loan is used to build new structures or renovate existing ones, while a home loan is just a traditional mortgage. Both types of financing will require a credit check and other financial information, but a construction loan will also require the project plans to be approved before the loan is issued.

Additionally, construction loans can only be used for the duration of the project. Home loans, on the other hand, are issued for a set period until they are paid off. Borrowers who rely on construction loans will typically refinance their property after the project is completed and enter a more traditional loan. To do so, homeowners will go through property inspection and appraisal.

What’s The Difference Between A Construction Loan And A Renovation Loan?

The difference between construction loans and renovation loans lies in the type of project. Construction loans are used for new properties with definitive project plans. Those who use construction loans will also typically transition into a regular mortgage at the end of the construction project. In contrast, renovation loans for investors are used to purchase fixer-uppers or to renovate existing properties. These loans can be used for both cosmetic and structural fixes, like insulating a house or upgrading a kitchen.

Can You Get a Construction Loan For An Investment Property?

Yes. You can get a construction loan for an investment property if your project plans and finances meet designated lender requirements. Unlike some home loans, there is no process stating that a construction loan must be applied to a primary residence. Construction loans can be a great option for financing investment property for many reasons. Most notably, real estate investors likely have experience working with contractors and supervising renovation projects already. Therefore, they may be well suited to oversee the construction of a new property.

There are also renovation loans for an investment property that can be obtained by following a similar approval process. Investors interested in a renovation construction loan will find that the loan is distributed based on the after-repair value of the property in question. This is where your investor tool kit will come in handy.

How To Qualify For A Construction Loan

To qualify for a construction loan, borrowers must meet several financial requirements in addition to having their project plans approved. To begin, lenders will typically review your debt-to-income ratio and credit. While the specific requirements vary based on your lender, many ask for a credit score of 650 or more. Borrowers must also have a down payment when setting up a construction loan, which should usually be between 20 and 30 percent. Make sure you shop around when searching for a lender; there are numerous options available for obtaining a construction loan and each will come with different requirements.

To get the final approval for a construction or renovation loan, you must also submit the construction plans for the project. Lenders will want to see detailed plans for the property and a team of qualified builders attached to the project. It is important to know that while you do need finished plans for the final loan approval, you can get preapproved for a construction loan before buying a property.

Do I need a licensed contractor for construction?

Generally, the answer is yes. The contractor needs to be licensed in the state where you are building the project and carry all of the bonds and insurance. Additionally, they need to be licensed as a general contractor, not a specific license. Doing a ‘self-build’ is hard to qualify for a construction loan. Why? The main reason is that the contract (licensed ones) is going to stick their neck out when they build the home. They typically have to ‘guarantee’ the work for several years. In Arizona, my home state, the guarantee is a blanket guarantee for 2 years and a general guarantee for 10 years. When you self-build, there is no guarantee.

What does a hard money lender look for in a construction loan?

The number one question is, ‘what are you going to do after the home is completed’? If you say you are going to live in the home this kills the deal. It becomes a consumer loan, and typically hard money lenders avoid owner-occupied loans.

What Type Of Loan Is Best For Investment Properties?

Three construction loan types are best for investment properties: fix and flip loans, purchase and rehab loans, and construction/purchase and building loans. Typically, investment construction loans are reimbursement loans. In this case, the lender will pay for each stage of construction as it is completed and signed off by inspectors. Let us look at the best types of loans for constructing investment properties:

Fix & Flip Loans: These loans are ideal for the opportunist who has experience in buying, fixing, and reselling properties within a short period. You will find that most conventional lenders and banks will have no problem financing these projects if you comply with common sense hard money underwriting guidelines. What will matter the most for this loan is your experience in effectively flipping properties for-profit and the viability of the project in question.

Purchase & Rehab Loans: These loans are best for purchasing old or outdated properties and either demolishing them to construct a new one or completely remodeling it to fit today’s standards. Again, the underwriting will be the most important thing to get this project started.

Construction Loans/Purchase & Build Loans: These types of loans are available in the purchase of a lot or for construction on an existing lot you own. Construction loans and purchase and build loans are specifically for non-owner-occupied properties with the intent of retail or future rental income.

The idea of customizing a property from start to finish may seem impossible, both for homeowners and investors. However, this is not the case. With financing options like construction loans for investment properties, building a new property does not have to be a distant dream. While there are approval requirements for this form of financing, it can open new doors to anyone interested in purchasing raw land or fixer-uppers. Consider a construction or renovation loan next time you plan a project; it might lead to amazing results.

Is a lack of funds keeping you from investing in real estate? Do not let it!


Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC
Hard Money Lender
Hard Money Loans
Hard Money Loan
Arizona Tel:  (623) 582-4444
Texas Tel:      (512) 516-1177
Dennis Dahlberg Broker/RI/CEO

NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027
111 Congress Ave | Austin | Texas | 78701

About:  Dennis has been working in the real estate industry in some capacity for the last 40 years. He purchased his first property when he was just 18 years old. He quickly learned about the amazing investment opportunities provided by trust deed investing and hard money loans. His desire to help others make money in real estate investing led him to specialize in alternative funding for real estate investors who may have trouble getting a traditional bank loan. Dennis is passionate about alternative funding sources and sharing his knowledge with others to help make their dreams come true. Dennis has been married to his wonderful wife for 43 years. They have 2 beautiful daughters 5 amazing grandchildren. Dennis has been an Arizona resident for the past 40 years. © 2020 Level 4 Funding LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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