How to Qualify for a Spec Construction Loan

First-time real estate investors could find spec construction loans a challenge to qualify for and very complicated. Get a sense for how construction loans are different from conventional mortgages and some strategies to maximize your chance of qualifying.

Construction loans differ from ordinary commercial loans in a variety of ways. They are more complicated than regular mortgages and funding is given according to a specific timetable. An initial amount of funding will be given to the borrower, and then the remainder of the loan will be dispersed on a monthly basis, or at the borrower’s request. Most lenders will require verification of a borrower’s expenses over the course of a construction project, which can create complications.

Construction loans are especially tricky to qualify for and are considered too risky by most banks. Most lenders have difficulty underwriting construction loans because they have to rely on the borrower’s assumptions about the cost and profitability of a given project. Most lenders are especially wary of spec loans and consider them too risky because there is no guarantee of a future sale.

A spec loan is usually given on a short-term basis and is not meant to be a long-term mortgage. The aim of the borrower is to sell the property quickly after construction is completed. It is crucial that potential borrowers can demonstrate their expertise in order to qualify for a spec loan.

If you can talk up your expertise to increase your chances of qualifying for a spec construction loan

Your financial projections are what a spec lender will rely on to underwrite your loan and so it is essential to demonstrate your expertise. If a lender doesn’t have faith that you will finish a project, or that you will earn a profit in the end, in most cases your construction loan won’t be approved.

The best way to qualify for a spec loan is to give any potential lender confidence in your knowledge and experience when it comes to real estate. But there are additional strategies you can employ as well.

Specific tactics to help you qualify for a spec construction loan

Seek out lenders located near your construction site. A local lender will have an emotional investment in the area and will have a better understanding of your project’s potential. Ensure you have enough capital up-front to make a sufficient down payment. Lenders will want an assurance that you have a sufficient stake in your construction project. The risk entailed by a spec loan usually entails a significant down payment.

Have a detailed understanding of your builders draw-process, meaning know how much your builder intends to spend at every step of your project and be sure this schedule matches the structure of your loan.

In short to qualify for a spec loan, demonstrate your expertise, find local lenders, have sufficient cash on hand and know your projects timetable. By employing these strategies, you maximize the chances of your spec loan getting approved.