Don’t Fence Me In: You Can Buy Land With a Mortgage!

Sure, owning a house is pretty cool, but sometimes you feel like you could do better. Take your hall closet, for example. It’s small, there’s no place to put linens and barely enough room for heavy winter coats. What’s it even good for? Your house has served you well, but you had no idea how awkward the little (and almost impossible to fix) things, like that closet, could be.

Maybe it’s time to consider buying some land and starting over.

Borrowing Money for a Land Purchase

Strictly speaking, buying land is rarely done with a traditional mortgage. Instead, a commercial loan, in one of many forms, is utilized. From where you’re sitting, though, the two will look nearly identical. It all depends on what kind of land you’re buying and what it is that you intend to do with it. The kind of land that homeowners tend to choose will likely fall into one of these categories:

Raw land, that is, land without any major improvements like electricity, water, sewer or gas lines, is the most difficult to borrow against. The reason is simple: it’s generally pretty easy to walk away from this kind of property if you get tired of making payments or suddenly develop a serious allergy to oak trees. The bank’s left with a parcel of land that may take years to resell. It’s a big bummer for them.

Improved land has many or most of those above-listed improvements already installed on it. There may even be a potential building site already prepped and ready to go. It’s important to note that land that has a mobile home without a permanent foundation is also considered “improved.” Because mobile homes are considered personal property, that specific land configuration is still just a land transaction.

Home on an acreage. A permanent, safe and liveable home on an acreage is treated like a home sale, so you could theoretically buy a reasonable sized home on a small acreage using an FHA loan or a mansion on a hundred acres with a jumbo. It’s basically just a house with a really big yard. This is only the case for private homes, not for farms. That’s a whole other blog.

Examples of Loans Based on Land Usage

Again, the type of loan you may be able to secure depends heavily on the type of land and what you plan to do with it. Here are a couple of examples:

Example 1. You’re an avid bird watcher and want to buy an extremely rural, 40ish acre parcel to turn into your own personal campground and bird paradise. You don’t plan to add any utilities to the raw land.

This is the hardest of situations, which is why we started with it. Because an undeveloped piece of land like this is likely to have a smaller purchase point, your local bank may be willing to write a 10 or 15 year portfolio loan for for the buy, with the land as at least part of the collateral. You may need to bring as much as 50 percent down, however, to mitigate the risk you represent. Qualifying won’t be a cake walk, but if you have ample income and seem like a good risk, a local bank will loan to you at their own discretion. Same song applies to a credit union you may belong to.

Other options for financing your bird paradise include asking the owner to finance it (you’ll still need a downpayment, usually 10 percent is plenty) or borrowing against something else you have that has enough value. This might mean you’re taking out a home equity loan or borrowing against your retirement plan.

Example 2. That hall closet has finally driven you far enough out of your mind that you’re hatching a plan to build your own home, with the help of a professional contractor. As soon as the land is acquired, you’re going to start on the construction phase of your life.

This is the kind of land transaction that lenders like. Using the plans for that future home, the value of homes like it nearby and detailed information about the materials you want to use, your bank can determine a reasonable final value for your construction project. This is where they start when determining how much to loan out.

Usually, you have to bring 10 to 20 percent to the table at closing, but these types of land loans are considerably easier to get than a raw land loan. This type of loan usually starts out as a construction loan that you or your contractor can treat like a credit line, taking out money for specific parts of the project as you go. When it comes time to lay the tile in the house, you or the contractor need only request the funds that it takes to cover supplies and the bank will cut you a check.

Once the house is totally done and a certificate of occupancy (where applicable) is issued, your bank will convert the loan into a true mortgage, per the terms you discussed when you applied for it in the first place. You won’t see most of this stuff happening, but it’s definitely going on in the background. With a loan of this sort, it’s good to understand what’s happening when that much money is at stake.

Do You Know a General Contractor…?

If you’ve decided to build a house, the relationship you have with your general contractor is really important. You don’t want someone that’s hard to get along with or can’t be counted on to complete work on time. That’s why your HomeKeepr community only recommends the best of the best.

Did you know you can find both a building contractor and a loan officer within the HomeKeepr system? It’s true! Your Realtor has really set you up for success with their recommendations — maybe you should send them a muffin basket…

The post Don’t Fence Me In: You Can Buy Land With a Mortgage! appeared first on HomeKeepr.

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Marc Iafrate, MBA
Capital City Real Estate Group
powered by eXp Realty
(919) 390-7810 Office
8319 Six Forks Road, Suite 201
Raleigh, NC 27615

About Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc.

Moving to North Carolina years ago was the best decision my family and I could have made. We were looking for a change from the cold Michigan winters and the volatile economic climate. The Triangle was the perfect choice with its mild winters, quality of life and diverse economic base. I have always held as my personal values and guiding principles: Professionalism, Integrity, Dependability and understand the meaning of perseverance! I began my real estate career in 1996 as a commercial investor. This led to a Director of Property Management position for multi-family and commercial property and now, residential real estate as the Broker/Owner of the Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. - eXp Realty here in Raleigh. I put myself through the evening MBA program at the University of Michigan while working full time and raising a family. Prior to real estate, I earned a Master of Science in Engineering from U of M and currently hold 2 U.S. Design Patents and had a successful corporate career in the automotive industry. As a result of that experience, I've successfully been able to apply my problem solving ability to business. Community Involvement Wake Forest Downtown, Inc. Board of Directors Wakefield Rotary Club of Wake Forest, NC Board of Directors Rotary Club President-Elect Rotary Club Secretary position Paul Harris Fellow In addition to the Rotary Club, I support causes which strengthen our local community such as the YMCA - We Build People Program and Habitat for Humanity My wife's favorite charity benefiting children is The Angel Tree We participate in our church food and clothing drives to benefit our local community We also support the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer's Association and the Humane Society Professional Associations North Carolina Real Estate Broker License South Carolina Real Estate Broker License National Association of Realtors (NAR) North Carolina Association of Realtors Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors We are committed to delivering outstanding customer service! Marc Iafrate, MBA Broker/Owner Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. powered by eXp Realty Raleigh, NC

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