Buying a newly-constructed home? Fun! Financing your newly-constructed home? Not so much.
Homebuilders feel you on this. When it comes time to find a mortgage, they have ways of making the process a little less of a hassle. They will have partnered with “preferred lenders” who work closely with them and know the builder’s paperwork, their schedules, deadlines, and their procedures. This may make the transaction come together more quickly, more smoothly, and with less effort on the part of the buyer.
What Are the Advantages of Preferred Lenders?
Under federal law, homebuilders can’t charge less for homes that are financed by preferred lenders. They also can’t require buyers to use their preferred lenders. But they can (and do) offer certain benefits for borrowing from them.
Buyers who use preferred lenders may get credits on their closing costs. The builder might promise an appliance upgrade, a more premium type of flooring or countertops, or other enhancements to the home.
Purchasers of newly-built homes may be able to meet with the preferred lender outside of “banker’s hours” in the development’s model home. This can make scheduling mortgage meetings much easier for busy people.
Most significantly, the close working relationship between builder and banker may help make the whole application, approval, and closing process easier and faster for everyone. As mentioned, preferred lenders know the builder’s timeline, terminology, and processes. They know the milestone dates and construction schedules. This enables them to coordinate the completion of the required home loan paperwork more quickly and accurately. There is simply less chance of miscommunication between the finance and construction companies.
Of course, the most important things for most people in choosing a mortgage are getting the best mortgage rates and getting the most favorable loan terms. Preferred finance companies usually offer very competitive interest rates and closing costs--though it’s still a good idea to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
How to Work with a Preferred Lender
The first step toward doing business with a preferred lender is to learn all you can about the relationship between it and the builder. The builder/seller is required by law to inform you about how it is affiliated with the lender. That’s valuable information. Ask questions about the relationship between the two entities if you’re not clear on it.
Once you’ve decided to go with the preferred lender, the transaction should move along like any other real estate transaction. The lender will request your financial information, so it’s a good idea to have that organized early in the process. It makes sense to review your credit history and to clear up any errors it may contain.
It’s also a good idea to be represented by an attorney in the transaction—and this is true regardless of who is financing your purchase. Ideally, you should retain a lawyer early in the process so that all legal issues can be resolved before closing.
Preferred Lenders and Your New Home
As anyone who’s ever purchased a newly-constructed home can tell you, the process is a little different than buying an existing home. Many people find it fulfilling—and even fun—to be involved in the design and outfitting of their new residence from the ground up. Using a preferred lender to finance the new home of your dreams often makes the buying process smoother, faster, and easier. Having fewer financing details to worry about gives you more time and energy to focus on the more engaging parts of the transaction—such as choosing your appliances, flooring, and custom features. That’s the best possible reason for using a preferred lender.
By Senior Editor Jim Trumm of ConsumersAdvocate.org