How Construction Loans Work

Construction loans are a type of loan designed to fund the building or renovation of a residential or commercial property. Residential construction loans for private homes are usually funded through banks and credit unions. Construction loans for business purposes and commercial real estate projects are typically secured through private lenders (especially nowadays with many banks reacting to economic uncertainties by cutting back or stopping altogether lending for business purposes).

Construction loans are a type of loan designed to fund the building or renovation of a residential or commercial property.

While various types of construction loans are available, all have one purpose: to provide funds for a construction project while it is underway.

“Private lenders play a crucial role in supporting construction projects by offering flexible financing options. When considering a construction loan, private lenders prioritize the security of their investment by requiring collateral. By assessing the borrower’s ability to repay the loan and carefully evaluating credit scores and other factors, private lenders ensure responsible lending practices.

The loan amount and repayment terms are tailored to the unique characteristics of each project, such as size and type, as well as the borrower’s available resources and ability to comfortably repay the loan upon project completion. Private lenders often prefer financing smaller projects, which generally involve lower risk.

Typically, construction loans are designed for a specific timeframe, typically ranging from three months to a year. In most cases, this allows ample room for the project to be completed successfully.

However, construction timelines can sometimes extend beyond the original loan term due to unforeseen circumstances or unexpected costs. In such cases, borrowers and private lenders can work together to explore bridge loans, refinancing options, or to extend the original loan to ensure a project’s successful outcome.

Commercial construction loans are typically used to fund new single- and multi-family home construction, additions and renovations to existing buildings, and horizontal improvements, such as utilities and access improvements. In California, Private lenders may require additional documentation for a business purpose construction loan depending on the type of project involved. This usually involves providing detailed information about the project, such as drawings, specifications, materials list, and cost estimates. It is crucial for borrowers to share accurate information to ensure timely approval and financing.

Types of Construction Loans

While there are two basic types of construction loans, “construction-to-permanent loans” and “stand-alone construction loans,” Enact Partners lends only on stand-alone construction loans. These kinds of loans cover only the construction phase. Once the construction is finished, borrowers would need to secure a long-term mortgage as necessary to cover other aspects of their project.

In contrast, with construction-to-permanent loans (also known as “one-time close” or “all-in-one” loans) borrowers initially secure the loan to cover construction costs and then transition into a traditional mortgage once construction is completed.

How Construction Loans Work

Construction loans operate differently from traditional mortgages. Instead of receiving a lump sum upfront, borrowers access funds in stages throughout the construction process. In addition, lenders typically monitor progress and approve each draw request as the project unfolds.

During construction, borrowers pay interest-only payments on the amount disbursed to date. This arrangement minimizes the financial burden during construction.

Key Considerations

Obtaining a construction loan requires careful consideration of several key factors:

  • Down Payment: Construction loans usually require a higher down payment than traditional mortgages. Lenders usually want a down payment of at least 25% of the project’s total cost.
  • Construction Plan and Budget: Lenders review the construction plan and budget to ensure feasibility and accuracy. A detailed plan and budget are crucial for approval.
  • Interest Rates and Terms: Construction loan interest rates are typically higher than traditional bank mortgages.


Commercial construction loans are indispensable for builders and developers on construction or business renovation projects. Understanding the basics of construction loans is crucial for successful project planning and financing. By grasping the ins and outs of construction loans, you can more confidently navigate the complexities of your project from start to finish. 

The Enact Partners team has decades of experience in commercial real estate development and lending, so we understand the challenges borrowers face. We understand that speed and ease of closing, flexibility, creativity, and direct access to lending decision makers are important. We invite you to reach out to us today to discuss your construction loan needs. We’re happy to help you weigh options for getting your commercial real estate project funded and off the ground.

Contact Us About Your Borrowing Needs

(760) 516-7776 | [email protected] |

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