Spec Home Financing: Why Private Money is the Real Deal

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Spec Home Financing: Why Private Money is the Real Deal

It’s doubtful that any builder has the cash in on hand to construct a spec home out thin air. Most developers need some form of capital to bring their visions into reality, and like any other form of real estate financing, there are a variety of options. When it comes to spec home financing there are three broad classes, banks, credit lines, equity loans, and private money. When it comes to spec homes, private money is almost always your best bet.

The great recession still haunts conventional banks. Come in with a word like “speculative,” attached to your application and expect a few raised eyebrows. In the case of spec homes, banks only offer loans to the most experienced developers, but there is a catch. Even if you qualify at a brick and mortar bank, the loan they give you is based on a set percentage of the lands appraised value. Will 90 percent of a 50,000 dollar plot cover the cost of constructing a 300,000 dollar home? Probably not.

Credit lines are another option, but qualifying for a 300,000 dollar line of credit is no easy feat.

So another option might be leveraging your personal assets to finance your next project. Yes, you put your real house on the line to construct a home based purely on speculation. No matter how much you might believe in your project, this is not a sound idea.

None of these options are exactly great choices when it comes to financing the construction of a spec home. But never fear not all hope is lost.

Private money advantages when it comes to spec home financing

Private money usually refers to individual investors or lenders who act more like investors in the upside potential of your property (i.e., Hard money). Private money offers an advantage over banks in that the loan terms are flexible, as draw schedules, and interest rates are up for negotiation. But above all these lenders are willing to offer funds as a percentage of a homes projected value, which means your loan can actually cover the cost of construction. Private money might be more expensive than say a home equity loan, but putting your actual house on the line to build a house on speculation is not a very sound strategy.

However, private lenders don’t just throw money away. These are individuals or groups with their own interests, and you will have to prove to them that your project is worthwhile.

Tactics to increase eligibility for spec home financing

You need to convince private investors and lenders to get on board with your project:

• Plan to develop an improved lot: It’s going to be hard to convince a seasoned investor to get on board if you intend to build an architectural gem in the middle of a desert landscape, ala Frank Lloyd Wright. Plan to develop your project on land that comes pre-connected to water, sewer lines, thoroughfares and the basic conveniences of modern life. Building on land in an urban area assures private investors that your property will sell quickly.

• Plan a project that can be finished quickly: Private lenders and investors don’t want to wait out a plodding construction project. Investors want to get a return, ideally as soon as possible, so have a clear plan to build your spec home with construction preferably lasting no more than six months. The shorter the timeline, the more imminent the promised return and the more likely you’ll be able to get private investors and lenders on board.

• Develop a story: convince investors of the possibility involved with your spec home project, spec homes are called spec homes because they are constructed based on speculation after all. Your speculations should be based on market realities and not pure fantasy. Research patterns of supply and demand in the immediate area. Say a university campus is expanding in an area with limited apartment availability and you plan to build low-cost housing for students. Citing real market trends like these will help convince private investors your project is worthwhile.

Using specific details like these will help convince private investors and lenders alike to get on board. With private money, you can get your spec home off the drawing board and into reality.

Dennis Dahlber Broker Ri CEO Level 4 Funding LLC
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 the Author:  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.

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