Construction Finance and the Problem With Banks

High street banks are often the benchmark for clients looking to borrow money. This is true of personal mortgages, loans and no less so for funding building projects. Most would agree that they provide the cheapest rates and all builders and developers are looking for the cheapest construction finance.

The problem is that for most clients the high street are simply not an option at the moment, and from news I have had, nor will they be for the foreseeable future. I have dealt with clients who should be able to obtain bank funding, having clean credit, a good track record and years of experience in the sector. They are still being declined for various reasons, such as the loan amount is too low, the type of build is not what the bank wants, they have other loans that would need to be repaid first – the list goes on.

However, just because your current bank will not give you construction finance does not mean that there are no options available to you. It does mean though that you should not judge quotes we, or others give you, on the basis that the rate of interest or fees might be more than you are used to or were expecting.

Off high street lenders are NEVER going to offer building finance as cheap as the big banks. They are specialists filling a gap in the market, and to be frank, they know that your options are limited. Lenders such as this are mostly funded by investors who want to see a return on their money and the lender themselves need to charge a margin to stay in business. The market has set the rates that others are prepared to pay and so you have a stark choice – pay the higher rates or do not borrow the money. For those that are cash rich there is no issue but for the majority that want to leverage their capital it is the difference between building or not building.

Of course, paying more for the construction finance means less profit for you, the developer, but it does mean you are making more profit than not doing any work at all. If you cannot get a project funded at a high street rate then the rates you have in mind or might want to pay are not applicable for comparison. A bank may have given you funds at 1.5% above base in the past but that is irrelevant now. The past is not today.

The fact that building finance is available is good news but now is as crucial a time as ever to use a broker with experience and knowledge of the market. Making the wrong choice could cost you thousands in unnecessary fees and interest.

Going through the internet looking for lenders directly is possible, of course. But how long will that take you? Hours or days? How do you know they will be the best fit for your project? Will they give you all the information you need day 1?

Working with an experienced broker can make the process much easier as they will have a real understanding of how each lender works, the process they go through and what costs you can expect, before you get too far into an application.

So, construction finance is out there but for your own sanity don’t automatically compare it to what you are used to and what you think should be available.