By Jennifer Tucker
October 4, 2022 | 3 Min. Read
When you’re ready to fulfill your dream of ownership, you might be weighing the pros and cons of buying an existing home or buying land to build your dream home. There are a few key differences between applying for a traditional mortgage and applying for a land loan. Here, we help you decode some of the most common land loan requirements.
Financing land is more complex and can come with additional hurdles for future homeowners. Before you apply for a land loan, it’s important to understand:
Maybe the most significant difference between getting a mortgage and getting a land loan is that you’ll be required to fulfill certain property checks as part of the land loan process. These property checks help your lender understand the condition of the land you want to purchase and your plans for land use, which helps them assess the risk associated with lending. Property checks can include boundary surveys, zoning and land use restrictions, and access checks.
Most lenders require a boundary survey before you can get a loan for land. A boundary survey is performed by a professional land surveyor to locate and verify each corner of the lot and place markers to define property lines. The surveyor’s assessment is included in the paperwork you present to the lender.
Lenders will also ask you about your intended use of the property you plan to buy. This requires you to check the zoning and land use restrictions. Your local planning department can help you understand how the land is zoned and inform you of any restrictions on how you can use the land.
Many lenders will also ask you to provide detailed plans for land development. Your plans will depend on whether the land is raw, improved, or unimproved. This is often determined by checks to assess whether the land has access to utilities like water, sewer, electricity, cable hookups, and public roads.
After you’ve found the perfect property and have completed the required property checks, the next step on your path to land ownership is finding the right lender. Land loans are more complex than traditional mortgages because of the unique property check requirements, and this may influence your decision about which lender to choose.
Not all lenders offer land loans and those who do vary in the types of loans they offer. A local bank or credit union is often the best fit for a land loan in your community because they are familiar with the area where you want to buy and build.
Marine Credit Union can help you find the right land loan to reach your goals. Keep your loan in the community. Get in touch with a Marine Credit Union lender today.