24 Mar, 2023
woman thinking of her approved construction mortgage

Are you considering building a new home or renovating an existing property? If so, construction mortgages can provide you with the financing you need to make your vision a reality. 

There’s no denying that the prospect of building your dream home from the ground up can be exhilarating. You have the freedom to choose the perfect piece of land, design every detail of your home, and watch your vision come to life before your eyes.

However, taking such a grand ambition from your imagination to the solidity of bricks and mortar requires substantial financial support. This is where construction mortgages come to the rescue. 

Tailor-made for aspirational homeowners, these loans offer you the funds and flexibility necessary to build your own home.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty details of construction mortgages in BC, Canada. We’ll look at the difference between traditional and private construction mortgages and discuss their unique features, advantages, and processes. We’ll also share invaluable tips on how you can successfully navigate this financial terrain to help bring your dream home to life.

How Do Construction Loans Work?

Construction mortgages are a type of financing used to fund the construction of a new property or the renovation of an existing one. They typically have shorter terms and higher interest rates than traditional mortgages, as they are designed to be repaid once the construction is complete or the property is sold.

What You Need To Know Before Applying For a Construction Mortgage In BC, Canada

Before applying for a construction loan, there are some things you should know:

Application And Approval

To apply for a construction mortgage, you will need to provide a detailed plan for the project including blueprints, timelines, and cost estimates. The lender will review your application and determine the loan amount and terms based on the scope of the project and your creditworthiness.

Unlike conventional mortgages, the collateral for a construction home is an unfinished home, making construction loans riskier for lenders. Eligibility requirements for construction loans are stricter than regular mortgages and include aspects like income, debt levels, and credit score.

Most lenders will allow you to borrow up to 75% of the construction cost, meaning that you will need to fund 25% of construction costs out of your pocket.


Once your loan is approved, the lender will typically disburse funds in a series of payments, known as draws, as construction progresses. These draws are typically proportionate to the completion of the house to ensure that the funds are actually used towards constructing the property.

Interest And Payments

Unlike a traditional mortgage, where the entire loan amount is disbursed upfront and interest is paid on the outstanding balance, construction loans typically only charge interest on the amount disbursed. Most lenders usually allow four draws. 

An interest reserve for payments is often taken out of the 1st draw.

Conversion To Permanent Financing

Once the construction is complete, you may need to convert the construction loan into a traditional mortgage. This process typically involves working with a lender to secure a permanent mortgage that will replace the construction loan. By doing so, homeowners can enjoy stable, predictable monthly payments over the life of the loan, which can span 15, 20, or 30 years.

Private vs. Traditional Construction Mortgage 

The main difference between private and traditional construction mortgages is the funding source.

A private construction mortgage is typically provided by an individual or a private company rather than a traditional bank or credit union. These types of mortgages may be more flexible in terms of their lending criteria but may also have higher interest rates.

On the other hand, regular construction mortgages are usually more standardized and may offer lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. At the same time, they come with stringent lending criteria and require a higher credit score or down payment.

7 Criterias That Make Private Construction Mortgages a Good Choice

Forest house built using a construction mortgage

When considering a construction mortgage, private lenders offer several advantages that make them a viable option for financing your new home construction project. And these are:

1 – Faster Approval Process

Unlike traditional bank loans that are subject to rigorous scrutiny and a lengthy approval process, private lenders in British Columbia can expedite approval times. Without being restricted by the same regulatory requirements as banks, they can quickly process your application, allowing you to initiate your construction project sooner.

2 – Flexible Terms And Conditions

Private lenders offer tailored solutions to suit your needs, and they understand that not all construction projects fit into a conventional mould. They can accommodate various construction types, schedules, and budgets, which can be advantageous when your project does not adhere to traditional lending criteria.

3 – Draw Schedule Flexibility

Unlike traditional banks with typically strict draw schedules with predetermined disbursement milestones, private lenders offer increased flexibility for draw schedules. This allows for better alignment with the progress of your construction project and helps minimize any cash flow issues.

4 – Financing For Unconventional Projects

Due to their flexibility, private lenders can finance construction projects that banks may deem too risky or non-conforming. This can be immensely beneficial if your project involves unique architectural designs, alternative building materials, or if your property is in a remote location.

5 – Creative Financing Solutions

Private lenders are known to be more innovative in their approach to financing. They can craft customized loan structures for you, incorporating interest-only payments or leveraging additional assets as collateral to ensure the best-suited financial package for your construction project.

6 – Higher Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratios

Private lenders are usually more open to offering construction loans with higher LTV ratios. This means borrowers may be required to come up with a smaller down payment (at least 20%) or secure the required financing with lesser upfront capital. These make private lenders an attractive option for borrowers with limited resources.

7 – Bridging The Gap Between Construction And Permanent Financing

Many borrowers opt for a construction loan with a private lender, knowing that they will later refinance with a traditional lender to secure a long-term mortgage at a lower interest rate upon completion of the construction phase. Private lenders can accommodate this transition, making it seamless for you to obtain financing and begin construction without delay.

How a Mortgage Broker Can Help

Working with a trusted mortgage broker in BC, Canada, is the smartest decision when searching for the best private construction mortgage lender for your needs.

Mortgage brokers are licensed professionals who have access to a variety of lenders and can help you compare rates and terms from different lenders. 

Your mortgage broker can help you find a private mortgage lender who can meet your specific needs and provide you with the financing you need to complete your construction project. 

They will also offer guidance on the mortgage process, help you navigate any potential challenges, understand the different types of private construction mortgage loans available — such as construction-to-permanent loans — and choose the best one for you.

If you’re considering a construction mortgage loan in BC, Canada, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about your options and get started on your construction project.

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