Q: Where can I find an exclusive buyer’s broker to help me find vacant land? And, where can I get an acquisition-to-construction-to-permanent financing?
I’m also wondering if it is better to buy a lot to hold for a year to serve as the equity in order to finance the building of a house? I have a lot of assets, but very little income, so I’m finding it hard to qualify for the financing I need.
A: You’re in a tough position. Most conventional lenders want to see that you have enough income to pay for the expenses of owning and maintaining your home. In your case, you’ll want a lender to finance the purchase of land, and the building of a home.
That’s asking a lot if you don’t have the income to qualify. Lenders will wonder how you’re going to pay the monthly expenses for the property, including the mortgage, insurance and real estate taxes. And, they will wonder if you are going to default.
Here are some possible options. If you have a lot of assets that are being held by a financial investment firm, like Merrill Lynch, you may be able to get a loan through them that is secured by your investments.
Another option would be to simply liquidate your stocks to come up with a larger down payment, perhaps all of the cost of purchasing the land, and some of the cost of building the home. This would lower your debt-to-income ratio, which is a critical numbers lenders use to assess whether or not you can afford your mortgage.
Finally, there may be a local bank that will agree to give you a loan despite the unusual circumstances, and keep it in the bank’s own portfolio of investments rather than reselling it to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on the secondary mortgage market. When banks keep loans in-house, they have more control over the lending restrictions and may be able to secure the loan with your assets rather than against your income.
I’d find a real estate attorney who can help you work through these issues and assist you in thinking outside the box when it comes to financing this purchase.
As for finding an exclusive buyer’s agent, you can go online to www.NAEBA.com, which is the website for the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. The site can give you contact information for exclusive buyer’s agents in your area.
Jan. 19, 2009.