USDA One-Time Close Construction

What is the USDA One-Time Close Construction Loan?

The USDA One-Time Close (OTC) Construction loan is a product that allows borrowers to combine financing for a lot purchase, construction and permanent mortgage into one first mortgage loan. Ideally suited for borrowers who are purchasing new construction, the USDA OTC loan offers the benefits of one closing for all financing.

Updated USDA OTC Program overlays and eligibility include:

  • Site-Built, Modular and Manufactured homes:
    • Maximum of $250,000 disbursement at closing for land acquisition or payoff.
  • Building permits (where required by the jurisdiction):
    • Site-Built and Modular home – applicable building permits to be obtained prior to closing.
    • Manufactured home – applicable building permits to be obtained prior to closing when the initial disbursement is greater than $75,000.
  • A minimum five percent (5%) contingency of the total cost to construct be built into the contract price. The contingency is not required for No Draw manufactured Home Transactions.

USDA One-Time Close Construction – The Basics

  • Designed to simplify the financing process for homebuyers, eliminating the need to obtain both a construction loan and permanent mortgage
  • Up to 100% Maximum LTV
  • For Construction-to-Permanent, closing occurs before construction begins
  • No payments due during the construction phase
  • Closing costs may be financed
  • 30-year fully amortizing fixed
  • No re-qualification once construction is complete
  • A single closing reduces closing costs, saving your borrowers money

What are the benefits?

Single Closing Saves Time and Money

With the USDA OTC loan, borrowers can secure financing for the purchase of the land, the construction and the home’s permanent mortgage in a single closing. Only one closing means only one set of closing costs, helping save money. It also allows the process to move forward without interruption from potential snags in financing other aspects later on.

Low Down Payment
  • The USDA OTC loan’s maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is up to 100%. This gives borrowers the freedom to close on the loan with 0% down
No Re-Qualifying

  • Once the construction phase is complete, the borrowers do not have to re-qualify for a permanent mortgage since the permanent loan is closed before construction begins
Fixed Rates

  • Since the permanent mortgage is closed before construction begins, the fixed rates on USDA OTC loans will not be subject to change during the construction phase or at any point

Who is eligible for a USDA One-Time Close Construction Loan?

The USDA OTC loan product is available to any borrower who meets the minimum qualifying criteria. This includes first time and repeat buyers. Here are the basic requirements for USDA OTC loan approval:

  • Borrower must have contracted with a builder (must be licensed general contractor)
  • Borrower must be purchasing the land at closing, or currently own their property
  • At closing, after funds are disbursed to cover the purchase of the land, the balance of the mortgage proceeds must be placed in an escrow account to be disbursed as construction progresses
  • Amortization of the permanent mortgage must begin no later than the first of the month following 60 days from the date of the final inspection or issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy
  • Maximum loan amounts will vary by location
  • Minimum FICO of 640

In which scenarios is the USDA One-Time Close Construction Loan a good option?

The USDA One-Time Close loan program can provide an ideal solution for the following borrower scenarios:

  • Building a new home on a vacant lot and in need of financing
  • Less-than-perfect credit rating
  • Not a lot of cash available for a down payment
  • Wants the security of a fixed interest rate
  • Having trouble finding an available home
  • Wants custom home features

Buying a Home with the USDA One-Time Close Construction Program

The process of buying a home with the USDA One-Time Close Loan begins with the borrower’s pre-approval to ensure they meet the necessary income and credit guidelines.

Next, the borrower must secure a general contractor or builder for the property and the lender must approve that builder. Once the builder has been confirmed, site selection begins.

Next, the project must be approved. The builder will submit the figures in terms of cost to the lender. The lender will then review the construction plans and costs and structure the loan accordingly. A construction contingency (typically around 5%) is usually added to the loan in case of overages, changes or unforeseen costs that may come up during construction.

Next, the loan is closed. The borrower provides the down payment while closing costs and escrows are handled. Now, construction can begin.

After construction is complete, the borrowers are free to move in to their new home. No re-qualifying necessary.

Other Programs to Explore

If the USDA One-Time Close Construction program does not work for a scenario, perhaps one of these programs will better suit your borrowers’ needs:

  • VA One-Time Close Construction, for eligible veterans and active duty military who are interested in building a new home
  • Fannie Mae HomeReady, designed to help low- to moderate-income borrowers achieve homeownership for as little as 3% down
  • To purchase a home or take cash out through a refinance: FHA 203(b) Standard