Getting financing in any state can be troublesome and Iowa is no exception. You just need to make sure that you understand the process beforehand and are ready for the required steps prior to starting.
- Credit check - Any loan officer in Iowa worth their salt runs a credit check on you (and your partner) before they go any further. This can be daunting if you know you have a bad credit history, but don't use fear as an excuse to never look into building a new home. Your credit check might not be as bad as you think and it might also be very easy to fix. Everyone can get a free credit check once a year from FreeCreditReport. Go ahead and take advantage of this free service before you go to the bank, so you have some idea of what to expect.
- Understand your options - Did you know that you can apply for a mortgage even before you decide on a builder? Did you know that deficiency judgments are not allowed in Iowa? What kind of mortgage rate do you want? How much of a loan are you hoping to get? Will you set up automatic payments? These are the kind of things that you need to know at the beginning. Look in your area and see if there are any free workshops on home ownership. The Iowa Home Ownership Education Project is a great place to find local classes about home ownership.
- Find the right loan officer - One word: referrals. Never underestimate the power of someone else's opinion. If you know somebody who has just built their home, ask them about their loan officer. If they absolutely loved them, then there is a good chance that you will, too. But don't be afraid to shop around to get the best person for the job! And make sure that even if they are a nice person, they are still going to give you a good deal.
- Find your builder - While your loan officer works on getting you approved, go ahead and start looking for a builder. The largest custom home builders in Iowa are: Regency Homes, Jerry's Homes and Hubbell Homes. For a list of more builders, be sure to look at the Home Builders Association of Iowa. Before you contact your builder, talk to your family and agree on what you want in a new home. Nothing says chaos like arguing in public.
- Close your loan - When you close your loan, you sign documents... lots of them. Make sure you get copies of everything! It might help to bring a pencil and paper to write down exactly what you are signing, as your head will be spinning before it is all over. At this point, you will also need to hand over your down-payment and closing fees, so don't forget your checkbook.
- Congratulations - Give yourself a pat on the back. You are now the owner of your dream home!
It's not easy getting financing for a new home in Iowa, but it doesn't have to be a terrible experience. If you have a plan of action, a good loan officer and a builder that understands your needs, you will be well on your way to building your home of the future!
Kimberly Carrillo is a Specialist with IF Development who works with builders across the nation. In her private life, Kimberly enjoys writing plays and cartooning.