For more than 20 years, Graham Builders, Hawaii’s premier design+build firm, has helped hundreds of homeowners bring their dream home to reality. From its early years, the locally owned company was a pioneer in developing the concept of multigenerational homes. Graham Builders recognized Hawaii’s unique culture and how we embrace ohana, and has led the effort to design and build multigenerational homes for families.

With so many in need of multigenerational living solutions, Graham Builders has teamed up with Graham Mortgage Inc. to provide important financing information and options. Since it is common for ohana to pool resources, families need to be aware of what is involved in the financing phase before they begin on design.

“Many families believe that just because mom and dad own the land with no mortgage on the property, that it is easy to qualify for a construction loan,” said Charlotte Graham, president of Graham Mortgage Inc. “This is typical where the parents have the assets, but are on a fixed income and the children have the earning power with limited assets and more expenses.”


Like regular home loans, lenders look at the borrower’s debt to income ratio, credit scores, liquid assets, employment stability and other factors before a construction loan can be approved. This loan requires more documentation, though, like copies of the construction contract, specs and bond among others.


Construction loans pose a bigger risk to lenders because homeowners are essentially borrowing money for something that does not yet exist. Additionally, lenders want the construction project to be successful. They look at the builder to determine his experience level, if the builder has successfully completed similar projects and if the builder is bondable. As a result, construction loans are typically more expensive, since lenders tack on additional interest and points to the loan.

“Financing a newly built home is more involved than most homeowners think, which is why we have partnered with Graham Mortgage to talk about the importance of setting a budget, pooling together family resources and financing options at our monthly seminar,” said Evan Fujimoto, president of Graham Builders. “We present a complete program to better prepare the homeowner for their project. It is important that homeowners meet with lenders or mortgage brokers to understand all the financing options available to them before moving forward with the project. This is especially the case for those interested in building a multigenerational home because there is more than one family involved.”

Attend Graham Builders’ upcoming seminar on Saturday, April 27 at the Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. Visit or call 593-280 to register.

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