This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
Determining not only the general character of a building, but also the adaptability of a particular building to a particular site, are most important, as it would be obviously an ill-judged investment to finance the building of an apartment house on Broadway near Wall Street, or a large office building on Washington Heights. The best judgment of the lender must be brought into play in considering the proper improvement for a particular neighborhood, as upon this depends the success of the operation, and the lender, as well as the builder, needs a successful operation, if his business is to continue a profitable one.
The chief risk to the lender is the builder's failing to complete the building. A careful investigation of the builder's references, through material associations and other sources, will generally give the necessary information.
It is obvious that in the handling of building loans, practical knowledge of building and of architecture, to a more or less degree, is a requisite. The technical knowledge and advice of the engineer and architect are often required. In the ordinary types of five or six-story buildings, such advice is not necessary, except in special work, such as deep foundation work, as the building loan man is supposed to have a general practical knowledge of how to build. But the lender of money for a building loan on a ten to twenty story fireproof building should employ competent engineering and architectural supervision and advice to see that the plans and specifications are correct and adequate, and that the building is built according to them.