We knew we wanted to build closer to my husband's school, but weren't sure how much land would cost and if we could get a loan. Basically we had a ton of questions. We looked near our current home in a newer development but the land was very pricey. It was nice, as it already had sewer and water connections. In the end, it was just too much. Another spot was large, but required a well and septic, which made it too costly. At this point we weren't sure if we were going to be able to build.
We both grew up 10 minutes from our current home and knew there were a couple of newer subdivisions. In the end, we found 1/3 of an acre in a newer, quiet area. It required well water, but had county sewer. The most important part was the price was right. We put in an offer.
We talked to a few banks about land loans. Some don't offer them, others wanted a 30% downpayment. We found a bank in the area with a 20% downpayment, 5 year ARM amortized over 30 years. The loan process dragged out longer than we expected. The communication from the loan officer was less than stellar and hindered the process. Phone calls and emails were only returned after multiple attempts by me.
In our contract to buy the land, we had a date to close on the loan. Unfortunately, despite promises from the loan officer that the appraisal was in the works, I found out it had not been ordered until 2 days before the deadline. I found out because the appraiser called me asking for directions to the land. He said he had just received the request the night before. Our loan officer left much to be desired when it came to communication and attention to detail. A local branch manager stepped in to make sure our loan was finished in a timely manner. Because we missed the deadline, we had to sign a contract extention. We also had to renegotiate the purchase price, as the appraisal was less. We finally closed on the loan and the land was ours.
Our plan was to pay off the land in 1 year and then the building would start. After all, we still had to sell our current home and were under the assumption it would take 9 months or more due to its features and the market.