You'd need to find a lender who does "lot loans". Buying dirt usually requires higher down payments since there's no collateral other than dirt. You might be looking at a 10, 20 or 30% down payment on a plot of land.
The lenders who typically do these loans hold them as portfolio loans at slightly higher rates since they're not using Wallstreet's money.
A local bank/credit union is your best bet to secure a lot loan since it's a shorter term loan usually which is good for their bottom line and they'll want another lender to come in when the construction loan is ready to pay off the lot loan and roll it all into the construction loan.
Rob Weber - Lending in all 50 states - NMLS# 641630... more
I'm a certified appraiser as well as associate broker, was also the SE review appraiser for a large provate lender out of NYC for many years, this isn't uncommon.
The only way to know what a home is worth is by listing and selling it, everythhing short is an opinion. That said, the appraiser has the opinion with the most clout as he has to comply with industry standard guidelines - which get more restrictive as time goes by.
I have and have placed numerous $1M clients in NFulton, it's not an easy price point in some areas. Several of those Milton/Alpharetta/East Cherokee communities are slammed with distressed homes - combine that with the mortgage, underwriting, appraisal and general economic issues and it's easy to see why appraisals are an issue. If the closed comps aren't there to support value, then it's not getting past underwriters. I have two clients looking at unfinished homes just like this - and I'm having a very hard time endorsing their purchase.
I have an appraisal section that might be useful - several topics - http://www.hrmiller.com/atlanta-appraisals.asp