Countrywide Home Loans does construction loans. They will help you with the land purchase, too. It becomes the "first draw" of the loan. Each time a contractor submits a bill for their work to Countrywide, it is considered a "draw". The lender pays the contractor. You pay interest only on the draws as they occur until the property is complete. They then flip it into a 30 year or other kind of regular mortgage. This gives you some breathing room to pay rent while your house is being built. You do need a set of plans that a contractor has bid on in order to get this loan. Get your dream plans, (you can often buy them without going to an architect), get your contractor's bid(s), ( I suggest you get more than one), and find the land. Contact a Countrywide person who knows these programs. They will walk you through it. As far as contractors go, each contractor must maintain good standing with the licensing board. I am sure your state has this in their website. I can't help you in your area with names, but architects can. Also, when you are cruising around and see someone doing some huge addition or 2nd story add-on, you might want to go and inquire. Get references. Good luck.