Your best bet going the conventional route might be a cost plus contract or a build for fee contract. Many items make up the cost of new construction and in the past the banks were only willing to 75% of value, there was a specific reason for this and this was the fact that about 25% of the cost of new construction were fee based. The banks theorized the property was worth only 75% of the selling price since the fees & fluff did not constitute sticks & bricks. Examples of fees & fluff include but are not limited to real estate fees 6-7%, builder fees 10-12%, city impact fees 1-3%, developer fees 1-2%, construction related banking fees 1-3% and city permit fees 3-5%. If you were to add up all these â€œsoft costâ€ the number is roughly 25% of the total cost. Meaning the cost of the land, labor and materials is roughly 75% of the total cost hence the number the bank placed the value upon. In a direct answer to your question a cost plus contract generally benefits a consumer IF the builder you hire is ethical and has the skills to perform their job at a high level. Most custom builders today are project managers and bean counters with some infield experience in certain trades, the best builders are a combination of accountants, negotiators and project managers. Good luck in your endeavor!