We've called other banks to see how competitive their rates and terms were in comparison to Coastline's. Most banks don't care about these types of loans since they default at a higher rate, and they tend to not make as much money per effort put in.
Dennis and I have also been brainstorming about how to save money for this project. Thoughts of taking on a roommate while we save to offset some of these upcoming costs is one. It's not a bad idea considering the alternative is to move back home with the parents.
We found a couple resources to help figure out if any of the lots we're viewing are in flood zones and require insurance. Flood Buddy seems pretty legit and while it's difficult to use, the FEMA flood maps are the official records. Although, it's interesting to note that these can change from year to year.
Also, we started to do some research on how to determine cost per sq. ft. This is important when determining your house budget and if you can build a house that is priced within the neighborhood you're considering. For instance, you don't want to build a 2,200 sq. ft house that costs $350,000 in a neighborhood where similar houses can be had for $200,000. Your bank would never approve it and you'd have to foot the bill between the difference of appraisal and amount financed.