Welcome to BuildingAdvisor.com®

Our Mission is to help homeowners plan and complete
successful building and remodeling projects, from start to finish.
We provide free  information and  resources to help you:

  • Evaluate a building lot and buy it at the best price.
  • Develop a design that’s just right for you.
  • Decide what work to do yourself, what to hire out.
  • Negotiate successfully with sellers, designers,
    contractors, subs, and other professionals.
  • Accurately estimate project costs.
  • Build a healthy, low-energy, and durable building.
  • Get your project built on time and on budget.
  • Reduce your costs.
  • Reduce your risk.
  • And keep your sanity!

Cold Weather Painting
Wet Basement Causes & Cures
Preventing Cost Overruns

BuildingAdvisor is an independent website supported by ads placed on our pages by Google. We have no relationship with any advertisers, products, or services mentioned on our site, and therefore no conflicts of interest. Our information is written with the sole purpose of helping our readers.

Whether you are an owner/builder who wants to do it all,  or plan to use the services of an architect, general contractor, subcontractors, or a construction manager (or aren’t sure which way to go), we can help make your project go  more smoothly – and save money and  gray hairs in the process.  Who we are

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably the kind of person that wants to play an active role in your building project, maybe designing and contracting it yourself, and maybe even swinging a hammer. It’s great to be actively involved. You’re much more likely to end up with the project you want in terms of design, cost,  energy efficiency, comfort, and durability. It’s not that the other people on your building team  don’t want to do a good job. But no one understands your goals, or cares as much about your project as you.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about this project for years, or maybe you just got started yesterday. In either case, you should begin at the beginning — assessing your needs, capabilities, time constraints, and budget,  and deciding what responsibilities to take on yourself and which to outsource to others.

The site is organized roughly in the order of a typical project, although in reality, you’ll often be jumping back and forth between sections. Your three biggest assets going forward will be knowledge, planning, and communication:

Knowledge – The more you bring to your project, the better the outcome. Learn as much as you can about design, materials, building systems, contracts and contractors, costs, and risks before proceeding. Take advantage of the  vast amount of information available today on the Web and elsewhere. Without knowledge you are shooting in the dark!

Planning – The more time you spend planning, the faster, better, and cheaper your  project will be — with the fewest headaches. Construction on the building site may be the most exciting phase, but the planning is the most important. Surprises on the job site always cause headaches and cost money, so don’t be surprised — plan ahead!

Communication – Remember, it’s your project. If you don’t clearly communicate your desires to all members of your building team, don’t expect things to come out the way you want. They won’t!  Your contract, plans, specifications,and budget are your primary tools for communication. Learn how to use these effectively to keep everyone working together, on track, to meet your goals.

So don’t skimp on any of these. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time necessary to learn the ropes, to formulate a good plan and realistic budget, and to communicate clearly with everyone on your team. Invest your time in good planning, the building will almost build itself.

Ask a question and we’ll get you an answer as soon possible.

Let us know what you think. Email your feedback and suggestions for how we can improve our site.

Share your experiences with others by posting a comment at the end of any article.


  1. Typical Closing Costs on Construction Loan?

    Hello, I have recently approached a bank for construction loan. They have a 1% origination fee, which the bank would waive if I were to keep the mortgage loan with them. Is this typical practice among lenders? Next, the bank would also charge me about $2500 towards title company charges, escrow, appraisals, underwriting etc. Again, is this cost typical with a construction loan. Appreciate your advise.
    Thanks, SK

    • buildingadvisor says:

      Total closing costs, including the “origination fee” on a construction loan generally range from 2% to 3% of the loan amount. Closing costs tend to be higher on construction loans than traditional mortgages because they are short-term loans and banks do not resell them – so they make most of their money on fees. Also, these loans involve more work by the bank in terms of appraisals and inspections, and are considered more risky.

      The origination fee is a negotiating point and is generally lower for bank customers and people with better credit scores. Fees of .5% to 1% are common. Some banks will negotiate on the fee or waive it, but you really need to look at the total cost of the loan. If one bank changes less on closing costs, but a slightly higher interest rate, you may end up spending the same amount on the loan.

      If you are committing to a mortgage loan with this bank, it sounds like you might be one-time-close loan, in which the construction loan converts to a traditional mortgage when the home is complete. These have pros and cons – the main benefits are greater convenience, lower total closing costs, and less upfront risk for the borrower. You don’t need to apply for a second loan.

      The biggest con is that you cannot shop around for a mortgage loan and may end up with a higher rate. On the other hand, if you believe that interest rates will be rising in the months ahead, locking in a permanent loan rate now could be a good thing.

      It’s always good to shop around, and it never hurts to negotiate. If another bank offers a better deal, you may be able to negotiate a better deal with the first bank. Staring with the bank where you do most of your personal or business banking is always a good place to begin your search.

      Best of luck with your new home!

  2. Maggie Libbey says:

    We are having a custom home built for us, and finding your site has been a HUGH stroke of luck — even while being a little overwhelming. THANK YOU, your information will be SO helpful to us!
    Maggie L



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