We can do a lot loan in California for up to 80% of the purchase price of a vacant lot. The lot should be less than 10 acres, although slightly larger parcels may be acceptable if in a subdivision of similar parcels, and vacant lots of similar size have sold recently in the area. No structures are allowed on the parcel, even if having virtually no value, or having no value attributed to them. This would include partially burnt, partially collapsed or partially torn down structures. These would create both liability and marketability issues (in the case of default) for the lot loan lender. Note that it might be possible to close the lot loan with a bid from a contractor to demolish and remove the structure, and an escrow holdback of the funds to do just that immediately after close of escrow. If the vacant lot has a foundation, this is probably acceptable, particularly if no work was done recently, and it is a slab foundation. Retaining walls may be allowed as well, depending on the situation.
Refinancing a vacant lot in California is also possible. We can do 65% to 70% of the current appraised value on a California lot loan refinance. These are particularly useful if the borrower is not ready to build, but faces a balloon payment on their current lot loan, such as on the many Indymac lot loans that were done. Lot loans in California are fixed 3 years, and then adjust annually the next 27 years, so they never have a balloon payment due.