1. Take more time evaluating the options for everything. From countertops to flooring, to options on rooms, fireplaces, etc. I would have visited more homes built by our builder as well as others to get more ideas about the various options available and made a few, minor, changes to my decisions.
2. If you are on a well and septic system and responsible for install I would plan for installation much earlier. Our lack of earlier planning probably delayed completion by a couple of weeks. Totally our own fault, but we just didn't know everything there was to know.
3. Evaluate all your options for hardscape, steps and decks. Fortunately our initial concrete contractor was delayed in providing concrete and we went with a different supplier. I say fortunately because had he been on schedule we would not have ended up with the great front porch deck and steps. I am so much happier with the decking than I would have been with more concrete. I can't wait to enjoy a glass of wine or fresh cup of coffee on the front porch and just listen to the nature that surrounds us.
4. Financial planning - fortunately a few people I talked to before starting the process said to plan for about $20,000 more than all the bids and estimates. This was great advise and allowed for greater peace of mind as we came into the homestretch and made some changes that we couldn't have done otherwise.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep the lines of communication open with the builder and all other contractors on your project. Stay on top of everything and return calls promptly.
6. Probably the greatest piece of advise I can give is to find local suppliers/contractors for your "owner-to-do's". We had an awesome excavator who did our excavation, roadway to the driveway, cleared the majority of our five acres and completed the DEQ and septic system. He was a tremendous resource and was on top of every aspect of our project.
7. ENJOY! Get through the building process and enjoy your new home. I know we will!
Stay tuned for future additions to my blog. As we look to add a shop/barn and start working on our landscaping and gardens. More to come...