It's always going to cost more than you planned.
Set a budget, and just be prepared to go over it! We have been given quite the reality check over the course of building our first house. No matter how much planning you do things will cost more than you planned.
Talk to people who have done the process before.
My father in law has built many houses and knows all the ins and outs of the process. His knowledge has proven to be quite helpful in allowing us to make informed decisions on what we are going to put in the house. He knows what to skimp on vs. what not to skimp on. Jess (Jane) has also recently built a house so her advice has come in handy a time or two as well. Most first time home builders don't have a clue what they are doing so be sure to ask a lot of questions and seek someone out that you trust to help you determine the kind of house you want.
Know going into the process that most of your nights and weekends will be spent at the house. Making choices and cleaning the construction site to name a few. I seriously had no idea how many decisions go into building a house! Sofet and facia? What is that! What color brackets you want on the door hinges, back splashes for the kitchen and bathrooms, cabinet color and design, flooring, carpet, archways, paint color, trim color, garage doors, appliances!! That doesn't even scratch the surface of decisions that will need to be made.
Obviously the decision of what you want the house to look like will largely rest on our shoulders as the woman. Design boards have saved me! I can't express enough how important it is to have pictures, textures, and paint swatches in front of you when making decisions on what color and style you want everything to be. In my case budget is the most important thing so that is the deciding factor in every decision I have made so far. This is our first house so I am not trying to make it the end all be all of houses. You have to decide what your priorities are and make sure you save room in your budget for those things. Thank goodness for Pinterest and Houzz.
Just a few of the many design inspiration photos I have used to make decisions.
In regards to choosing plumbing fixtures for your house, I have learned that chrome fixtures are going to save you money, as they are much less expensive than the brushed choices. Some will say that chrome is hard to keep clean, but over the course of having it in my apartment I have learned a few things about keeping it looking shiny and new! ( Dawn dishsoap & vinegar) Combine the two in a scrub brush, and the fixtures look good as new! This also works for getting soap rings off bathtubs.
Unfortunately for me the modern fixtures cost more $$$. My husband and I did some research though, and some of the most expensive faucets and sinks that we loved at the plumbing supply store were half the cost on Amazon and Home Depot! Just make sure and search around and do some homework on reviews before making your purchases. 100$ here and 1,000$ there add up..trust me!
We are still fairly early on in the building process, with months ahead of us, and I am sure a lot more will be learned. These are just a few insights I have found helpful or wish I would have known.
Me in my new house!