15 recommendations from people who’ve done it
Remember, you get what you pay for.
Do not expect to save money by hiring non-professionals.
Take time to plan for your project. Allow your architect and builder the time needed to properly design and build.
Do not allow your architect or builder to rush you to decisions (about detailing, materials, etc.).
Make all design decisions BEFORE construction begins--it gets very expensive to change your mind later (it is far easier to erase a line than to remove a wall.)
Resist revisiting decisions once you make them. Every decision affects work done after it; changes can be costly.
Carefully conduct necessary surveys, title searches, and similar research.
It is not reasonable to expect that a building project will heal a relationship; it won’t.
It is unwise to try to fit your needs into a beloved design. Instead, allow a design to grow from a thorough understanding of your needs.
Ask many questions until you get the answers you need in language you can understand.
Monitor construction and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
Do not substitute ‘bargain’ materials for good materials.
Allow budget contingencies for both design and construction.
Observe construction so you will be more likely to catch errors early.
Have fun. Designing and building a house should be an enjoyable experience!
Source: Boston Society of Architects.