Builders make a nice fat profit – without a main contractor you could afford a house worth 30% more.
It isn’t as hard as you think it is, you’ve seen Grand Designs, they all end up with a lovely house and you don’t even need Kevin McCloud (even though it would be nice).
Keep your budget realistic and always try to get three quotes for everything, even small things (Mr Clark made me get three even for loft hatches!)
If you have friends in the building trade – shamelessly pick their brains.
Trust your gut feelings, your instincts are probably right when employing subcontractors (you’ll see what I mean when you read the book).