When we built our house, we focused our money on structural things that would be more expensive later to add/change. So we did:
– upgraded kitchen cabinets/layout/island, the build threw in a quartz top as part of a deal as well
– bigger windows in the basement if we wanted to eventually finish it (it came unfinished with just cement walls and insulation by default), as well as a rough-in/pipes for a bathroom if we ever wanted to add one in the basement
– included a fireplace, as well as a gas line to the backyard for our BBQ (no more propane tanks for us!!!)
– added an extra bedroom to make it a 4 bed house instead of 3 (it was a minimal cost and would boost the value significantly in our area)
– got our shower/pipes and heads in our showers about 6inches higher than standard so that we can fit under them properly (DH and i and our families are talllll)
– added ethernet/wired internet to most of our living spaces so we could literally hook up our tech devices (without needing WiFi) wherever we might want
What we didn’t pay the builder to do (and are glad we didn’t):
-Kitchen backslash, this was an easy and mostly inexpensive project to do on our own, esp considering how much the builder wanted to charge for them to do it (it was crazy)
– kept the standard carpet instead of paying for hardwood/laminate in most rooms. In our area it is much more competitively priced to have it put in yourself, rather than have the builder do it. It helps that we are currently a pet/kid free house, and shoes don’t get worn inside either (easier to clean the carpet), so we were fine pushing the expense a couple of years.
-upgraded light/bathroom/kitchen/other fixtures. None of it was reasonably priced compared to stuff we liked at HD or other building centres
Things we wished we got the builder to do:
-Upgraded our bathrooms to have better tubs/showers/cabinets. Not because it was better priced, but because the size of the project will just be a pain. And i feel our bathrooms will need to be Reno before we sell (not for another 5-8 years at least) as they say it is your kitchen and bathrooms that sell your house.
I am sure there are a bunch more things, but those are the ones that stick out to me. Good luck with your house design!