We finally got the meeting with our builder. We met him at a little bar restaurant near a house he is building. Neither of us could remember what he looked like LOL. We only met him once before and it was a year and a half ago.
It was a decent meeting and I think DH got a lot of his questions answered, especially about the remaining site work, how the water, propane and electricity will get run in. He says he will get us a new cost breakdown. He's also agreed with DH that getting some local dirt mover guys from our area will save money vs. who he could get to come out to our rural area and for DH to go ahead and get those bids and choose who he wants. To help us keep our cost down, we are going to do a lot of the work getting bids and meeting those that need to see the site first (like for the foundation dug out, septic system and ditches for water, power etc.) If the builder doesn't have to take time to do that, he doesn't need to charge us for that. And we will pick out and get bids for our interior stuff (flooring, windows, cabinets, doors, etc). Then with all that done in advance, he will work up all the final numbers, so what gets given to the bank should hopefully be pretty accurate, rather than him just estimating some #'s/allowances and then we come in and say "oh, but we wanted this quality of cabinets, that's $5 grand more". Basically he said for all that stuff DH will kind of be like a co-contractor and he'll knock that work that he would have had to do out of what he charges us in his "contractor fee" line item. While we do not want to do any of the actual finish work (like our friend did with his house) we can and do have the time to get those bids and meeting with people about it.
So, DH has his main questions (for now) answered and we've got some stuff we can get started working on between now and the first of the year. I asked him if he had recommendations on who we should get bids from for the interior stuff and he said he'd email me the info. That will help, since we aren't really familiar with suppliers in this area, other than like Home Depot and Lowes.
He also explained the fire/insurance deal, same as our realtor did. He said he was sitting on a couple of completed houses this summer because they couldn't get insurance until the fire season was over! No insurance company would quote/insure, so the lenders couldn't close. Hopefully we don't run into that next summer, when he's finishing our house, but since the huge fire came through our area, it probably won't happen again for a very long time.
DH had emailed the guy that did our plans and cc'd builder yesterday after our meeting. The beam on our front porch will have to be curved and engineered, so DH was emailing him the go-ahead with that (we wanted to confirm this with builder, so got that answered at meeting). Builder actually called DH last night to ask him a few more questions. That was a good sign.
DH has also been designing *my chicken coop. He's watched so many videos on coops and raising chickens now, he's going to be a chicken expert LOL. I can see already they are really going to end up his chickens. haha!