For some builders, it pays when their clients' eyes are bigger than their budgets. They show you a few pretty pictures hoping that you'll throw your common sense to the wind and start asking for more than what you'd originally budgeted for.
Don't fall in love with the model home
Every home buyer starts out with a perfectly reasonable budget. You know your needs and wants, and you've got a pretty good idea of what kind of house that you want built.
All of that seems to fade away when a builder shows you a beautiful model home, complete with granite countertops and other features that would look wonderful in your home, but will add on to the cost. Before you know it, you're spending all kinds of money that you didn't mean to spend.
Stick to your needs and wants, and don't let the shiny showroom steer you away from your budget.
Know how a builder is meeting your budget
Every builder is going to say that your budget is important. Who wouldn't? What matters is whether or not you know how the builder is meeting that budget.
A client of ours had a friend getting a house built by another builder. The customer was brought in on an entry level budget, and soon realized that the builder was meeting the budget by using cheaper features throughout the home. That's not uncommon, but it's something you should be aware of.
Make sure that you know what your money is actually buying or you'll end up with a house that isn't what you wanted.
Don't compromise on your budget
Too many customers fall into this trap. Hopefully you set the budget based on what you could reasonably afford. Don't let anybody talk you off of your budget for the sake of selling you something.
To a good home builder, your budget is gospel truth. Choose one that will respect it.