As for the builder decision at least we had started looking at options while we investigating the other development.
But is the end it comes down to a couple of choices, with so many options available it all comes down to finding a floor plan you like (or love if your lucky) or if you have the budget (we don't) to find a builder you can relate to who can help you realise your dream.
The other factor for us when looking for a builder was the package on offer and what was included as standard and what was extra, or what standard costs were covered and what was going to be an unpleasant surprise because it is an absolute requirement but not include i.e council fees!?
We ended up with Rawson Homes because when push comes to shove we are working within a really strict budget trying to keep under the first home owners cap and Rawson had the best level of inclusions for the budget we are working in.
In the end I realise that the process is going to be long and stressful and no matter which builder we chose there are going to be hidden extras, unpleasant surprises and misinformation so all we can do is make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time, make and stick to very conservative plans (our own not the builders) and communicate very clearly with each other about our expectations, wants and desires.
So this is it, our little house, the plans for which are currently with council, we are hoping to be finished and in for Christmas 2014, we should be in sooner but I am not holding my breath.