Need help with ways to keep costs down.

We are renovating and adding on to a house in the seacoast NH region. It has been our dream to live there for many years and we finally came across a wonderful little 2 bedroom bungalow in a great area.
We hired an architect who drew us up some great plans to renovate what is there and add on some square footage. The current house is about 900 sq. ft., the post construction is about 2000 sq. ft. of living area, 2800 sq. ft. including decks, garage, everything. We have a budget of $200,000.
We met with 4 builders so far and we were given ballpark estimates in the 300k range. Very depressing. But we don't want to give up yet. We don't want a high end house here, we want to live in the area. So I am looking for ways to really minimize costs. I can do a lot of the work myself, at least the finish work. But I need to have somebody do enough to allow us to live there while I do the rest. I can live with plywood floors and bare walls for awhile.
I realize I am not providing a lot of details here, but perhaps people have creative ideas they have run into in their similar project they could offer here.
Thanks, Jim
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"jtpryan" wrote...

You didn't say what kind of renovation work is to be done on the existing part of the house. Nonetheless, your budget of about $100 a sq. ft. seems about right but maybe on the low end for your area. So depending on what is all involved, $300k may be a realistic number, especially if all 4 are really close. There are several ways to save money on the project. Sweat-equity is the biggest. You may want to be your own general and sub out different jobs. You may want to consider reducing the overall size of the addition. You may want to put off certain portions like the deck, garage (unless it's attached), etc. Your choice of finish materials may be a place to save as well.
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is
may
Just don't cut any corners. My grandad was in construction and once a sub tried to save him some money by burying a cut-down tree under a deck. Ten years later my grandad had to replace the deck that fell into the rotted sink hole. From then on he told his subs "Don't try to save me any money... it costs me too much."
Regards, Louis
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