Wow, we have been dreaming about this for a long time. In fact, I have always wanted to build my own house but never thought I could. Then one day while I was watching some bozos on This Old House or something and these guys were building their own house and didn't know half of what I know it occurred to me that indeed I could build my own house.
It took us several years to find the right building lot. It had to be around 5 acres (at least), had to be wooded with mature hardwood trees, the house site had to have a south-facing slope to allow earth-sheltering and a good solar exposure, it needed to be not too far out of town but not too close either, and with all that it still had to be affordable.
I looked at several lots; there was always a problem of some sort. We even had a contract on one that while it had issues would have still been OK but we needed it to perc for 4 bedrooms and it only perced for 3. We could have lived with that but then the seller would not reduce his price at all even though that fact obviously reduced its value.
The lot we ended up with is perfect. Fully wooded except for one edge that has a 50 foot wide cleared path where we will be putting our garden. It is near a highway but is far enough away (the house will be about 1000 feet from the highway) that the road noise will be minimal. A small creek runs along the other edge and the house site is about 20 feet above it in elevation.
Building a house requires a lot of steps. I will be creating links in the following list as we start working on new steps in the process.