I have worked with builders as both a real estate broker and as an attorney. I would suggest you find a local builder that has built in the area you are looking to have your home built. Typically those with a bad reputation get weeded out of town quickly. The additional advantage of having a local builder is that they are familiar with the building codes and permit laws of the township. Many building hold ups have to do with proper code and permits. I would also suggest you find a local real estate attorney to look over any building contracts you are given by the builder. Although real estate sales and purchase contracts are "boiler-plate" (usually forms), builders contracts can be complicated and are typically favoring the builder (not the home owner). They are prepared by the builder's attorneys and allow them many "outs".
So do your research locally in the area that you want to build in and also speak to a local attorney about reviewing any building contracts you have with the builder before moving forward.
Best of Luck,
My suggestion would be to talk to a builder, it all depends on what amenities you would like. Figure about $170 sq ft. If you would like more information feel free to contact me.
Nan Brennan Century 21 First Realty Appleton