Look for reputable designers. There are hundreds of different builders out there and every single one has a different history and reputation within the community. If you take the time to check out all of the available designers, you should have no trouble finding the best in the industry.
Modern home plans don't have to be expensive, but you definitely have to think about your budget so that you can compare it to the designs that are available and the ideas that you already have about the house that you want.
Although the traditional English style of cottage is most typical in America, cottages can be built in a variety of styles depending upon location and the builder's tastes, ranging from Spanish house floor plan designs of the Southwest, which typically have single stories, stucco exteriors, and tile roofs; to Cape Cod cottages which are usually box-like, timber-framed structures two-stories high, with steep roofs to shed rain and snow.
Eaves are usually large and overhanging. Small ranch house plans tend to be simple rectangles; but there are larger designs which can be have L or U shapes surrounding a courtyard in the center visible from the living areas. Frequently there are sliding glass doors which open onto patios, or large picture windows in the living and dining areas. The design often includes an attached garage as well as patio area. Also, the exteriors are usually of brick, wood, or stucco with simple or rustic interior décor and exterior trim.