There was a time, quite recently in fact, when the most important attributes of buildings were their aesthetic qualities, fitness for the intended purpose, and structural integrity. However sustainability objectives - paying closer attention to the soundness of the architecture from the perspective of the environment - are quickly becoming the overriding factors in contemporary home plans.
Ranch style homes are usually long and low with a bare minimum of interior and exterior decoration. The idea is to create a casual and informal lifestyle, usually with access to the outdoors via large plate glass windows, sliding glass doors, and patios or decks. Ranch style home plans normally imply a single story construction with a low and long roof line, with a cross- or side- gabled or hip roof.
Plan ahead and know what you want. If you take the time to look at different modern home plans, you will have a much better idea of what you can expect from your designer. Once you know what you want, you can find a professional that fits your style and demands.
When you are searching for a designer, search for one that is local to the area where you want your home built. Typically, local designers will have a better knowledge of the region, the laws, and the other issues surrounding your new house building project.