Truly accurate cost-to-build estimates should come straight from your local builder. Relying on a “seat of the pants’ online cost-to-build estimate is risky. They may be cheap at $25-100 dollars or so but can be wildly inaccurate.
To get an accurate estimate for your area we strongly recommend speaking with a couple of local builders and/or real estate agents who specialize in new construction. They will factor in local labor cost (a big factor!) and local material supply cost.
Regarding choosing a design, generally speaking, the more corners in a design, the more expensive it will be to build. Other design factors that impact cost:
1) One and one-half-story homes are generally less expensive to build than one-story or two-story homes (more square footage – less siding material).
2) The more corners a design has, the more it will cost to build.
3) Your material choices (high-end windows vs. builder-grade windows; granite vs. Formica; metal roof vs. asphalt shingle roof; heart pine flooring vs. carpet, etc.) will greatly impact the cost to build.