This association is great because it confirms that the local builder is part of a trusted organization and they have to abide by a set of ethical rules. If they break those rules then they can get kicked out of the association. Also, the association protects consumers in case of liability or an incomplete job.
Another great tip is to ask friends and family if they have had dealings with a particular builder. You can also ask the builder for references for jobs that they have completed. Ask for the address, the phone, the name of the contact, and make sure that you do your homework. Also make sure that you talk to a legitimate person who has actually had dealings with the home builder.