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Alabama Log Homes

By: Ed Simkins

Log Homes in Alabama:

Normally, when I think of buying a log home, I shop in places like Winter Park Colorado for homes in the Rocky Mountains, or search up-state New York to find Ulster County real estate in the beautiful Catskill Mountains! But recently, my attention has been turned closer to home.

Foothills of the Appalachian Chain

Alabama is home to the southern most foothill, or "wrinkle" of the Appalachian Mountain chain, Double Oak Mountain. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, Double Oak Mountain. could be referred to as the anchor of the Appalachian Chain. Regardless, the proximity of Birmingham to the "wrinkles" of the Appalachian Mountains affords residents looking for a mountain retreat or log home, a natural woodland environment in which to build.

Building a log home in Birmingham is similar to building a log home off in the mountains or even building a "traditional" home in Birmingham. For instance, you will need to secure financing, locate a lot, find a builder, then wait for the home to be completed. Recently, I have been receiving information requests involving the purchase of log homes in Birmingham and beyond, so I thought I would give a short detail of the steps involved to help people get started.

Log Home Financing

Like other pre-construction loans, you will need to contact your mortgage professional regarding financing your log home. This loan should be similarly structured to any other new construction loan, but your mortgage lender will be able to assist you. Our best advice is the same as any home shopping scenario. Get Pre-Approved prior to shopping. This will greatly assist in your negotiating when working out the details on your log home's build cost.

Finding Land in Birmingham:

Locating the right piece of property for sale on which to build a log home can be tricky. Especially if you are attempting to buy land in Birmingham, Alabama or in one of the surrounding areas. Your best bet would be to contact a local Realtor that understands your real estate needs and can assist you in locating property. Many neighborhoods in Birmingham have strict restrictions on the types of homes allowed to be built in that particular neighborhood, so be prepared to look for land outside of established neighborhoods. Parcels of land in varying sizes are for sale throughout the Birmingham area, yet a thorough search of the Birmingham MLS may be needed to ensure success. If starting a search without the help of a real estate agent, I would recommend beginning with lots or parcels of land greater than 1 acre in size. This should eliminate most neighborhoods in the Birmingham area and eliminate the need to sift through unavailable lots.

Log Home Builders:

Once you locate the right lot, find a builder that is familiar with the construction of log homes. Although some log home manufacturers, such as Southerland Log Homes, offer pre-numbered "kits" that can be built by the purchaser, I would recommend hiring a professional licensed contractor to get the job done. (Unless, of course, if you are going for the extreme log home experience, then all you need is a few twigs, some strings, and mud so there isn't much need for a contractor). A professional builder will overlook the project to ensure everything is built to code.

When you have located a builder or two that has experience building log homes, even if it is from a kit, interview them. Get to know them. Get references. This process should be no different than if you are building a spec house or a custom home. If hiring a person to overlook and build your log home, ensure that they are qualified by checking their references, past jobs, and current builds. If the quality is acceptable on their other jobs, odds are in your favor that they will put forth the effort to ensure your home is built at the same level of quality.

Building a Log Home

Once you have secured your financing, land, and builder, building the log home should seem like a breeze. But, prepare for the unexpected. Like many residential builds, the building of your log home can experience delays that can interfere with the original schedule. Inspections will need to be completed by the city, or county, along with any that your mortgage lender requests. Rain can slow things down as well. Be patient though, these types of occurrences are why we recommended the experienced log home builder. For when delays happen, an experienced home builder will be able to navigate through the delays and obstacles by coordinating his subcontractors to maximize their efforts while sticking to the timeline.

Live the Log Home Dream

Ok, it may not be everyone's dream to live in a log home in Birmingham, Alabama, but why not? Basically, building a log home in Birmingham is really no different than building a custom home in a distinguished neighborhood. The basic outline of building a home is the same, except that in the end, you have a log home instead of brick or hardy plank exterior home. About the only difficulty I have discovered is finding the right piece of land for sale in Birmingham that could "hold" a log home and not look silly. That being said, if you have ever thought about building a log home, go shop the Birmingham MLS for land to see if you can locate a good lot or simply contact us here. One of our Birmingham real estate agents will be glad to assist you!

Working as a free lance writer and photojournalsist, I developed a passion for real estate while covering new construction market trends in the southeast. Curently, mostly what I write is concerning Birmingham Alabama real estate.

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