Log homes have a long and valued tradition in the United States and other countries, and despite our modern age, they've never really gone out of style. In fact, they're more popular today than ever. In our busy stressful lives, more and more people want a first home, vacation home, or retirement home that's off on a piece of land of their own, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If this sounds appealing to you, and you're seriously thinking of taking the plunge and building a log home, let's talk about some tips that can save you time and money.
First off, buy the land on which you're going to build. Do this before you make a commitment to a log home manufacturer or decide on a particular design. Often the lay of the land will dictate the best way to go about building a home on it. (And going against the lay of the land will only cost you money and trouble.)
Second, have a realistic idea of how much the total project will cost before you sign up for a log home package. What they quote you for the kit and what the actual costs will be are going to be a lot different. To get a feel for how much more you'll end up paying once labor and non-kit necessities are included, talk to builders, contractors, and other homeowners who have built a log home. Don't be afraid to ask the manufacturers how much actual costs tend to run in your area.
Whether you're browsing kits or planning to have an architect design your dream home, keep a scrapbook of pictures and clippings in the months leading up to your purchase. Trying to say everything you want in words can be difficult, but if you can point to a picture and say "do the kitchen like that and the bathroom like that..." you'll be more likely to get the home of your dreams. Don't be afraid to spend months in the planning process, considering everything, before actually committing to a design.
Before you buy, check references. Look for a log home manufacturer that is a member in an organization such as the Log Homes Council. This means they have a comprehensive construction manual and have agreed to hold up to certain log-grading standards.
Make sure you've taken care of financing before starting construction (and make sure that financing will cover the cost of the whole project--there are too many tales of partially finished log homes out there that have been abandoned because the erstwhile builders ran out of money). Some home buyers with disposable income will start the process paying out of pocket and then try to get a construction loan when they run out of cash. This is a bad idea, since lenders usually refuse to loan money on construction that is in progress.
Make sure you understand the manufacturer's terms of purchase and that your financing covers those terms. Especially pay attention to the time period of the agreement (and what happens if you exceed the time limit). Examine the refund and warranty policies.
Keep these tips in mind as you think about your future log home. Plan copiously and don't rush. This way you'll be more likely to survive the building process and get the home of your dreams.
For more articles on log homes, visit the author's site and blog: Log Homes and Log Home Ideas.