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Saving Money When Designing And Building Your Dream Log Home
Consider log home design options:
You have a wide variety of log home design options to consider.
At the top is a handcrafted log home or a timber frame log home. From there you
can go with a milled log home and even a conventionally framed home with log
siding and log accents for those on tighter budgets.
The savings start with the design of your log home. - The best way to begin
your design is to find a floor plan that is close to what you are looking for,
mark it with your changes and send it to one or more log home companies of your
choice. Most log home companies will gladly advise you on your custom log home
design, where to save money, and then quote a kit price. Don't be reluctant to
begin a design with your unique requirements. Rarely (and I do mean rarely)
does a company ship the same log home kit twice. If you are having difficulty
finding a plan that fits your life style, go to a search engine (e.g., www.google.com
, www.yahoo.com, etc.) and search on “log home plans.” You will find many log
home companies listed; most of which have extensive libraries of standard floor
plans. Another option would be to search on “house plans” where you will find a
mind boggling number of companies that sell conventional house plans, including
a few also offering log home plans. Remember, most log home companies will
gladly convert a conventional house plan to a log home plan. Remember, the more
corners in the foundation, the more complex the roof system, the more windows
called for, the more exposed rafters called for (as opposed to locally
manufactured roof trusses), the more the home will cost.
Do the log home labor yourself. - This is the opportunity for the
greatest saving. Of course, most of us work full time at other jobs and do not
have the time for such an undertaking. However, if your heart is set on
researching this option, visit any of the online book sellers, search on “log
homes” and order one or more books that focus on the construction of log homes.
But perhaps the wisest choice would be to contact a nearby log builder and
negotiate an hourly rate for consultation or have them give you a proposal to
be a construction manager for you for a fixed fee or percentage on the costs.
This method allows any savings to be passed back to you. It is best to spend
time and money up front to get the job done right, rather than deal with
problems later that never seem to go away.
Act as your own builder. - This is your option for the second greatest
saving. Many log home buyers decide to be their own general contractor.
However, be aware, this choice is not without its headaches. That is why you
save all those bucks! Local building officials can be difficult to work with;
subcontractors will be late or never show up; deliveries will be late or the
wrong materials will be delivered; the weather is unpredictable; subcontractors
and suppliers may take advantage of your inexperience. And the list goes on.
Regardless of the pitfalls and stress, acting as your own general contractor
will still save you about 15% - and that is big bucks. If you elect this
option, again visit online book sellers, search on “log homes” and purchase one
or more books that deal with log home construction. Contracting with an
experienced builder to serve as an advisor or construction manager is highly
Shop for financing the same as you shop for building materials, appliances,
etc. – If there is no local lender experienced in the financing of log homes,
go to the search engines and search on “log home loans” or “log home
mortgages.” Lenders will not charge you when you apply for a loan. File
applications with two or more lenders and then select the best deal. Sometimes
it’s good to look at a national log home lender with log home experience.
Select your building lot with caution. - How long will the driveway be?
If you must install a septic system, a health permit is a prerequisite, and
then, will it be necessary to pump to the drain field? Will it be necessary to
cross a creek? How much grading will be involved? Is tree and stump removal
going to be a problem? Will there be a rock problem when the foundation is
excavated? In other words, a "cheap" lot can quickly become an
expensive lot. If you are having difficulty finding a lot, contact a local real
estate agent. Give the realtor your lot selection criteria (price range,
location, size, etc.) and tell him/her to search the Multiple Listing Service
data base. There is no charge for this service. The true price of the lot
should include all those things necessary to have it ready to build on
including driveway, sewer, water, & power systems on-site.
Select your log home builders with caution. - When talking to builders
ask for references and visit log homes he/she has built and talk to the home
Select carpet as your floor covering rather than hardwood floors. - Yes,
hardwood floors are a "natural" in log homes. But we are looking for
opportunities to save money. Perhaps you can compromise. Put hardwood in the
great room and carpet elsewhere. Remember, at a later date (after you have
received a job promotion or two) you can always replace carpet with hardwood.
Use Cultural Stone for wall accents and fireplaces attached to plywood and
studs in lieu of a full masonry or stone. - Don't tell your friends. It's
impossible to see the low cost plywood and studs thru the cultural stone. Real
Stone also weighs a lot and can require additional structural support. This
decision can save you a lot of money
Consider an efficient wood stove over an inefficient and more expensive
fireplace. - Select black flue pipe instead of a masonry chimney. The black
flue pipe looks great in a log home.
Build your log home on a crawl space rather than a basement. - Again, we
are looking for opportunities to save money. Sure, a basement is cheap floor
space and many buyers opt for the extra storage, shop and/or recreation room
space; never-the-less, eliminating the basement will save $15,000 - $30,000 in
a typical home.
Have your custom fixed glass manufactured locally. - Yes, your window
supplier will want to order your fixed glass from the factory. While he/she is
getting a quote from the factory, visit a local glass shop. You may be
pleasantly surprised. Locally manufactured fixed glass windows are available
with double glass and/or tinted glass.
Select your windows and doors with care. - This is a major opportunity for
savings. Compare the quality and cost of several manufacturers before making a
decision. If you expect to have a large number of windows and exterior doors,
ask the suppliers if you qualify for a truck load discount.
Select your plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures and kitchen cabinets with
care. - These are also major opportunities for controlling your costs.
Start shopping early. - Whether you hire a builder to do a "turn
key" job or act as the general contractor, you can save money on
individual items in the house - for example, appliances, floor coverings,
windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, counter tops, etc., etc.
The earlier you start shopping the more likely you are to find items on sale.
Just let your "turn key" builder know in advance that you plan to
shop for sale items and BE AWARE, if you slow down or inconvenience the builder,
you will quickly lose what you saved and probably much more.
Best wishes as you embark on an exciting journey.
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