There’s no definitive answer on when the buying process begins. For some folks, it begins the first time they clip a photograph of a log cabin from a magazine and start a file. For other people, it’s the first time they walk into a log home model and start picking out floorplans. When it comes to building a custom log home, the buying procedure isn’t only about money. It’s a progression that lasts from concept to completion with steps in between. “A lot of patience is needed throughout the buying process,” says Nicole Robinson, vice president of Log Homes of America in Banner Elk, North Carolina. “It can be both stressful and exciting.” Gather all of the best resources available to create the end result: your log home. The following steps will help you prepare as you begin your own buying journey.
Research Log Homes
You can never be overly prepared when it comes to gathering ideas for your log home. Experts recommend doing plenty of research. “The more research that is done, the quicker the process, and the better understanding of the process,” says Greg Landess, vice president of sales and marketing of Blue Ridge Log Cabins in Campobello, South Carolina. In this magazine, you can find log home companies who market in your area and builders who construct log homes locally. You can request more information from log home producers by using the reader service postcard in this issue. Check out their websites and request planbooks and catalogs. Study how log homes are constructed. Understand the entire construction system, even those aspects not associated directly with the logs, such as foundations and roofing.
Compare Log Home Companies
Once you are comfortable with the research that you have gathered, it’s time to visit log home companies. Armed with your research, you should be able to settle on which type of log home you are interested in, be it manufactured or handcrafted. From there you’ve most likely developed a certain log style that interests you. Do you favor round logs or square logs with chinking? Plan a tour of model homes and see if you can visit recently built homes of producers that match your style. “Many of our clients tell us that getting inside homes and evaluating quality firsthand was the single most important factor in their decision-making process,” says Joey Meyers of Strongwood Log Home Company in Waupaca, Wisconsin. “Every log home manufacturer and builder maintains a different quality standard, a fact that is apparent from the moment you enter a home.” These types of tours help you to find out whether a company’s style and quality fits your idea of the perfect log home.
The log home experts also recommend attending log home shows, seminars, and workshops that cover log design, budgeting, and construction. “These educational opportunities are a great way to learn more about log homes and how to determine which provider is best for you,” Joey says.
Also, clarify what level of service the log company can provide. Can they deliver a turn-key house that’s ready to move in? Or do you need to hire a builder to erect the log package and complete construction? Either direction you choose, check referrals. “Check several of your builder’s current referrals,” says Greg. “Preferably within the last year.”
Budget and Finance
How you are going to pay for your log home is understandably one of the most important steps. Get prequalified by a bank or mortgage company so that you are realistic on your budget. “Understand what your budget goals are,” Greg says. “Plus, make sure everyone is on the same page and that the log company understands your goal.” Know what your “must haves” are and what your “would like to haves” are. Consult with your log company representative to match your budget with the desired home style and floorplan.
Also, make sure that the bank you choose understands the log home company’s and builder’s payment process to ensure that there are no delays due to funding.
Energy Efficient and Green
Throughout the buying process, aim for an energy-efficient or green home. How the house is constructed and finished lends to its energy efficiency. “Simply put, there is nothing as warm and inviting as a well-constructed log home,” Joey says. “Log walls are renowned for their energy-efficient characteristics.” Ask your log home representative if they have any homes that you can tour featuring energy-saving or green building techniques. The buying process doesn’t begin and end in the sales office. It starts with a dream and continues until you are happily enjoying your new log home. And, as Nicole says, “The buying process doesn’t end until the family is moved in.”