Who would think that building a log home might have so many options? Build a basic log home in the traditional pioneering DIY way or have one completely custom designed, engineered, and built for you. You can even purchase a custom plan and materials and do some of the construction work yourself.
Kit homes are essentially that – a home in a really large box (a slight exaggeration). Your kit home is built off site at a construction yard, then disassembled and loaded onto a trailer. It is trucked to your property and rebuilt on your site. While fans of this option speak of lower costs and faster completion, critics argue that “a building that is easy to take apart is inherently weak.”
Another option for the log home enthusiast is to work with an established company that specializes in designing and providing the materials for these homes. Unlike a kit, you work with the company to determine the plan and materials. You may also (depending on the company) choose to purchase plans and materials only, plans + materials + dry-in labor, or turnkey construction.
Once you select the plan and materials, the company takes care of preparing the materials customized to your order and shipping them to site for assembly. The house is not assembled, dismantled, and then reassembled as would happen with a kit home.
For those of you who want to fulfill a DIY dream, there are a number of online and in-print resources that can take you through the many steps of actually building a log home. The DIY plan means that you are responsible for sourcing all your materials (including the logs), laying the foundation and completing all the construction work from the ground on up.
Unless you opt for the complete DIY plan, there are some basic steps that most future home owners will take.
• Budget: your plan should include the land and development as well as the cost of the house itself (including materials, shipping, construction, and all finishing details.
• Pre-qualify for a Home Loan: this is the same kind of process as for financing any other home and you may find some lenders are more experienced in working with log home lending. Arrange your financing before you shop for designs and a production team.
• Pick a Site: unless you already own land for future home, working with a real estate agent or developer may be the most efficient way of acquiring suitable land for your log home.
• The Design: you may work with an independent designer or an established log home production company that offers a selection of (often modifiable) home designs.
• Permits: obtain the necessary local building permits before you begin construction. Be aware of the building codes that will apply to your log home.
• Quotes: obtain quotes from subcontractors who will do the actual construction work. (You will typically need this information in advance of seeking financing from a lender.)
• Finalize Plans: review and sign off on the final construction blueprints.
• Schedule a Closing Date with the Lender.
• Schedule Start Dates: start dates include the date you begin prepping your home site (laying the foundation, etc.), the date your logs and materials should be delivered, and the date construction begins on the house itself.
So what’s your log home-building style: DIY, go with a kit, do some of the work, or let the pros do it all? Make a plan, get your finances worked out, secure the land and permits, and get started!