What To Consider If Building A Log Home or Timber Frame home Is In Your Future

Some time ago my parents expressed their interest in building a log home on their wooded property and what immediately followed was a flurry of questions from them such as:

  • mac-porch1.jpgWhat’s the best style of log work for us? (item 2 below)
  • Where do we go for financing? (item 5 below)
  • How long will it take? (below item 8)

It seems once they had made the decision to build with logs they wanted to be able to move in the same day and that feeling is common for most of us. No you won’t be able to move in immediately unless you are buying an existing log home but hopefully the following steps can save time and allow you to enjoy your log home as quickly as possible.

  1. Secure your property. Many people ask a designer or architect to draw detailed log home plans before they have even found a site to build it on. Although you’ll need to be thinking what size home you want and the traffic flow of your family don’t waste your resources refining a home plan that may not fit the property you fall in love with and buy.
  2. Decide what style of logwork you prefer. Handcrafted and milled are the two main categories but there are many styles and building methods within each category. Do you like large or small logs? What shape logs do you like? Review an article in one of our previous newsletters that discusses the difference between milled and handcrafted homes.
  3. Determine your budget. Be realistic here. If you have access to funds that can build a very nice 1200 square foot home don’t ensure your future misery by trying to build a 6000 square foot deluxe hunting lodge. Chances are you won’t be able to finish it and even if you do your payments may be too high to handle. Generally milled log homes are less expensive than handcrafted but there are many variables involved especially if you plan on doing some or all of the work yourself.
  4. Refine your home plan with your dealer builder or architect by working through preliminary and final drawings and develop a firm budget for your project.
  5. Secure your financing if necessary. If your bank has not had experience working with log homes don’t despair.  There are several nationwide lenders that understand log home construction financing. You might check one of the Log Home magazines or web sites for lenders.
  6. Sign contract for building.
  7. Get the needed permits from your county.
  8. Break ground and enjoy watching or participating in the development of your new home.

How long will it take? Now, this is the tough one to answer…

  • From land acquisition to permit approve…ready to build…normally 3 Months to a Year.
  • From start of construction to ready to move in…6 Months to 2 years.

So, how close are the above estimated timelines?…not very…we know folks who’ve been on the 5 year plan for 6 years, and others who got the whole thing done in 6 Months…both unusual in the extreme.

One of the best prepared ‘future’ log home owners that we talked to mentioned first building the 4 car garage/shop/apartment…and they comfortably lived there for two years while they closely supervised the construction.

Others have brought in an RV or old single wide mobile home and live there while building…sometimes selling the RV or mobile to the next person on the builders list.

So, Time, Budget, Location, Weather, Contractor(s)…it’s a long list that will need to be considered to determine How Long it Will Take.

We have many Books and Videos about Log Home and Timber Frame construction…as well as maintaining and decorating.