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So, when should you sign a contract and place a deposit to purchase a Log home or Log cabin kit?

The short answer to the above question: Not until you know that you can afford the completed log home, and not until you have selected an experienced log home builder and not until your financing is secured.

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When should you NOT sign a contract to purchase a log cabin or log home kit?
One short answer: Not on your first visit to a log home dealer or manufacturer – even if offered a discount or advised of a “pending price increase.”

For the purpose of this discussion, we are only talking about turn key construction by an experienced log home or log cabin builder.

If you are serious about building a log home, you should first get qualified by at least three banks. This is a free service and you should shop for financing “deals” just as you shop for cars or groceries.

Shopping for a lot and designing your log home do go hand-in-hand. If you want a walk out basement then a flat lot will not do; look for a lot which slopes in the proper direction. Make sure the home will fit on the property. We had to build our log home on a angle in order for it to fit between a property boundary and the drain field.

If you require a septic system, purchase the lot subject to issuance of a health permit by the local jurisdiction. If the lot is in a subdivision with a homeowners association, make sure log Homes or log cabins are permitted.
[Hard to believe but we just heard about a log home under roof that had to be dismantled because the design was not first presented to the homeowner association -log Homes were not allowed. No kidding; a true story.]

There are as many log home design and construction techniques as there are manufacturers of log cabin and log home kits. Before you visit a model log home or talk to a salesman, do some serious research. Subscribe to at least one log home
magazine and search the Internet – as you are obviously are doing now.

Ok, so you want to visit a log home dealer first; just promise yourself that you will not place a deposit until you have researched your options.

lets assume that you have conducted your research and are interested in a particular floor plan offered by a particular log home or log cabin dealer/manufacturer. Before engaging in discussions ask the sales person for an estimate of the turn key construction cost. Be prepared to answer a few questions. (For example: Hardwood floors? Window brand name? Basement? Exposed beams and rafters?log species and profile? etc, etc . . .) Remember,log Homes do not qualify as low cost housing. In fact,log Homes compare in cost to brick homes. If you are interested in hand scribed logs, the cost of that home will far exceed that of a brick home. Remember the cost estimate from the sales person is exactly that,
an estimate.

Now is the time you should ask your sales person for references and referrals. In fact, the sales person should give references that are willing for you to visit their homes. If such references are not available, this is cause for concern. If the company does not have their own builder crews, ask the sales person for a referral to experienced log home builders that work in the local area. When you contact the log builder(s), again ask for references that are willing to talk to you and show their homes. If all is well to this point, ask the log builder(s) for a turn key cost estimate and be prepared to answer the same questions as the sales person asked. You should also ask your sales person if he/she works with a particular log home lender. If so, get qualified with that log home lender and compare that deal with the others.

Now, lets review the bidding. You have a log home financing deal that you can live with. You are pleased with what you hear about the dealer’s support. You have identified an experienced log home builder. However, you still need a quote based on a final set of construction drawings. If you have selected one of the log company’s standard plans you should know the kit cost, including the log kit components, and you are ready to ask your builder for a formal quote. If you need a custom set of construction drawings, your sales person will quote a cost for the drawings and upon completion of the drawings will quote the log kit components and cost. Once the log home builder has the final set of drawings he/she can quote the turn key cost.

If the builder’s proposal is acceptable, you are now ready to apply for a building permit.

When all the comments from the building code officials have been resolved and the building permit is issued, now, finally, you can sign that long awaited contract and place a deposit on the log home/cabin kit. Now you can also make a commitment to the lending institution that offers
the best deal.

So why did B&H Cedar log Homes go to all the trouble to prepare this procedure? Too often we have been approached by log home buyers that must accept a kit delivery within a few weeks even though they have neither solicited financing nor found (much less contracted with) an experienced log home builder – which means, of course, they do not have an estimate of the construction cost. Please do not be talked into making such a mistake.

Comments on this discussion are welcome. You may email them to info@cedar-log-homes.com.