Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Choosing A Log Home Builder

One thing we discovered is that building a log home is a craftsman skill - a work of art. You need a builder that is passionate and specifically experienced in building a log home. We were told constructing a log home was more challenging (and we were able to witness this fact as our log home construction began.) Some log companies do offer construction services for their packages. Our builder was local to the area we were building and an economical choice as well as meeting the professional criteria. We choose our builder based upon seeing his work, calling references, asking the city/county about him and after extensive interviewing.
Here are the things we think were helpful in selecting a builder for our log home:
  1. Is he licensed and insured?

  2. Is he a member of a professional building organization? (Is he a member in good standing?)

  3. How long they have been building log homes.

  4. Do they enjoy building log homes? (We found this to be a good question especially after one builder we asked said that he preferred to build a timber or half log home and that "we're in Michigan, we don't live in Colorado or Montana" where he thought you would typically find log homes. What's interesting is that Michigan has a growing log home industry so he was way off the mark. Obviously we didn't think we would receive the attention to detail and have a good working relationship with this person.)

  5. Type of kits / custom homes they have built. Are they familiar with your log provider?

  6. What types of challenges have they come across in building a log home and how did they overcome it?

  7. How do they account for log shrinkage / settling?

  8. How do you price the construction? Per square foot?

  9. Can I have the names of your 5 most recent clients?

  10. Can I visit at least 3 or 4 log homes you have built? This doesn't necessarily have to be all the most recent. It's nice to see a little bit older one and see how it's fared so far.

  11. How do you take care of the logs once they are delivered? (It is important to have the logs tarped from the elements until the builder is ready to use them.)

  12. How do you like to handle updates / communication? Are you responsive? (My husband and I live 3 hours away so we rely on weekly phone calls from our builder to obtain updates - even if we have already visited that particular week.)

  13. In looking at the floor plan we have chosen, would you make any recommendations or forsee any problems?

  14. Estimation date of completion.

  15. Will you handle the staining of the logs?

  16. Are you able to work with our draw schedule from our bank? (This is if you are financing the home. Some builders get concerned about the # of draws, when they receive them, etc. )

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