Finding the right contractor to turn your dream of log home ownership into reality can be a daunting task; one that require time and research. It is critical you choose a log home builder that has a number of special qualifications and abilities. Most important, you want an experienced builder with proven record of accomplishment. After all, this is a project with monumental financial and emotional implications and the last thing you want is taking chances with your dream home.
Here are a few tips that can help you make an educated decision when hiring a log home constructor.
Before embarking on “the perfect path to your dream log home” it is important that you identify your role in the project. This will affect a number of issues, including your budget as well as the final outcome. According to the National Association of Home Builders, labor costs up to 60% of the total cost of home construction. You may be able to save money by doing some of the work yourself. Ideally, you have three options: professionally built, owner-contractor arrangement or working alongside your builder. Whatever you settle for, it is important that you are on the same page with your contractor.
Once you are clear on your role in your log home’s construction project, you need to decide what type of wood you would like to use for your home construction. Again, your budget and contractor of choice are critical here. Several wood options are available with the most popular ones being Oak, Pine and Cedar. Still, within these three species are variations. For instance, you can opt for Red Cedar, Northern White Cedar or Atlantic White Cedar. Each of these variations of Cedar comes with their unique characteristics.
Most log home construction companies have representatives or dealers in nearly all the major cities around the country. If you cannot find a locally based company, then consider a dealer in your area. However, be sure to establish how busy the dealer is in your area. It is important that you engage a dedicated, full time dealer. Some of the things you may want to pay attention to include materials offered in the contractor’s package. Also, find out whether they would construct your home themselves, refer you to other builders in their network or offer assistance to those who want to construct the home themselves.
After identifying three or four companies that you feel right about, be sure to visit each of them for further inquiries. During these visits, inquire about their Open House schedule. In addition, ask to tour one or two of their models. This is an opportunity to learn a lot about the builder. With each log home builder having a unique construction approach as well as profile style, this is your opportunity to feel their workmanship first-hand and determine if this is the company you would want to work with on your project.
Once you have identified your preferred design, avail a copy to each contractor. Based on your design, the contractor will provide you quotations based on the materials they intend to include in the package. It’s important to note that most log home builders include different components in their packages so comparing apples to apples may pose a challenge. In light of this, ask each contractor if they offer customized designs and the cost implications of such designs. Find out if they are willing to accept designs from other contractors too.
Home construction is serious business, one that you must never entrust to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Once you have identified a handful of contractors, be sure to establish if they are actually licensed to work in your area. Do they have the right licenses? Are their employees licensed and insured? What industry associations to they belong to? Again, do not take chances with your living space. Once you have established their authenticity, be sure to ask for references. A credible log home builder should never have a problem referring you to their previous customer. While interacting with these references, ask about their experience with the builder. Ask if they were satisfied with the quality of materials they received. Ask if the contractor completed the project in time and on budget. These may be the most important questions to ask these references.
Be sure to contact the local contractor’s board or equivalent state authority to establish if the builder is in good standing. It is important that you work with a licensed and bonded builder. Check with the local authorities to see if the builder has been involved in any work related litigation before. A builder with multiple incidents over a short span of time may not be worth doing business with.
Once you have received a quotation, agreed on a price, seen a log home built by each company and carried out due diligence, you will be able to settle on a contractor much easier. Pick the builder you are most comfortable with to build your dream log home. For most people, this is a once in a lifetime experience with a huge financial implication. As such, you need to demand a binding agreement between you and your log home builder. This is where a contract comes in. Ensure that everything is formalized by entering into a contract with the builder before commencing the job.
If you’re like us, owning a log home has been your life long dream, and choosing the right team for your log home is key in turning that dream log home into a reality. Despite exceptional design, milling and engineering by the home manufacturer, if your builder is not up to the task, your dream could turn into a nightmare of ballooning budgets, scheduling snafus and unending callbacks. Luckily, the tips discussed above can help you separate wheat from chaff and hire the perfect contractor to execute your project.