The Log Home Neighborhood

An online log home community for log home enthusiasts.

Oh, those long-ago heady days just before the official start of summer...

June 18, to be specific. That's when I posted a headline here that said: "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Economy?"

I defaulted to my optimistic mode and read the economic tea leaves, which, at the time, looked pretty damn good. Unemployment was low. Gross domestic product was robust. And, hey, who ISN'T optimistic when summer is about to start?

Now, the REAL leaves are turning, winter is in the wings, and America's economy is like a mid-size sedan whose power steering and brakes have decided to give out on the road trip to Prosperity Land.

So, I ask you: How has the past month impacted your dream of building a log home? Will it still happen? Have you scaled back your dream? Or is it something that you'll put off for a couple years?

And for those of you already in a log home, how has the economic malaise impacted you?

This is an amazing community of rustic-home enthusiasts, and we're all thoughtful, caring, and quick to share information. Who knows? Maybe we can all offer advice (and solace) to help each other weather the winter of America's economic discontent.

Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for being a part of this community!

Best,

Mike McCarthy
Log Home Living

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Comment by John R. Toliver on October 16, 2008 at 7:56pm
We are in the middle of building our dream log home. I retired in January and we started construction on our home in NW Louisiana in August. We saved a significant amount of cash, added cash from the sale of our existing home and had planned to cash a portion of a 401K to completely pay off construction the house. However, since I retired we have lost more in our 401K than the amount we planned to cash out to pay off the home. Now we are faced with cashing in at a low or leaving the 401K intact and going for a loan to complete the house. In addition, we probably signed contracts in August that were at their peek in costs as contractors were adding inflated fuel costs etc. on their contracts. When many politicians and money managers talk long term recovery some of us are caught in the short term whether we want to be or not. We will finish our dream and plan to move in sometime in February.
Comment by Ted on October 14, 2008 at 3:56pm
Well once again it must be me. To you who tell us that you are so glad that you bought your land and acquired financing before all hell broke lose ... I salute you.

My experience is quite a bit different. Yes, I bought a nice piece of property at a very good price but, unfortunately land is but a small part of my equation. I have been working with several log home builders including a builder who gave me a true dry-in price. By that I mean from digging the whole to installing the septic to drilling the well to erecting the house to including all doors and windows to framing the interior. His price beat everyone else. I was just about to talk real business with him when the bottom dropped out out. Almost overnight I lost half of my retirement savings and the value of my house hit new lows. I am at a total standstill. I am retired so that the proceeds of my house along with "some" of my savings were going to pay for the house. Now I'm starting to wonder if it will ever happen. As I told my wife, I had hoped that I could spend at least 15 to 20 years in my log home before I kicked the bucket and turned the house over to my kid. The way it's starting to look, I'll do the "kicking" here in Florida.
Comment by Shelley Martinez on October 12, 2008 at 7:53pm
Tom, Josh AND Anne - I felt better just reading your posts! Like Anne, I'm grateful we secured our land, home and financing prior to this mess but it has put a hold on some of our projects such as finishing the basement for now. I want to keep more liquid cash on hand for the moment. That's okay - like the saying goes - we're running a marathon towards retirement....not a sprint.
P.S. Tom - you are so dead on about the Norman Rockwell effect of the log home. When I was there this past weekend - no t.v. - just nature t.v. - watching the leaves turn, the calm glass of the lake and Mr. Black Capped Chickadee at my feeder......all the worries of the world dissipated.
Comment by Anne on October 11, 2008 at 12:21pm
Nicely said Tom AND Josh. I am greatful that we purchased our two parcels of land before real estate exploded. I am also greatful we secured funding and closed our loan (construction/mortgage) prior to the mess we're in now. Careful planning and a lot of self performance resulted in equity at closing of 3x that of the loan. It seems to me that most of the members of this site are very careful planners and conscientious spenders -those are qualities that will help us all survive and keep our dreams alive. I'm sure securing bank funds for a log home currently is not easy. But as Josh mentioned, this will rebound. My financial folks agree with him also that this is not a bad time to invest, which we will continue to do. My husband and I still have several years to ride out before retirement. I'm not sure how I would feel if we were closer to retiring. Anyway...I'm certainly no professional! On a happier note, while everyone else is watching the bear market, we've had a bear sighting of our own: a 400 lb. black bear has been seen around our pond! I'll watch my bear, Wall St. can watch theirs...Anne
Comment by Josh Murphy on October 11, 2008 at 11:17am
Nicely said Tom. I heard a man I respect greatly put it this way, "wait until the election is over and the press eases up on nay saying the economy and things will get better." If you really think about it, if you are still investing this could be a chance for you to make better money than if this didn't happen. Remember the market always goes back up so if you are still buying then you are buying really low right now and when it goes back up. $$$$. Hang in there everyone, it will all get better soon. Don't forget the market is a long term tool so don't just look at what is happening right now. It will bounce back!
Comment by Tom Heatherington on October 10, 2008 at 3:04pm
Mike:

There is potential in this discussion of having it morph from your “mid-size sedan” metaphor to a rant about a train wreck. There’s not much in the headlines these days that offers immediate hope or solace to anyone – regardless of where they live - or what their walls are made of. But let me add a personal perspective…

A man’s home may be his castle, but in my imagination I see our home as our fort. We live in a rural area, perched on top of a mountain, surrounded by trees and nature’s splendor. I have to admit that when I am in my fort I feel like I can close out the world of crooks and criminals that pose as politicians and ‘financial advisers’.

I have actually written about this ‘feeling’ of security and peace I get from the log home lifestyle calling it my Norman Rockwell Effect. Hey, I’ve lived in seven different states and a dozen houses, but nothing has ever come close to my log home experience. As I mentioned in that article, “I think it is an implicit appreciation of a sense of perpetuity, of history, strength and permanence.” Maybe it’s just a sense of stability in such an unstable world.

To answer your question, yes, this “economic malaise” has impacted every part of our lives. We don’t drive as often as we used to, we don’t go out for dinner, movies or shopping as frequently and we share everyone’s concern about our 401-k values and the future in general. However, staying home isn’t such a bad thing when home feels the way a log home feels.

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