The Log Home Neighborhood

An online log home community for log home enthusiasts.

Some mutual concerns and thoughts

Trying to sell current house to get enough money to build a log home in North Carolina just like many of you (well maybe not in North Carolina). I am a carpenter so I plan to do a lot of the work myself once I get started.
After reading some of the comments by other members I thought I would add some thoughts, so here goes;
(1) It appears that many of you have the same problem that I have, selling your current home. Perhaps we should exchange ideas as to how to best do this in the current economy.
(2) I know we all have different tastes but please share your favorite log home with the rest of us. Most of us are not planning to build the biggest or most expensive log home, so let's share ideas.
(3) Even before we build the log home of our dreams we have ideas or need help with decorating... like lighting or plumbing fixtures or cabinets ... well you get the idea ... so let's communicate.That's it for now.

Ted

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Comment by LITA JONES on June 11, 2008 at 1:44pm
To answer your question: At what point in the planning process was the log home manufacturer able to give you hard numbers as to what the house was going to cost you (including shipping and taxes)? I knew what the package price would cost last year-had some minor cost changes as the plans changed. Just needed to get those completed before handing the plans off to the builder. I gave him the "dream house build list" knowing for sure that I would make changes to get the enormous cost down-which I did. Everything that I took of the present build list, can be added later-outdoor fireplace, rock for the foundation wall, etc. If we were going to be living near the build, we would do alot of the finish work (staining and trim work) ourselves, but since we are posted overseas, this is truly a turn key project. My builder has been great as were my Heritage Log dealers with all of the overseas phone calls and emails. I have no doubt that the build will be just as productive. We could have waited another 10 years to build, but decided to go ahead with this enormous project and enjoy the property on our vacations and not have to worry with a build upon retirement. Spring 2009 we will return from Malta ( our next posting), move in and vacation at our new home by the lake.
For those thinking and dreaming about building a log home, do your research on planning and the costs. it truly does cost 3 times the package price for a turn key and even more if you use premier fixtures. As many of the articles say in log home magazines-decide what are needs and what are wants. It will make the design process much easier.
Comment by Ted on June 10, 2008 at 12:03pm
Hello MtnGal.
Yep, HGTV is a great place to pick up ideas. This LogHome thing is a great idea too. It's real people exchanging real ideas and problems and solutions and photos and all kinds of human interest stuff. I look forward to hearing more about your own log home adventures.
Ted
Comment by MtnGal on June 10, 2008 at 11:26am
WOW!
What a terrific site! I can see I am going to be spending hours here. We are currently living in Phoenix - but are counting down the months until we can start building our log home in the beautiful Sacramento mountains of south central NM. Housing has taken a huge hit here as well. We are hoping that it rebounds a bit by this time next year. In the meantime we are busily getting our home ready to go on the market. As someone else mentioned... HGTV is a great TV station to spend some time with ~especially their
"Designed to Sell" . It is truly amazing what incredible improvements can be made with a little money & some 'elbow grease'!
Thanks for all the great ideas!
Comment by Ted on June 9, 2008 at 3:56pm
How do Neighborhood Host.
I think your comments were addressed to me although my name was not in the blog. If not, don't say a word, let me go on thinking that something I have to say might be interesting to other people.
Yes I am passionate with just about everything associated with log homes and log home living. I think an open dialog between all of us is vital in getting the most from our dreams. Although many of my interests lie in the area of new home construction, I would love to speak with people who bought their log home already constructed. There must be things that they love about their houses but there also must be things that they were disappointed in. Perhaps we could help them solve these issues. It would be of help to the rest of us wannabees too.

Ted
Comment by Ted on June 9, 2008 at 3:22pm
Hi Lita. Sorry it took so long to get back to you but we were away for the weekend. Many thanks for your very through historical description of what it has taken to date to make your dream home happen. I lot of stuff here to keep in mind when building a new home. I think the information about the bank is classic. My feeling is that banks and insurance companies are not our friends. I also found your comment about having your ducks in a row with the builder as far in advance as possible for estimating purposes. Question. At what point in the planning process was the log home manufacturer able to give you hard numbers as to what the house was going to cost you (including shipping and taxes)?
Planning for later years is also very important. My wife and I are considerably older than you and your husband. Probably closer to your parents age. We are thinking of the time when when it becomes difficult to climb stairs. Consequently, although we have chosen a house with a loft, the master bedroom is on the first floor and the excavation will be done in such a way that we can get into the house from the car without climbing porch stairs. All doors will be big enough to accommodate wheel chairs. Oh, why did we settle on a 2 story house. My son and his wife are partners and that one for the kids.
Ted
Comment by Neighborhood Host on June 8, 2008 at 4:02pm
Wow. What a wonderfully informative post. This type of first-hand knowledge is priceless. Why not start writing your own blog on the neighborhood?? You've got the story and the skills! (Go to "My Page" then "My Blog" and then "Add a New Blog Post," completely optional, but I think the neighborhood residents would love it!)

Anyway, there's much to comment on in your great post (long-distance building, open floor plans, securing loans), so I'll just focus on congratulating you for having the foresight to build with the future in mind - you will have the last laugh.

Please share more of your story (and maybe some photos too??) I think I (and the rest of the 'hood) could learn a lot from it!
Comment by LITA JONES on June 8, 2008 at 3:50pm
More comments regarding planning-my husband and I are 45. However, since this log home will be the retirement home, I planned for lan open plan, larger master bathroom, comfort height toilets, a walk in shower with no curb, a bench in the shower, shower head and adjustable sprayer, no door on the toilet area, the bathtub, toilet area and shower that will be fitted for grab bars now and all door ways are handicap accessible. Neither of us are handicapped, but our parents are aging and you just never know when your old knees will give out or you might twist your ankle while clearing brush on your land. You can find great looking grab bars on the internet (overstock.com) that will look lovely holding a towel until time needed. My parents will be the testers for the location of the grab bars in the bathroom. In addition, I am planning for the electrical plugs to be placed higher on the wall for easier access as we age. I will install the microwave in the island and a double wall oven for easier access as well. I also decided to install composite decking (less maintenance)now after consulting with my older neighbors who wish they had installed it at the time of the build. All my friends our age or younger think I am crazy planning for these things now. I hope I will have the last laugh. Cheers!
Comment by LITA JONES on June 8, 2008 at 3:37pm
We are just starting on our house in Western KY. As with everyone out there planning to build in the future, it can be a daunting task. My husband and I are both employed by the State Department and live overseas. I started this process when my husband was serving in Baghdad and did most of the design planning while I was stationed in Pakistan this last year. I made many early morning/late night phone calls back to the states to my Heritage Log dealer, my builder (10 hour time difference) and to my husband who is posted in Slovenia (4 hour time difference). Not to mention the hundreds of emails to finish the plans. All of this and still working 60+ hours/week. We had to coordinate our log delivery and loan closing with our one month of vacation in May in the states. So long story short, I traveled 4000 miles in 31 days across Western Ky and Tn buying and storing all appliances and light fixtures (catching sales at Home Depot and Lowes), picking out everything from tubs to tiles and planning for the electrical plan. Our logs were delivered on time on 13 May and are gorgeous. Our foundation was poured last week and the building will commence very soon. My husband and I will be posted in Malta for the entire construction and are so blessed that we have family in the area to oversee and check on things and so lucky that we have a great builder whom we trust. He has a great reputation with our neighbors (he built most of their log homes) and companies in the area who sing our builder's praises! I had one month to get as much done as I could. The only thing I couldn't finish was picking out the granite for the kitchen and bath and the paint colors. Thank goodness for a sister with great decorating taste to lend a hand and thank goodness for email as I finalize my kitchen and bath designs.

So here's my lessons learned-
1. Finish your plans early so the builder is not under the gun to finish his estimate before log delivery. Keep checking with the bank to make sure the loan is a go. 3 months ago when we qualified, everything was set then the mortgage crisis happened. All the log home magazines say that now is the right time to build-maybe so if you have a million dollars in the bank and on hand to build. The banks are leary of everyone now-even those with outstanding credit credentials. 4 days before the log delivery, the bank completely backed out. The morning news headlines that day read "mortgage crisis" and the bank flipped out even though we were putting a great deal of money down. We did not use a log home financing bank because our chosen bank, BB&T, had been in the business of financing log homes in our area. In May 08, suddenly building a log home was a big risk. The problem is that comparables are hard to find because all that are built are custom and people don't sell them. This coming from a bank in a 2 county area with 5 log home dealerships! Needless to say, everything worked out the day before log delivery with the bank but at a higher interest rate because it was a log home and the banker's boss was not educated in financing log home.
2. As for design, plan for enough courses of logs on the first floor to allow for 9 1/2 ft ceiling clearance from the the bottom of the log supports to the floor. This will make shopping for ceiling lights so much easier. After scouring the stores for ceiling lights, I finally found some gorgeous pendants that can be recessed into the logs. My ceiling clearance is 8 1/2 ft. I had planned for more, but somewhere, this detail was forgotten. If you have a second floor, this is not a problem. If you are like most folks, spending $400-500/ceiling light is a crazy notion. If you work closely with your builder, you can come up with some creative ways to achieve the lighting you desire.
This is my first blog and have enjoyed reading the other comments. Keep them coming.
Comment by Dianne on June 6, 2008 at 8:20am
Yes, I've heard that banks can be very difficult when dealing with log home mortgages. Especially when converting a construction mortgage into a normal home mortgage. We ran into that with our first log home 30 years ago. We eventually had to alter our plans and finish things necessary for a certificate of occupancy to keep the bank happy. So, although we felt we'd rather live on sub-flooring until we could afford nice floors downstairs, the Code enforcment officer said "no way" so we ended up living in a "bare bones" kitchen (just sink and appliances) without any counters or cabinets for a few years. We also moved in with only 2 interior doors in the entire home (bathroom...naturally) we went without bedroom doors or closet doors until we could save enough and make time for those finishing touches. It was more important to us to get into the home and save all the money we had been spending renting.

Another thing to watch out for is those construction mortgages that pay out certain percentages as the home goes up. Log home construction is very unique and does not follow normal schedules. It helps tremendously to have the bank understand up front what money needs to be paid out that doesn't follow normal guide lines.

Good luck
Comment by Shelley on June 5, 2008 at 11:19pm
We were fortunate to sell our house, but spent 9 months cleaning and staging prior to putting it on the market.
After 12 months of agonizing permitting, engineering, surveying, and variance applications we are finally ready to begin building our log home.
We had planned to finish the exterior this year and complete the interior over the next 2 years. The bank threw us a curve ball because they want the main floor completely finished before they'll close on the loan.
It has really put a kink in our budget.
Has anyone else had this experience with their bank?

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