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How To Save Money On Log Homes

December 7, 2008
Youve looked at every building style imaginable, but you keep coming back to the rustic style and natural beauty of log homes. Your mind is made up. You want this type of house, but your budget is tight.

Can you have your cake and eat it, too?

The answer is a simple yes if you know what financial corners to cut. You can have the log home of your dreams without paying a small fortune in the process or even limiting quality along the way. The tricks lie in how you handle the impending construction. If you already own your own land on which to build, or you plan to purchase a piece to do so on, youre a step ahead of the game.

Once youre in the drivers seat as a property owner, there are lots of opportunities to cut your costs while still building the home you have your heart set on. From saving money on the design work to keeping money in your coffers during actual building and finishing, there are ways to reduce the dollar amount attached to the construction of log homes.

Money Savings Is In The Design

Whether you own your own property or not, you cannot build a home without first having blueprints in hand. It doesnt matter if a general contractor is representing you throughout the entire building process or you plan on going it alone, you will need blueprints to obtain the proper government permits to begin construction.

The problem here is that hiring an architect to create blueprints for you can be a very costly venture. Sometimes this is well worth the expense though. If, for example, you have a very specific design and floor plan in mind, starting from scratch can be the best way to go. If you dont have a dream design in your heart, you can save a tidy sum by looking at alternatives.

So, whats the best alternative?

Chances are you can save yourself a big bundle from the start by purchasing plans that are already prepared. There are building and architectural firms out there that specialize in creating blueprints for log homes. These prints can be ordered online and delivered right to your door for a fraction of the price that an architect might charge to create plans from the ground up.

Now, before you jump at the first set of plans you see, there are things to keep in mind. If you do want to order ready-made plans for your log home, take the time to:

Carefully review the options There are lots of companies out there that offer blue prints for log homes. Review the floor plans and elevations carefully. Make sure youre in love with a design before you jump to buy.

Research the company Do look into the background of a company offering blueprints and designs for any home. It doesnt pay to plunk down even a penny if the blueprints come up short in the local building office. You will find yourself back at square one without a permit in hand.

Should you decide that creating drawings from scratch is the best way to go, you can still save money on the design phase. To get the best possible pricing, take the time to obtain quotes from architects, look at the designs and go from there. Make sure you get the plans you really want, because every other step of the project will hinge on this decision.

Kits Can Make A Difference

If youve decided to search for ready-made plans for a log home, chances are youve discovered that its possible to purchase kits that contain nearly everything needed for construction. For a single price, you can have your plans, wood, electrical and plumbing materials and even some of the finishing items you will need to make your house a real home.

Now, is this the best way to go? The answer all depends on the pricing.

To make sure a kit is the cheapest, most efficient way to go, pay attention to:

The materials included Good kits will come with all the basic building materials for your home, plus the plans. You will likely still need to pay to have your slab laid, your basement dug and a fireplace constructed (if you want one). If you find yourself having to buy an undo amount of materials even with a kit, it might not be the best option.

The price breakdown To make sure a kit is worth the price, take the time to do your own fact-checking. Find out what the materials are and price them out on your own. It may be the kit is the best way to go financially. It may, however, turn out that you can do better buying materials on your own. The only way to be sure it to get quotes on your own.

Sweat Equity Pays Off

If you really want to save a lot of money on the construction of a log home, youll find taking on some of the work yourself can pay off. No, you dont have to do everything to realize some serious cost savings. If you can use a hammer, screwdriver or saw, you can save on some labor costs. If you cant use any of those things, but youre an expert organizer, youre still in luck. There are ways to take professionals out of the equation to your financial benefit.

Here are some of the ways you can save yourself cash by getting into the construction project yourself:

Acting as your own general contractor If organization is your thing and you own your land, you can cut the general contractor out of the picture entirely. Remember, if you do choose to do this, you will have to pull your own building permits, schedule subcontractors, arrange for material deliveries and inspections and even handle paying people on time. Still, if you and your calendar are up to the task, this can save you a bundle.

Pieces of the construction If youre an expert do-it-yourselfer, take a look at the phases of construction. If there is a part, or even parts, you can handle alone or with some friends, go for it. As long as your work meets the muster for inspectors, you can put a piece of yourself into the construction and save money, too.

Final phases Do-it-yourselfers often find themselves right at home during the final phases of construction. Laying the tile or carpets, finishing the bathroom, putting in cabinets or even installing the counters or appliances yourself can save you some money.

If you want to save money on construction of your log home, bite off portions of the construction process you can handle. Just be realistic about what you can honestly do and what might be too much. Remember, quality should be as much a concern as saving money.

Other Things To Consider

If you dont want to get down and dirty in the construction process, there are still things you can do to save yourself money. Some examples of ways to cut corners financially without impacting your dream home in the process include:

Using the calendar wisely Do make certain to schedule the construction of your home during the best possible weather months. It wont do you or your budget any good to have your log home half way through construction when the first big summer rains hit and bring everything to a screeching halt.

Downsize a little Should you find your dream home is becoming too costly, look for ways to downsize it just a little. Perhaps selecting plans for a slightly smaller home would bring pricing in line?

Pay attention to the finishing touches Once the logs are in place, the electricity is on and water is coming to your home, your expenses arent over. Its often in the finishing touches that homeowners spend too much. To keep pricing low on the aesthetics, shop around and compare pricing on such things as kitchen cabinets, appliances, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures and so on. Scaling back even slightly can save you thousands. Even consider shopping scratch-and-dent on some things. Youd be surprised at how much a tiny scratch on the back of a refrigerator can save you!

Building the home of your dreams is an exciting proposition. Spending more than you have to, however, can make your plans go up in smoke. Take the time to consider all your options and select the cost-saving measures that make the most sense to you. Tackling even the smallest of jobs can leave a little extra money in your pocket while still affording you the home youve always wanted.