The Log Cabin

Monday, July 19, 2010

Your Log Cabin Budget

What will your log cabin cost? That depends on a lot of things. You control most, if not all of the cost factors. The first step is to set a firm budget. Then, you probably need to make comprises as needed to stay within that budget.

I remember touring a log home that happened to be my preferred model, a three bedroom, two and a half bath with great room and a finished basement. The sales representative of the manufacturer, who was also a builder, eventually confided to me that a standard equipped home of that model would probably cost around $400,000. I believe that he was being entirely honest and I have also to confess that the number was a tad more than I expected.

He also stated that the particular house we were touring cost around $500,000 due to upgraded cabinets, countertops, fixtures, etc. That’s a 25% premium! Wow! (I don’t know about you but I’m not all that excited about fixtures.) Keep in mind that only about 20% of a log home cost comes from the logs.

Based on this experience and further research, I would recommend the following log home cost management approaches.

Determine your base log cabin design. As the result of reviewing many plans and visiting a number of log cabin models, I have a pretty good idea of what I would like. I’m not sure that I will be able to afford it but that’s OK. I’m going to have two to three log cabin manufacturers provide me plans (based on my input) and an estimated cost. I will also get quotes from at least three builders with log cabin experience (after reference research) to complete the construction.

If the numbers add up too high, I will start cutting back on features that I would like but don’t need. There are add-ons that I’ve seen on a model that I could live without. Maybe that roof won’t cover the porch. Maybe the roof won’t extend over the great room windows. Maybe I won’t be using Brazilian hard wood for my porches. If necessary, the basement won’t be finished. I will also expect the vendors to tighten their belts as well.

As a guide, I have seen a turnkey cost projection of $140-150 per square foot which excludes a driveway, septic and well. A minimum budget should not dip below $130.

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