Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Builder

The most important decision you make in building your new log home or cabin is choosing a good general contractor (builder) who is knowledgeable of building log homes or cabins.

Of course, the builder should have good references from past and current customers. The potential customer should inspect a number of homes or cabins that the builder has recently built. A careful inspection should include:

1. Log work tightness

2. Trim work alignment and tightness

3. Cracks in foundation walls, interior partitions, and interior finishes

4. Rain water infiltration

5. Levelness of floors and ridge lines

6. Check detailing of doors, windows, stairs and interior cabinet work

A good builder makes a project go smoothly as he or she knows the sub-contractors, and how to order materials and their delivery. The builder also knows permits required, driveway construction, sewers, water, electric power, the various costs, and the quality of the various materials. The builder can be a great help with the various details and decisions an owner must make on the project.

Communication is key. The owner must explain to the builder exactly what they want and at what cost. Therefore, an early estimate of the cost is very important.

Next, pre-qualify yourself for the total amount of the money you can afford to borrow. An old rule of thumb may be that 28% of your gross income should go for all long-term debt. Don't forget the down payment required. Also, shop for the lending institution like you shopped for the builder.

I like to obtain a set of drawings of the proposed house or cabin with specifications. One can then obtain bids from the good builders you have selected. It gives you more control of the bidding process.
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