Planning and Budgeting For Log Homes
The first step to building your dream home is to create a realistic construction budget based on what you can comfortably afford. In some cases, this may require modifying the floor plan or the overall design to meet your limitations. Keep in mind that this needs to be a realistic and attainable number (don't look at $500,000 projects if all you can afford is $150,000) and don't be afraid to be conservative with your estimate at first.
When creating a realistic construction budget, consider the following strategies:
- Set a top-end cost: This is the amount of dollars that construction costs cannot exceed. By setting a realistic top-end cost you will save yourself time and aggravation by only considering options that fit within your budget. Keep in mind that this needs to be a realistic and attainable number (don't look at $500,000 projects if all you can afford is $150,000) and don't be afraid to be conservative with your estimate at first. You can always add more to the budget once you have an accurate understanding of the costs.
- Subtract 15% from your top-end cost: Most construction projects have an over-expenditure rate of 5% to 10%. By proactively subtracting 15% from your top-line cost, you will improve your chances of not experiencing a cost overrun. For example, if your top-end cost is $200,000 you should subtract $30,000 and adjust your construction budget to $170,000.
- Create a priority list of "must haves", "nice to haves" and "could haves". The simplest way to complete this exercise is to mentally visualize each room in your new log home and take note of what you see and in what order (See Custom Log Plan). When faced with trimming your budget, look first to your "could haves" list, then your "nice to haves."
- Add the cost of your land, well & septic, or utility hookup fees.
Now that you have a budget number in mind, it is time to decide which type of log home fits within your means. There are two main categories of log homes: milled and handcrafted.
In general terms, Milled log homes will range from $80.00 to over $150.00 per Sq. Ft. on the average. Handcrafted log homes are typically more costly of the two, normally costing from $150 to $250 per Sq. Ft. These costs will vary depending on the local building department requirements, your site location, if you are hiring a builder or managing that yourself, and if you are doing some of the work yourself. It will also depend on your selection of the finishes on your home. These items can greatly reduce your costs.
Note: These prices are only estimates and may vary up to 15% depending on such factors as location and the particular amenities that you would like in your home.
For illustration purposes, suppose that you elect to build a medium quality 2000 Sq. Ft. milled log home and your cost is $120 per Sq. Ft. Using these two variables (total square footage and cost per square foot) you can quickly calculate a rough estimate of what your total project cost will be; in this example you can approximate your total costs at $240,000.00 plus land. The same formula applied to a comparably sized handcrafted log home, using $175.00 per Sq. Ft., will increase your cost estimate to roughly $350,000.00 plus land.
Once you've arrived at a realistic construction budget, your next step is to refine your estimates into hard numbers by proceeding with a detailed project plan. Your project plan includes all the elements needed to manage the construction of your new log home, whether you hire a licensed builder/construction manager or you do much of the building yourself. Avalon Log Homes partners with our clients in the creation and execution of their log home project plans. Contact us today for more information.