Home of the Log Homes Council (an association of log-home manufacturers)
Home of the International Log Builders’ Association (another association of log-home manufacturers)
This search tool by Realtor.com allows users to create their own Top 10 places to live by first selecting one characteristic to rank cities by and then restricting the search to cities with certain demographic, economic, or climate conditions.
Provides a comprehensive resource of city demographic guides, population statistics, cost of living calculators, school rankings, career and occupational outlooks, weather data, and general relocation information about the most prominent metropolitan areas in the nation.
The best current home value site listing recent existing home sales and current for-sale listings in neighborhoods all over the U.S. Unfortunately, it doesn’t list many buildable sites and has no rental information, but it utilizes extremely good mapping and “birds’ eye photos” software. The most complete search is by zip code.
Find Your Spot offers a quiz designed to help you determine what’s really important to you in a retirement location or hometown, then matches your answers against a database of American cities and towns and returns a customized list of your “perfect” spots.
Getting Started keyword search tips
• Search engine terms and phrases: Cabins [state/county/area], cabin plans, cabin kits, log cabins [state], log homes [state], vacation homes [state], plus any combination of these terms with “information” or “associations.”
• If you have a specific area in mind and are beginning to dig for statistical data, try plugging these terms into your search engine: [City, state] statistical data, [City, state] information, [City, state] crime rate (you can find information on property crime), [City, state] profile, [City, state] census
• Wikipedia.com can occasionally be an excellent source of raw data and has links at the bottom of the page for more information, along with a state map and the county highlighted in red.
• Cross-reference with www.cityrating.com
• Google “top places to live” and one of the first features will be Money magazine’s annual list of the top places to live. You’ll also find similar listings from companies such as Relocate-America.com, Real Estate Journal, and Sperling (bestplaces.net).
LOOKING FOR LAND
Features 16 states and Mexico. Formerly landbargains.com.
MSN.com’s home page includes searchable listings for new homes (from www.Realtor.com) or foreclosures (from www.RealtyTrac.com) and puff-piece features on financing, buying, selling, and repair.
This is a general real estate site used by the public and real estate agents. Click on Publications, then click on the state you’re interested in. You’ll find a listing of local real estate companies. When you click on these, you can often find parcels of land that are on the market, along with prices and descriptions.
Neighborhood Scout allows you to find the neighborhoods that are best for you based on your criteria. You can dig a little, then it turns into a subscription service.
www.nationallandpartners.com and www.nationaltimberpartners.com
Formerly freelandlist.com, these sites provide information and, occasionally, photographs of rural land lots for sale across the country
Great to use for comps and to get a feel for housing prices. Time-consuming if you’re looking for comps on cabins, vacation homes, or log homes.
Rural properties nationwide, with a primary focus on the Southeast.
West Virginia land from PardeeLand Co.
Adirondack waterfront real estate from Martha Day Realty.
North Carolina property from Gateway Mountain
North Carolina property.
Stratton Smith Waterfront Group, North Carolina.
Minnesota land from Bear Island Co.
Wisconsin property from Woods & Lakes Real Estate.
Lakefront land sales in the Midwest.
Land Watch features combined realtor offices with an emphasis on rural real estate. Includes a search option for log homes, though they seem to be limited to the Tennessee area.
Property in Colorado and Montana from Mallard Cove Realty.
www.appalachianland.com: Appalachian land.
Western land from a Nevada-based Eagle Star Co.
Nevada land from Mountain Water Ranch.
Rural UT and Western property from Quarter Circle H Ranch.
UT Outdoors recreational property.
Snow Home Properties/Colorado land.
Tacoma Land Company.
(timber and recreational land in the Pacific Northwest, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas)
Online real estate brokerage serving Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle, and areas of California. Deals mostly with existing urban homes.
Looking for land keyword search tips
• Search engine terms and phrases: Property for sale [state/county/area], zip code, region, state, residential property for sale, adjectives for type of property (lakefront, river, water, hill, mountain, wooded, woods), vacation property [state], rural land [state], land for sale [state]
LENDERS AND FINANCING
As you may already know, getting a construction loan isn’t usually as easy as walking into a bank. You’ll need to find finance specialists experienced in this type of housing and construction loan. Below is a list of the major nationwide log-home lending services.
American Log Mortgage: www.americanlogmortgage.com
Country Mortgages: www.countrymortgages.com (hunting and fishing property; farms, lots, and home sites)
First Financial: www.logandtimberfinance.com
Indymac Bank: www.indymacbank.com
Log Home Mortgages: www.loghomemortgage.com
Log Lenders of America: www.logloans.com
M&T Bank: www.yourloghomecenter.com
Magellan All in One Lending: www.magellanlending.com
Owner Builder Loan Services: www.obls.com
Stratford Financial Services: www.logloanexperts.com
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage – Log and Timber: www.logandtimber.com
Lenders and financing keyword and search tips:
• Search engine terms and phrases: log home lenders, log home financing
• Questions about financing, loans, or moving? Contact Country’s Best Log Homes “Money Matters” columnist Shari Steiner at her web site: www.movedoc.com.
• Keep in mind that many log-home producers can offer some type of financing or can hook you up with a preferred lender.
• Smaller, regional banks also offer log homes loans. You can find these by refining your search to include “log home,” “finance,” and your state. A nice list of regional banks is provided at www.cedar-log-homes.com/log-home-loans.htm
FINDING A BUILDER
Visit the Log & Timber Homes Network Business Directory.
FINDING A CABIN PRODUCER
Visit our online Business Directory.
Producer keyword and search tips:
• Search engine terms and phrases: Log cabins, vacation cabins, weekend cabins
• Add “build” to the search field to knock out the rental listings.
VACATION HOME SWAPS AND EXCHANGES
Maybe you already have a vacation cabin and are interested in swapping with someone else for a week. There are a number of home exchange sites online that will allow you to browse information about homes around the world, including lists of nearby attractions, activities, and pictures of homes to rent.
Bear in mind these are membership sites with fees usually around $100. You can list your home with an exchange group. Your listing is available to other people interested in visiting your location. Most sites appear to have decent traffic but little action, which leads us to believe people still have reservations about switching homes with strangers.
Cabin exchange keyword and search tips:
• Vacation home exchange
VACATION HOME RENTALS
Features more than 25,000 vacation home rentals in the United States and more than 74,000 worldwide.
Cabin exchange keyword and search tips:
• Cabin rentals, vacation home rentals
THE COZY CABINS MUST LIST
Provides information (and realty specialists) for a number of small towns and resort communities deemed to be ideal for weekend retreats or retirement homes. Also includes tabulations on the best up-and-coming locations for those seeking reasonably priced second homes. These small towns and resort communities share several characteristics: affordability, security, and proximity to larger cities.
Sperling’s Best Places still comes out with a top-notch research site. They have demographics and area profile information on everything from schools to health facilities to crime rates to rental rates to recent rates of home appreciation for every zip code in the U.S. Try searching by zip code, because his city search engine is not nearly as finely attuned to the differences between North and South Lake Tahoe, for example.
The official website of the largest real estate affiliate and franchise system in the world is dedicated strictly to country property sales and is by far the best site for finding country buildable sites.
The Land and Farm site is a great resource to find rural land and farmland, organized by state. You have to search the old-fashioned way, by price or by size within each state, but the listings are updated often. Includes a link to landflip.com, another site that features rural properties and occasionally cabins for sale.