Packaged to Perfection

Shop smart to find the log home package that’s a perfect fit for you.

Car dealers offer them. Major-league teams market them. Even fast-food restaurants sell them. They’re packages, and each one contains a different set of options. Companies offer packages to help their customers decide which options are most appealing to them. Log home companies are no different. They want to make the home-buying process as easy as possible by pre-packaging some of the more popular or vital components of log home building.

The key is to understand your needs and wants before you start shopping the almost infinite number of package options out there. Here’s how:

Compare Packages
Basic Package: The basic package contain the materials needed to erect the log walls and is a cost-effective way to build a log home. This is particularly true if you intend to hire a local builder to stack the logs and complete the house, or if you plan to act as an owner-builder, doing much of the work yourself and hiring subcontractors for the more technical aspects.

Weathertight Package: This includes the items that you’d get in the basic package, plus materials to safeguard the house from the elements. That means everything you need to complete the outside of the house and cover it with a roof.

Complete Package:
The name says it all. This version contains all of the materials in the weathertight package, plus more of the interior finishing items. Some companies take their complete packages a step further and make the home “turn key,” which includes all the materials needed to make the home habitable.

Shop Around
Compare manufacturer’s packages. To make it easier to choose, create a grid to help sort out what each package offers. In a column on the left, list all of the aspects you’re looking for in a package, and across the top, list all of the manufacturers’ packages you’re considering. Then check off each item that corresponds between your list and the manufacturer’s.

Create a budget. Figure out how much you can afford to spend so you can establish a working budget. This will be one of the biggest factors determining which company you’ll choose.

Get an estimate. After you’ve arrived at a realistic plan and a budget, supply them to the log producers you’ve targeted and have each estimate a package price. All bids should be based on the same specifications, although it’s wise to ask for separate estimates for basic, weathertight and complete packages. You also can ask for an itemized materials list, with costs as part of the estimate, so that you know exactly what’s included.

For the full article, see the November 2004 issue of Log Home Living.