You’ve worked up plans for your new home. You’ve found a log style you like. You’ve even set an overall budget. The hardest part of creating your dream home seems to be over.
Yes, some of the tough decisions are behind you, but what about the cost of outfitting your home?
1. Look at Averages
One way to figure how much you can allocate for finishing your home is to look at what others have spent. To get a sense of average costs, we turned to Peter Rosi, owner of Jim Barna Log Systems Midwest in Brookston, Indiana. The company sells nearly 50 log homes annually and completes turn-key construction on many of them.
The projected total cost for the home was $400,214, with a $25,000 contingency for a general increase in material costs because the client won’t be building for another two to five years.
The bid worked out to $120 per square foot, for 2,742 square feet of living space with a full log garage of 576 square feet and an unfinished 1,884-square-foot basement. The projected total cost for the home was $400,214, with a $25,000 contingency for a general increase in material costs because the client won’t be building for another two to five years.
2. Consider Labor Costs
Think of the cost in labor between installing a pre-hung, steel-front door that two workers can install in an hour versus a handmade 6,000-pound, Brazilian hardwood front door that will take a team of 12 to install.
3. Assess the Options
Costs also vary according to the quality of the materials you use. Equipped with all the bells and whistles, a 1,200-square-foot log cabin can run three times as much as a larger home that is modestly appointed.
What’s important is to realistically assess the factors affecting cost, notably the prices of the features and materials you want.
However, before you accept builders’ standards, discuss the work to be completed with each contractor and ask for a clear explanation of their standards as well as other options you may have. In this way you’ll know what to expect in the finished product.
4. Prioritize and Pare
Even when you have a rough plan for allocating your budget, you will likely end up wrestling with choices on amenities and options. This is where you’ll need to make the tough choices.
To help in your decision process, start by making a list of the five
“I call this process the ‘rather thans,’” explains Shanna S. Sheppard, an account representative with M&T Mortgage Corp. who previously built custom log homes for 25 years. “Home buyers have to decide whether they, ‘like to have this in their home, rather than that.’ It’s a matter of weighing their lifestyle and priorities and coming up with solutions that are right for them.
“I advise them to trust their contractor and do their research and comparison-shop on every item that goes into their home. That’s the best way to come up with an accurate budget.”
Charles Bevier is editor of Building Systems Magazine, a nationwide trade magazine that profiles innovative construction technologies.
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