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Expert Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

When building a log home, it's only natural to have more than a few questions. Luckily, the experts at our Log & Timber Home Shows have the answers. See what insights they have to offer on the log home building process, from financing to the final touches.

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Photo: Mark Sorenson
We met up with several companies at the Log and Timber Home Show in Denver and had them share their expertise on everything from planning and designing a log home to budgeting, energy efficiency, and the building process. Check out their answers below:

Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes

Tell us about Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes and what sets you apart from other log and timber home manufacturers.

Our industry-leading complete package sets us apart. I speak of the complete package in two ways. One, the materials. A client can come to us for virtually everything for their home, essentially a one-stop shop. They can select items from logs, windows, doors, cabinetry, fireplaces, stone, plumbing fixtures, etc. in our huge 8,000+ square foot showroom. The second half of the complete package is the services. We dry, manufacture and grade all our logs and timbers right on our campus. Our design and pricing team, along with purchasing and shipping, are also under one roof. We feel we control the quality, the cost and the outcome of the home if we are involved in every step of the process.

Hybrid homes and the many textures that are seen within these hybrid homes are increasing in popularity. Can you share some insight on what a hybrid home is and how Golden Eagle is incorporating this trend in their designs?

The word hybrid has been used differently throughout the industry, from meaning a mix of full-log and half-log to meaning a mix of structural and decorative timber framing, but it essentially means a mix of different building materials. We have added a number a log/timber profiles because of this. Our new double-hewn profile has a look of log and timber which means it could be used on either type of home. We’ve added on to our showroom to display these new profiles along with nickel-spaced and reclaimed products. What makes these types of homes so popular is that you can blend different types of textures and facades and let the customer drive the look they want to achieve.

What is one thing people always overlook when it comes to their log home construction?

The details that are specific to this type of home are sometimes are overlooked. This ties back into our complete package. We don’t just sell you a shell and then leave it up to the homeowner or builder to figure out the details. Because we design the kitchen, provide the interior doors, etc.,  everyone is working together to ensure the home turns out picture perfect!

Real Log Homes

What inspired you to create your virtual reality/3D interactive tours?

We build homes across the country and while we have many independent representatives nationwide, we do not always have a model home that reflects the style of the individual. In order to give our future clients a visual of our vast product offerings, we decided that the Matterport 3D virtual tours were a perfect fit. In the past, virtual tours were simply video walk-throughs and were limited to only see what was recorded. The Matterport 3D virtual tours let folks get an overall feel for the spaces and flow of the home by allowing them to move, or click, through at their own pace, including looking up at the ceiling and down at the floors. The zooming capabilities are also incredible. Visitors can see even the smallest details from the books on a shelf to the grain of the wood.

Another reason we were drawn to this particular 3D virtual tour tool was because many of our customers are looking for guidance and ideas when it comes to finishing and decorating their log homes. This tool allows us to tag different materials and items in the home and link out to websites where more can be learned about the specific detail or item being viewed. We recently began working with local craftsmen to identify interior finishes and furnishings and can “tag” those items as well.

We are adding more homes to our library of 3D tours all the time so our future clients can enjoy the view from the comfort of their home, or even here at the home show, while making some of their most memorable and fun decisions, like how to design their future Real Log Homes.

Where do you see the future of log homes going? What is changing and what is staying the same?

A lot of folks are drawn to the charm of a log home or cabin because it takes them back to childhood memories of shows like Little House on The Prairie where life seemed simpler.

The little, old, dark and drafty log homes of the past, however, have been replaced with well-lit, energy-efficient models that are second to no other form of construction. Log homes are ever-changing. Options continue to advance the look, feel and efficiency of today’s log homes.

Our customers choose Real Log Homes for many reasons. We have one of the most advanced joinery systems in the industry which gives our clients peace of mind that their home will be energy efficient and protected from the outside elements. A log home from Real Log Homes will be enjoyed and cherished for generations.

Real Log Homes is always pushing the envelope of change to meet our client’s demands. With our sister brands, American Post and Beam and Timberpeg, under the same roof, we have many in-house options available. We have the ability to mix and match styles, textures and include timber frame elements in our log homes, giving our clients an experience and pallet unrivaled in the industry. Our precision CNC milling assures the most precise fits that the old-fashioned method of cutting on site just can’t match.

Pure log homes, those constructed of logs only, have become rare in today’s architectural designs. We’re seeing more contemporary designs and a mix of various materials, such as stone and cedar shakes that complement the log walls, adding character as well as a personal, “one of a kind” touch! That trend will continue to advance the industry and spark those seeking that one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-box home that is “so nice to come home to.”

How does Real Log Homes work with their customers on making customizations to existing floor plans?

A great home begins with a great design and what might look perfect on paper and work for one customer may not always be the best solution for someone else. Most of our clients today have very specific wants and needs. We, like most other companies, do have a few standardized floor plans, but our niche is developing customized plans that are site-specific as well as designed to fit the needs and budgetary requirements of our clientele.

Our in-house design team has over 100 years of combined experience. They work with some of the most elaborate and sophisticated design programs, which allows for better details and graphics, giving our clients a much more comprehensive and realistic view of their ideas. We have, on hand, thousands of floor plans that have been developed over decades that we can pull from to assist us in the design process. We also have experience working with architects to incorporate log walls and features into their plans.

Whatever design route is chosen, we encourage our clients to create a scrap book of features and finishes they like for each room, which will help us determine products, styles and finishes, giving us an overall idea for the scope of the project. The more we learn and understand about our customer, the better our team can work to create the perfect home for them.

US Bank

What can people who attend your budget and finance presentation look forward to learning about?

The presentations at the shows will focus on what is required to do a construction loan and how they work. This includes down payment requirements, interest rates, closing costs, the draw process as well as important details of a project that should be discussed with the lender up front.

When trying to find the right lender, do you have any pro tips?

I recommend looking for a mortgage consultant that is experienced with construction financing. These loans are much more difficult to process than a purchase or refinance due to the addition of the project documents, including getting the builder approved, obtaining plans, specs, cost to build and the contract. It is also important to insure the lender is experienced in log and timber frame financing. During the interviewing of the lender, the client should fully explain their project details to the best of their ability to make sure the lender can actually help them, including the type of home (log or timber frame), how large the lot is (how many acres), if it is zoned  to be agricultural, if have they done any pre-start activity to the project, etc. Clients typically have many questions during the process and they will need an expert they can rely on.

What is one thing people always overlook when it comes to their log and timber frame budget?

The main thing that isn’t always thought about upfront is cost overruns. A builder provides the client with the cost to build the home, but many times the client chooses items that exceed what is in the budget. If the cost exceeds the budget line item, the client will need to pay for the overage out of pocket. It’s a good practice for a client to have excess cash after closing just in case something like this occurs. Another solution is to build a contingency line item into the budget to cover any overages. This extra cost increases the overall project cost and the appraisal must support the higher value if the client is financing the project.
See also: Questions & Answers From Timber Frame Experts

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