Log Home Jour­ney

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

Hir­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced, pro­fes­sional builder is one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions you’ll make. Our Log Home Jour­ney­man shares his thoughts (and ex­pe­ri­ence).

Hir­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced, pro­fes­sional builder is one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions you’ll make in the en­tire log home process. Our Log Home Jour­ney­man shares his thoughts (and ex­pe­ri­ence) on the mat­ter.

One of the most cru­cial de­ci­sions you will make in your log home jour­ney is choos­ing the right log home builder. Since I’m in the con­struc­tion busi­ness myself, this isn’t a de­ci­sion my wife Becky and I took lightly. Ul­ti­mately, we chose to fol­low the lead of our log home provider, Hochstetler Milling, by go­ing with their “pre­ferred builder.” A pre­ferred builder is one that meets all of the stan­dards set forth by the log sup­plier, is well­versed in their build­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions and has a good track record with them. Ray­mar Log Homes is Hochstetler’s pre­ferred builder in our area. We met with the own­ers, Owen Miller and Sam Yoder, and re­viewed their pro­posal and pric­ing. Af­ter a lit­tle ne­go­ti­at­ing, an agree­ment was made to meet our bud­get.

While re­view­ing our blue­prints, Sam had sev­eral sug­ges­tions of ways to make the in­stal­la­tion go smoother (rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove the de­sign/build ex­pe­ri­ence is a happy side ben­e­fit of go­ing with a man­u­fac­turer’s pre­ferred builder, as they know the prod­uct and the process well). We were very com­fort­able us­ing Ray­mar Log Homes and ap­pre­ci­ated their feed­back. In fact, not only did we de­velop a busi­ness re­la­tion­ship, but also a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with the crew. This ap­proach may not be right for ev­ery­one, as some peo­ple pre­fer to keep the re­la­tion­ship purely on a pro­fes­sional level; how­ever, for Becky and me, get­ting to know our builders would make the whole con­struc­tion process more pro­duc­tive and fun.

Whether you opt for a pre­ferred builder or find one on your own, here are our tips to help you hire the right builder for you.

Ref­er­ences. Get a min­i­mum of three ref­er­ences and visit at least one home the builder has built — ide­ally one that’s at least three years old, as this will be a tes­ta­ment to how the builder’s work has stood up to the test of time, in­clud­ing log set­tle­ment. Ask th­ese for­mer cus­tomers if the job was done in a timely man­ner, if the builder was a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor and how he/she han­dled any is­sues that oc­curred.

In­tegrity. Ask the ref­er­ences if they had dif­fer­ences with the builder. If so, how were they re­solved? Did the builder lis­ten and at least come their way par­tially? If prob­lems arose, did the builder blame the sup­plier or ad­dress them per­son­ally? Did they bad­mouth their com­pe­ti­tion, make neg­a­tive com­ments about the blue­prints, etc.? Most im­por­tantly, were they hon­est?

Pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Do they re­turn calls promptly? Were the es­ti­mates on time and clearly spelled out, leav­ing no doubt as to what is or is not in­cluded? Does the builder carry li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance? ( This is vi­tal to pro­tect you and your in­vest­ment.) Will the builder war­ranty the work for a year or more? Th­ese are all ques­tions that need to be ad­dressed be­fore you de­cide who you will hire.

All in all, there are good builders and bad builders. It’s up to you to find the best pro you can who will work within the scope of your bud­get. A log home isn’t just one of the most ex­pen­sive pur­chases you’ll make in your life­time, it’s the re­al­iza­tion of a dream. Make it a good one.

FROM LEFT: To con­struct their house, Gary and Becky chose Ray­mar Log Homes, a “pre­ferred builder” of their log home man­u­fac­turer, Hochstetler Milling.An ex­pe­ri­enced log home builder will have all the tools he/she needs at the ready and may even of­fer sug­ges­tions to help the en­tire process go more smoothly. It’s a good idea to hear him/her out.

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