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What is a Turnkey Budget?

Most of our clients dream for years about building the log home or timber frame home of their dreams. Whether as a refuge for their family, a place to get back to nature, a custom designed log & timber home is a reward for a lifetime of accomplishment. But like everything else in life, cost is an inevitable consideration — the best way to avoid surprise and disappointment over the cost of your log & timber home is to establish a realistic turnkey budget at the outset of the conceptual design process.

Turnkey refers to the total cost to build your home, from foundation to finally turning the key to the front door for the first time.  It does not include the cost of land or land improvements, such as adding a septic system or constructing a road.

Our experience in designing and producing over 2,000 log & timber homes has taught us that the critical first step in the design process is to calculate an estimated turnkey budget. Once that is established your home can be designed to fit your budget, which will include the type and density of your log or timber materials. There are multiple factors that will affect the overall cost to build and if you ignore everything but the log or timber structure, you will be missing out on an opportunity to modify other elements to create the ideal home for what you want to spend.

Factors impacting your turnkey cost to build include: square footage of the home, complexity of the home, level of finishes, density of log or timber materials and the geographical location where you are building. The impact of square footage in the home is fairly straightforward — the bigger the house, the more building material that goes into the house.

The complexity of a home’s design is probably the least understood factor impacting cost — the more corners, roof ridge lines and roof valleys, the longer it takes to construct. On the other hand, a simple rectangular design with one roof ridge line is simpler, and therefore less expensive, to build.

The level of finishes that you choose also has a dramatic impact on overall cost — granite counter tops, jacuzzi tubs, wide plank flooring, etc. are beautiful amenities, but are more expensive than Formica counters, fiberglass tubs and carpet.

Lastly, the location of your land can be a huge factor in turnkey costs. Labor and some materials are more expensive in some parts of the country than others.  The difference between building the same home in State A versus State B could be thousands of dollars.  If you plan to build your  home in a state other than where you live now, make sure to understand what other custom home building projects are actually costing.

Learn more about the factors that impact the cost of log homes.