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Log Homes: Kit or Custom

custom log homeFalling in love with a log home is easy. Whether you spot your ideal in a magazine, at a home show, or from behind the wheel as you travel, when you see the “perfect” log home it hits you like cupid’s arrow: you must have one. The more complicated part is determining the best way to get one, and that requires some research. In your quest for information, you’ll discover there are many paths to a log home, but the two main roads are kit, and custom.

Kit Log Homes
Whether a kit home is a good choice for you depends on your timeframe, budget and how comfortable you are with an unalterable floor plan.  Kit log homes are typically quicker to build and cost less than custom log or timber homes because they’re pre-designed and often times pre-cut; the potential down-side is that you can’t tweak the footprint or floor plan. While some kit companies will make modifications, the available changes are likely to be small ones that don’t require a licensed architect or engineer.  It’s also important to keep in mind that the majority of kits include just the log wall structure so your log home or cabin won’t be move-in ready once the kit is assembled. Make sure to know exactly how much of the home is included in the given kit price, then budget additional time and money for items such as windows, plumbing, interior drywall, HVAC and the installation of interior finishes.

Custom Log Homes
If you have the budget, a longer timeframe – despite wanting your dream log or timber home now – and the desire to incorporate your own design ideas, you’re probably on the path to a custom home.  By going this route, you have more control over the finished product. You can work with a designer to create an entirely new log home design, or to modify an existing home plan to make it your own. You can incorporate that unique truss design you saw in a magazine, or the sleeping porch you’ve always wanted. Depending on the home provider, you may also have access to services beyond the design and production of your home package, including project management, and building services ranging from the installation of the structure to full turnkey construction.

Kit Price or Turnkey Estimate?
One of the most confusing aspects of determining the right fit for your project is pricing. You may call one company and they tell you a price for a kit and the next company provides a price for the logs plus their services, and the next company gives you a turnkey cost estimate for your entire project. Make sure you fully understand what cost is being quoted, so that you can compare your options accurately.  Don’t assume that everyone is quoting a price based on the same materials.

Making Your Choice
Whether a kit or custom approach is right for you depends on several factors, and both have their advantages, but the most important consideration is which path will lead to a home you love.