Image of Interior of a Log Home Custom Built Bar

When planning your dream log cabin home the first step is determining a budget for your project.  It really isn’t so much about knowing how much a log home costs as it is about knowing how much you can afford.

Determining How Much You Can Afford

When determining how much you can afford, one idea is to start by enlisting advice from your financial planner. A financial planner can help you determine the financial resources you already have; such as, savings accounts, IRAs or 401Ks, other homes that have equity, etc. Additionally, they can help you create the funds you need for your dream home by giving you strategic investment options. This idea is especially helpful if you are still years away from building.

If you have been dreaming of this project awhile, you may not need the help of a financial planner, especially if you already have the means to get started and know how much you have to invest in this project.

Another possibility is to finance the project. Caribou Creek has helpful resources for lenders that lend on log home construction and in some cases may also lend on land in addition to the building. To determine your budget in this case, it is recommended to speak to the lender to get pre-qualified. After pre-qualification you will have a reasonable idea of your total loan amount and monthly payments. 

Image of Financial planner and 2 clients

How Much Will Your Dream Home Cost?

The next step then is figuring out what size home you can afford. There are essentially two ways to go about determining this.

The first is to price out your dream house and then scale back, if needed, to get it under budget. 

The second way would be to work with your project team to calculate what size house fits in your budget. To read more about choosing the right team check out this blog post. 

If the land purchase is part of your expense it will be important to keep that in mind when putting your budget on paper. Should you already have land or are set up to inherit some acreage consider yourself ahead of the game, otherwise, this could be one of the larger expenses to factor. If you haven’t found the right land and would like some advice, consider reading our post about acquiring the right property. 

Another aspect to consider in planning your dream log home is to determine what type of log home you want. Often when searching for log homes the search results produce companies that offer machine milled log kits, which is different from what Caribou Creek offers. We build handcrafted log homes. Curious about the difference in these two construction types? We have a blog about that! 

If handcrafted custom homes are what you desire, the next step is to decide what style of log crafting you prefer. In our blog “Choosing Your Log Home Style,” we compare the various log crafting options and their affordability. 

Once the land is secure and the building phase is set to commence the largest expenses to consider are as follows:

  • General Contractor (if you choose to use one)
  • Architect (optional)
  • Site prep
  • Utility connections (includes power, water, and sewer). Finding land with these amenities already in place is a huge bonus. 
  • Foundation
  • Log structure
  • Roof
  • Heating source can also sometimes be a big component depending on which heating element you choose.
  • Features & coverings
  • Landscaping is another large expense, but can be done later if it doesn’t fit into the initial budget.
Bedroom in a log home with multiple windows.

How much just for the logs?

This is one of the most common questions we are asked, but unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult to answer especially when a client doesn’t have a floor plan established. Log packages can start as low as $25 a square foot and go up to $150 a square foot. The reason for the huge range is simple, handcrafted log kits get more expensive as the walls and corners increase. A 1600 square foot cabin that is a perfect square with four walls and four corners will be much less expensive than a 1600 square foot log home that has a main section with an elaborate roof system – more of an elongated floor plan. Then if the owner also wants interior walls made from logs this increases the price again. Furthermore, the log style, choice of log species, and joinery all add variables to the price. As you can see, the price per square foot home will be as unique as the home.  To see a demonstration of this watch this video. 

Tips to Stay on Budget

Using our Log Home Planning Guide is a great way to help keep yourself on budget. It outlines percentages of your total budget and helps you determine how much you can spend on individual elements. For example, if you have a budget of $600,000 you can expect roughly 1.75% to be spent on a fixtures; therefore, when sourcing fixtures, plan on spending a maximum of $10,500. The planning guide gives you a structure to use for your budget and helps you to control the costs. It also can help you to choose the right team, organize your ideas and your project overall.

Your local contractor can also be a resource to help you work within your budget. He or she will know what local prices are and what to expect to spend on finishing out the home. 

At Caribou Creek Log & Timber Homes our goal is to make the process of achieving your dream home as easy as possible. We work hard to build a network of connections from contractors to realtors and lenders. If you have any questions please ask us, we may have the perfect contact for you!

Building a home is a huge investment of time and money; however, the end result is absolutely worth it when you walk into your finished home with pride and satisfaction knowing you made your dream come true.

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