The Cost of Homes
How much does a house cost? That is like asking how much does a car cost? Is it a Beamer or a Yugo? Does it have a standard 4 cylinder or the lick-overhead-jam five with a turbo-charged cigarette lighter, oversized floor mats, cut-down door handles, and a calm-shattering radio? Prices of houses are like Oprah's weight. They vary as a function of time, size, equipment, labor costs, and the mood of the Federal Reserve.
We do not include plywood, 2x4’s, windows, doors, treated lumber, hardware and other non-log home related materials in our packages. There are things that are not included in most anybody’s log home package. You will need to buy those things from a local builder’s supply or specialty supply house. We feel that buying the non-log home specific materials locally will be more accurate, cost effective, and convenient for you. It will allow you to make any changes that you desire at the time of construction and order just the material that you desire. You may also pick out windows, doors, and hardware to suit your particular taste and the depth and breadth of your pocketbook. We offer custom packages and as such every one we sell is the first time that we have sold materials for that particular package.
Larger homes tend to be more expensive than smaller ones of course, but cheaper PER SQUARE FOOT because some of your costs stay the same, as driveway, gravel, pipe, water. Log homes with stick built or truss type roofs are not much more expensive than stick built homes and in fact are about the same price as stick built. This is not true if YOU HAVE A GREAT ROOM WITH BEAMS AND T&G in the ceiling. Said another way, building log walls does not drive up the price of a house as much as a post and beam (timber frame) type roof with timbers and all wood tongue and groove..
Remember, log homes are NOT cheaper to build than stick-built homes. You have approximately four times the wood in a log home as is in a stick built home. In fact most of the wall in a stick built home consists of air. At least that is true here in the Southeastern US. All kinds of homes are just like cars that don’t move, only different. Speed and luxury = $. Go fast, go in style, yo money lasts a little while. Not so comfy and a little slower, wallet stays thicker, goes mo-further. Stay away from the high-dollar extras and you save more. Of course you won’t be able to help yourself when it comes to the log-sided big screen TV’s and the tongue in the groove DVD players.
Here in the Southeast, many people can work on their own home and save money. It ought to be that way everywhere, but we realize that some places do not allow their citizens the freedom to construct their own homes. Somebody might make a mistake, oh heaven forbid! I bet they can even do that in Russia now! I can just hear the Pilgrims rolling in their own graves as they learn that Americans cannot work in their own homes without a license. I sometimes wonder just how long it will be before gravitationally enhanced Big Brother will issue licenses for the sale and use of toilet paper. I wonder who will administer the licensing exam? Since I am off on a rant, our old mill which was built in the 1940’s and weighs 25,000 pounds has a green start button and a red stop button. Nowadays the new equipment has a red start button and a green stop button. It says tons about what we have become. Political correctness and rights protection won’t let us do any risking whatsoever. The American way used to be fire, ready, aim. Now it is ready, aim, recheck the aim, check the safety of the area, recheck the safety of the area, call your neighbor just to be sure that he doesn’t mind you aiming, check with 256.5 government agencies to be sure the aim is all right with them, go to sleep while waiting on hold during the 8th round of call transfers, wake up to discover you need to go through the whole process again. I wonder when it will become too dangerous to even mill logs on account of splinters or that toxic cypress dust? We best leave that for another day. Never let my scatterbrained self get started on that! Oh, what the heck. All those interested in more freedom, smaller government and lower taxes, are welcome to click to the following:
If not then make checks payable to IRS with a smile!
Now to un-digress. Like I mentioned earlier, houses vary in price just like trains, boats, planes, cars, trucks and divorces. I have seen houses completely built for $50 per square foot all the way up to $175 per square foot or more. I have seen cabins without heat and a/c and pretty rustic for a good deal less. Since labor is the one largest item in the house-building universe, your sweat can make more difference than almost any other one thing, excluding, possibly, the death of a rich uncle that loved you dearly.
The $50 figure was a man building his own, very nice, 2000 square foot home. He achieved that good price by laying logs, setting beams, nailing on t&g, putting on porches, wiring, plumbing and personally doing nearly all the rest. I think he hired the heating and a/c and the concrete work (basement / foundation) along with some temporary help with the roof. He simply did it all.
The $175 per square foot home was a very, very expensive custom job with a 15' wide rock fireplace, hand crafted cypress trees for stairs and timbers, archways cut in logs, all wood, etc. He paid a contractor to do it all. It was an incredible house accompanied by an incredible price. Did I mention that he had an incredible billfold to match before building the house which became less incredible after its completion?
You need to swallow $80 per square foot of heated space to be a candidate to have a log home completely built where you do no work at all, at least here in the Southeastern US. That is a builder's grade kind of house with nothing fancy, but a pretty nice house, nonetheless. If you want all wood, timber frame roof, large porches, hardwood floors, solid countertops, fancy fixtures, self-winding solar powered toilet paper rolls and such, and want it done for you, be prepared to spend $90-$120 per square foot. I have seen some builders build people houses with some portions of the roof stick built and other corners cut for in the 60's, but not too many.
So, let's do some math, stay with me here.......
A standard builder's grade type house, nothing fancy, carpet, laminated countertops, etc.....
1500 square foot home times 80 dollars per square foot = $120,000 turn key (estimate)
Or a fancier, all wood house, wood floors, timbers, solid countertops, porches, etc.....
1500 square foot home times 120 dollars per square foot = $180,000 (estimate)
Or, you do it all yourself..... and I mean ALL yourself..
1500 square foot home times 60 dollars per square foot = $90,000 (estimate)
I have people come to me with a $75,000 budget wanting a 2500 square foot house. They are wasting their time and mine. 25 years ago, that would be no problem, but today is not 25 years ago. (DUH! Durst thou receive the spirit of that last statement?) Building is very expensive now. Carpenters get $15-$50 bucks an hour and stay busy, so they don't have to work for less, and therefore will not. It is supply and demand all over again. (like de'ja`-vu all over again, only different)
Also, 99% of all houses go over budget. It's as simple as the human psyche. (er, maybe simple is a bad word, goofed up as the human psyche might be better) People get excited like being at an auction when it comes to self and will spend $200-$4000 at a time on multiple items they just "cannot do without", until they amass a financial mountain out of their planned and budgeted molehill. Rationalizations vary, but mostly fall under, "we're only going to do this one time, so let's have the double, self cleaning, instant on, fully automatic hot & cold running towels. They are only $3995!!! Oh, and honey.....the built-in hydraulic toilet bowl plungers are on sale for $362.50 each at Home Depot. The Smiths already have them and the Jones' will soon......PLEASE?" ............"Yes dear, of course dear, sure thing dear. I don't know how we'll pay for it, but.......yes dear..." As well, some people relish the idea of the bank writing big checks and allowing them to spend the money on their dream home, but they lose sight of the fact, that money must be paid back along with more money. Banks make money by loaning money. I must be the master of the obvious statement.
Read these numbers...Let them sink in....Try them on. Literally spend the money in your mind. If you are within 10 dollars per square foot of the range, then maybe, but if you are 25 dollars per square foot under and can't sweat some equity, then not. I do not want anyone to get themselves into trouble attempting the impossible on my watch. I never want the phone call that says "why didn't you tell me how much it was going to cost? Now I'm going to lose my dream home before I ever get to move in". Calls of that nature damage my calm and if you don’t do your homework, your calm may be severely damaged as well.
Some log home salesmen will try to convince you the availability of your dream house at lower prices to get your name on the line. Remember, you are the one that is going to have to pay the extra money when it goes over, not them. Be darn sure in your own mind. You should go out and price stuff. Compare everything you read and hear to what you know to be true and if it sounds too good it probably is. Remember, good judgment is born of experience which is born of bad judgment. Don't hone your house pricing skills after the fact. If you do, you'll be sorry. I believe my granddaddy’s words were “broke & hungry”. The timing of such an undertaking is critical to success. After the fact planning is like taking grandma’s car keys away from her after she drives off into the river.PS>>>>>If you have read this without firing off a few rounds inside the house, please let me know when you call 256-463-5576. Ah heck, you can go ahead and tell me even if you remained calm.
Continue to next must read: The Know-Know's of Log Home Construction >>>