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That is the question.

We all know that log home owners want to be involved in every stage of their building process, but what about do-it-yourself projects? Are you interested in completing a part of your log home on your own or would you rather leave it to the pros?

Or maybe you've already taken a hands-on approach with your home. How did it go? Got any tips? Would you do it again?

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I would definitely have the electrical and roof done by the pros. Also, we put sock tile in around the footing of our home and it was a real job. I'd rather pay to have it done next time around!
As a log and timber home builder Western NC, based out of Asheville and long time industry advisor, the DIY option has effectively been taken "off the table" for most folks for two reasons and they both have to do with risk.

First, if you plan to finance your home, you will be hard pressed to find any bank willing to finance a DIY or owner-builder project to anyone who is not "qualified" to oversee the project (i.e. licensed general contractor or equivalent). Given that the foundation of all lending is based on risk and return, lenders want to fund projects that they believe will have the highest probability of success (i.e. least risk). Owner-builder financing was tough to get prior to credit crisis and is now almost impossible.

Consider if you were an investor and were going to fund the construction of one of two prospective projects. Both projects were identical except for one was to be built by an experienced, licensed general contractor with years of proven experience and the other was to be built by an owner, who was not a contractor and it was their first (or maybe second) project. Where would you invest your money?

Second, state and local government are strengthening their contracting laws and regulations to ensure that only qualified individuals build homes. Again, mitigating risk is the reason for these actions and, more specifically, ensuring public safety.

My advice to anyone considering being an owner-builder is to first check with your state and local agencies that handles contracting licensing or oversees building permits. They will be able to tell you what level of licensure is required. Then, if you're not paying cash, reach out to a few lenders and discuss the possibilities of securing financing in today's market.

Good luck and hope this helps. For more info, please don't hesitate to email me.

Tom Ryan | Mountain Home Solutions
I've been having the same thoughts myself, try to do some of it or just contract it all out or buy a pre-fab kit.

I've dealt with contractors before on my current house with a room addition and bedroom/bathroom remodel. Most of them I've dealt with, aren't rocket scientists and make mistakes that I would never make doing it myself. I happen to be in a good spot as I intend to sell my home outright in 5 years and live in my motorhome on site as the construction happens. I know you probably don't have that luxury.

The main problem I have with contracting everything is that unless you are RIGHT THERE all the time, every single one I've seen or heard of takes shortcuts and don't have a high attention to detail. Just my personal experience.

Good Luck.
Craigmandu, you are absolutely correct. Any contractor you hire will of course be motivated by profit, or he wouldn't be in business. Homeowners that are capable of construction absolutely cringe when they see some of the practices and shortcuts of contractors. We were in the same situation as you, able to sell our house and use the proceeds to build a new one. It may take me much longer to finish my home, but I do spend that extra time getting it "just right" as opposed to "close enough".
I spend a lot of time researching before I dive into a project phase. I have all the applicable code books and study them thoroughly before I start. The internet forums, however, are my main source for research. When I was ready to purchase the John for the basement, I found a site where the guy had actually tested a broad range of the 1.6 gal/flush toilets and rated them. He did the testing with substances that approximate human waste. I made a list of the top 10 and found that my plumbing supply house carried one of them, so I bought it and installed it. My wife gave me no end of fits about researching a toilet, but now that we are ready for toilets upstairs she said to make sure I bought the same model, because she sure likes it. :)
my friend and myself have been building my log home now for one year. the package was deliverd on july 5th of 2008 I went with moosehead cedar log homes out of greenville me. seeing as we are building in maine. they have been spectacular with any problems We have run into. I have limmited construction Knowledge I did a little siding when I was younger but my buddy has a little more experience but is not a pro by any means. we are building 200 miles from where we live in Ma. so we travel up every other weekend and we do what we have to do if that means working in the pouring rain thats what we did. there is no time to worry about the small stuff. seeing as we worked 57 hours a week at home and then drove to maine I just got home today from working on it this weekend we finnished framing the 2 bedrooms bathroom and kitchen. we did everything except pooring the foundation. I would love to do it again It can be done because I am doing it right now and everything I do just makes me more confident on the next step. I just didnt like having to shovel 6 inches of snow off of the roof before we started shingleing but you do what you have to do. every problem has a solutin
I have built 2 homes so far, and it is a lot of work! In all cases, I subbed out the shells, because of a lack of help to do it myself and have done all the interior work. Some would rather do the shell and then sub out the interior. I really depends on what you feel you are capable of doing, how much time you have and how much energy you have. Below is a link to a video of the erection of my shell that I put up on You Tube for my show. Shows the erection of the shell by the pros, after I did the deck. Subsequently, I did the interior finishing. My podcast goes into a lot of the parts, if you want to listen to get an idea of the process. I will be posting many more videos this summer of the construction process.

Nothing beats the pride of ownership though, if you built it or even had a big part in it. Plus, you will know every square inch of your home, how it works, how it's put together, and all that is good (or not) about it.

You Tube Video Part 2


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