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I have properties in northern lower Michigan and the Smokey Mountain areas. I would like to build log homes at both locations with the home in Michigan a secondary and modest residence. I know I can get a stick built home for this price but would much prefer a log home. I have a well, septic and electric so that doesn't need to be considered in the price. The land is paid for as well.

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Sounds like you have it all figured out except the end amount. Have you made alterations to try and bring the final figure in line with your budget? With the figures you have are you or have you considered being your own General Contactor? You might save some there. Coming from your location, and the log home companies location, are you looking at Cypress logs? If so they are understandbly costly. How many log companies have you done comps with before you chose this manufacturer. Other log types may be less costly if Cypress is a factor. I'd like to think there are things a person can do to reach his goal without cutting out a lot of the "upgrades/finishes".

What I did on my property in Northern Michigan was put in the well, ceptic and brought in electric. Since that is paid for I don't have to include that in my costs when I build. How soon will you be building? Is it possible to do some things now and exclude it from your final budget? I was even considering having the basement done and cap it until I was ready to build. Too late for that now but others may find that an approach worth considering (if there local laws allow them).

You are a lot further along than I. Keep me posted. I hope your experience turns out well.

Hey Tom, you are correct . The quote is for Cypress. I have spoken to one other log home manufacturer, Top Notch Log Homes which is a part of Pioneer Log Homes. They did come in at a more reasonable price although it was based on not seeing any preliminary plans which the Cypress guy was able to look at. The price from Top Notch was about $190,000 which would bring it into the ball park but as i said, they might not stick by that number when they see plans and also I'm very concerned about their financial stability. I have now passed their lumber/construction yard several times and it is always empty. And I mean not one stick of lumber. Additionally, my phone calls to the general manager go answered. I am waiting for a quote from a builder who is going to give me a price for everything up to dry-in. To your question about being my own gc. The answer is, that is exactly my plan. I am by profession a carpenter who can do electrical and plumbing as well as tile work. So all my request of builders or log home companies takes that into consideration.

I'll keep you posted as I get more feed back.

Hi Tom, I was just re-reading your comments to me. I see that you already put in the septic and well. Would I be out of place to ask you how much you paid to get the work done, how far down did the driller have to go to hit "good" water and have you attached a pump or just capped it off until you get on father with your project? The reasons for my questions are to see if I'm being realistic with the numbers that I have plugged into my budget. When I compare my numbers with national averages, some of my numbers seem low, some seem high and others seem right on.

Thanks, Ted

I have to admit, I have had all of this in since the early 90's so I think my data would be dated. I also believe prices vary on location. I had to go 110 feet to get to water and went another 20 for safe measures so 130 total. My price at the time was $3,200.00 which I consider fabulous even for that timeframe. This was all inclusive with a 3/4 horse pump. I have used the water from that point on. I got the ceptic with a 1000 gallon tank for $1,300.00, again a great price. That included permits and ceptic field complete with all inspections. I had to put both in since the electric company insisted. They did not want to run electric until the felt garaunteed I would eventually build. I am so glad I have that out of the way and I have put all of this to great use over the years. I can check with some people in the area who have done this more recently if you think that would help.

You certainly did get good deals on both septic and well. The well issue is something that really worries me. The current drilling rate in my area of NC is $10.00 per foot. This does not include pipe and pump. There is a house being built about a 1/8th of a mile from me and the owner had to go down 1200 feet to hit potable water and even at that he is only getting about 4 gallons per minute. The total cost for his well is close to $16000 including everything. So you can say "thank you" for your $3200 well. The price I'm getting for a septic install, which by local code has to have an emergency overflow, is about $3000. Again, you have done very well my friend.

It would seem, from your comments that construction costs as well as water availability is fairly reasonable in your area. Once again, good choice of location.

My well people only needed to go down 65 ft. You must have deep rock. There is a method used where the well driller goes down about 200 to 300 ft then applies extremely high pressure into the hole drilled that creates an impulse where the surrounding rock cracks in multiple areas allowing water to drain into the well hole supplying the water. There is a name for this proceedure, I just do not know it. If this works for you you will not need to drill to 'China' to get water. I would call more then one established well driller to get ideas and prices. Hope you find a less costly solution.
This drilling method is called "fracking" or "hydraulic fracturing." It is used extensively by the natural gas well drillers, especially in the Marcellus Shale area of Ohio, PA and NY. One caution in doing this for water is check the water for radon before you start using it...if the radon is high you can have a vent/filter installed at a reasonable price to remove it.
Wish I could give you some encouragement but....our budget was about 300,000 and we are over $500,000. We also picked up quite a few items on clearance through the years to finish our future log home with and save money along the way. We, too, came from Fl and built in NC.
Best of Luck with finding that dream!
Hey Tom - we haven't started costing things out yet - but have selected our craftsman; Jerry Koski from the UP of MI.

This is a handcrafted home - and he will do as little or as much as you want and can tell you what it would cost based on what you want him to do - and then what you are able to do yourself. Also they sell logs if you are a total DIYer. You may want to check him out before you make your final choices. Dee.
Consulting with Jerry and other craftsman who build handcrafted log homes about what to expect in terms of settling of the logs will be very important in your anticipated project. If your door jams, windows, and interior wall heights do not allow for the shrinkage it can result in real problems over the next 5 or so years following construction. I have been told that the shrinkage can be more then 2 to 4 inches. I love the look of Jerry's handcrafted work. He is a real craftsman ! I understand that the details and method of this type of construction require much more planning and construction details then milled full logs. When installing doors, windows, interior walls where a second floor loft exists, you will find that it is unlike conventional construction. If you do not frame out the windows properly they could be damaged by log shrinkage, and door jams, if not constructed properly can reach a stage during shrinkage where they will not open properly. Also, how you decide to finsih the upper part of the end sides of the log home can make a big difference in final appearance. I do not think Jerry places logs above the first floor level on the ends. My lay person's perspective is that if you are planning to contract someone other then Jerry to install windows, doors, interior walls, and other details that require planning for significant shrinkage, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most challenging log home project, handcrafted will be somewhere between a 7 and 10. What Jerry does is an really an 'art' that continues to breathe and move and mature with time and nature. His 'art' requires other objects in contact with it or adjacent to it to allow for this maturing ( shrinkage ) to occur without interference. When its all done in harmony with his handcrafted construction the end result is awesome and authentic.

I agree, you've brought up good points to consider. I think one of the most important parts (if not the most) is the issue of settling. Unless the logs are air dried (for a few years) I think settling needs to be taken in to account. It takes great skill to create a handcrafted home and even greater to build it correctly. If done correctly there is nothing more beautiful. I always wondered how a builder allows for settling around stonework, like with a chimney especially if the home is built with chinking.

I appreciate the input.

Terry, I am glad you spoke with Jerry - and I agree - his craftsmanship is a work of art. We are going to have him do most of the work - including windows, doors, deck, etc as we do not have the skill to deal with that ourselves (well maybe my hubby could - but doesn't have the time). We can then do the finishing on the inside. I have toured some of his homes - including the one he lives in - and I am awe struck by the beauty and simplicity - and the sheer genius of being able to do this kind of work. From the first home I saw - I knew I wanted him as our builder.


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