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Can you imagine living in a home where you have to climb a stepladder just to reach the kitchen counter? That was pretty close to being the case with a Japanese woman who sued her builder. The Kyoto homeowner, who stands 4 feet 6 inches tall, accused the builder of making her home too big. The diminutive plaintiff insisted she couldn’t reach the keyhole, for instance, and was able to see only the top of her head in the bathroom mirror. The court sided with the woman and ordered the builder to pay $38,000 to right-size her home.

 

Some builders would argue the whole mess is the woman’s fault for being too short. Builders can’t make any money if they have to accommodate extremes. They say everything should be standard.

 

Isn’t that attitude a big part of why you want a log home? You’ve had a lifetime of standard, from standardized tests in school to dress standards at work. A custom log home is your way of shouting, “Enough!”

 

If individuality is your aim, look for a builder who sees things your way. There are plenty of good builders. Unfortunately, too many are mediocre. Some are downright bad.

 

In the past 20 years of interviewing log-home owners, I’ve heard very few complaints. Most of those were directed against the company that provided the logs. Upon investigation, however, at least nine out of 10 problems could be traced to a negligent or derelict builder. A homeowner might blame bad logs for drafty walls, when the fault is the builder’s for compromising the log-home company’s engineered building system, whether through ignorance or to increase profit. Whatever the reason, invariably the innocent log-home company gets the blame, and log homes in general suffer a bad rap.

 

Avoid becoming the victim of a bad builder. Hire a good one. Seek recommendations from your log-home producer or its local dealer who works with builders familiar with that producer’s homes. Get references. Check out them all. Visit several of a prospective builder’s homes, both finished and under way. Talk to the owners without the builder present. Satisfy yourself that your builder will do the job properly and build the home you want the way it’s supposed to be.

 

Don’t let a substandard builder determine the kind of home you'll live in. Find one who’ll build exactly the home you’ve been dreaming of all these years.

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