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This is addressed to those of you who plan to Build from "scratch" using only a builder.

If you choose to build your log home using a builder only ... that is, you are going to have your builder build your entire home from scratch... and you are not using a log home manufacturer for any portion of the project ... well this is directed at you.

That is the direction I have chosen to take. I have found that with a great deal of patience you can fiend a builder who will take on the entire construction process from septic to excavation to foundation to purchasing all logs, windows and doors and installing them to to putting on the roof to erecting all interior wall partitions to final grading and minor landscaping for less than buying a "package" through a log home kit manufacturer and hiring a GC or builder to complete the job.

The trick, if you can call it a trick, is called communication. And I mean clear in writing communication where there are absolutely no ambiguities in your relationship. I have found that it made sense (for me) to prepare a written document that I send to prospective builders prior to having them bid on the project. It outlines point by point what I expect from them in the construction relationship. For example; they most be licensed as must their subs, they they must carry appropriate insurance, The builder will provide written estimates for for every phase of the job before proceeding (I outline the phases). The builder agrees to a penalty clause if the job is not completed in the agreed to construction time, etc,. etc. and this is the obvious simple stuff. I point out to the builder that this is not a construction contract which will come once the job is awarded but simply a way that I feel comfortable doing business. If the builder agrees. I then send him drawings of the job so he can bid on it. If he doesn't like the way I want to do business than he says, thanks but no thanks.

This whole procedure saves a lot of time and understanding for the builder and for me. And it sure starts out the relationship on a flat playing field. No misunderstanding right from the get go.

Let me know your experiences in this area. Ted

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Comment by Ted on July 22, 2009 at 8:20pm
AND... the money is in the bank. Good luck. Keep me posted.

Comment by Terry & Shelley S on July 22, 2009 at 8:52am
Ours is the one in Palatka. A relative of one of our neighbors who looked at it before we put it on the market contacted our realtor and are looking into it. Realtor says she really wants it bad. We had our first "official" showing yesterday. Things look promising so far but I don't want to get my hopes up too high as nothing's certain until it's in black & white.
Comment by Ted on July 21, 2009 at 6:49pm
Hello again. I looked up the MLS number you gave me and I come up with 2 houses ... one is at 102 Carriage Place in Palatka, FL and the other is at 1401 Carlow Ci. in Ormond Beach, FL. Are either of these your houses? I think the MLS # you gave me is 492530.
PS It was my birthday.
Comment by Terry & Shelley S on July 21, 2009 at 6:22pm
Ted, Happy Birthday to whoever had a birthday. What an awesome present!! Sounds like you enjoyed yourself as well as gathered information. Our property is located just on the other side of the mountain from where you were. Beautiful area. We've traveled Sam Davis road several times as it's one of the many routes to get to our place.

It's a shame, but I think you're right! You have to take the emotion out of it or you just might end up paying too much. Like buying a new car - my motto is: First I deal, then I drive! Sales people know you're a goner once you test drive and that's where they get you!! Once all is said and done, the emotion I'd like to feel is excitement & anticipation not dread & misery because I can't afford to pay for it. Not much enjoyment there.

Talk to you later. Take care!
Comment by Ted on July 20, 2009 at 11:13pm
How do Shelly. We just got back today. Great vacation. Actually, it was a birthday present from my son and daughter-in-law so all 4 of us were there.

The log cabin we stayed at is called "the view" and I have attached the directions I got from the renting agent to get there. Perhaps you will recognize them or the place.

"Directions from our office at 40 Greenlee Street: Turn RIGHT out of the driveway and drive to the stop sign. Turn LEFT on Bryson St and go to the stop light. Turn LEFT onto Everett Street. At the next stop light, turn RIGHT, onto Main St/Hwy 19. At the next stop light, you will see a Shell Station, Subway/TCBY up ahead. Get in the right lane and turn RIGHT. You will then get in the left lane and veer LEFT through the light at Kerr Drug. You are still on Hwy 19 through town.

Go 3 miles until you see where Hwy 74 & 19 turns to the left. DO NOT TAKE THIS LEFT TURN. (You will pass the Alarka General Store.) Instead, continue forward. The road now becomes Lower Alarka Road.

At approx 1/2 mile, you will come to a fork in the road. Take the left fork to continue on Lower Alarka Road. Be very careful here, drive slow! The left fork makes a very sharp turn and it is also a bridge with concrete walls.

At approx 1 more mile you will come to another fork in the road. Take the right fork to continue on Lower Alarka Road. In approx. ½ mile turn right onto Sam Davis Road, travel about 1 mile, and turn Left on Big Rocky’s Road, also SKY COVE development. This is a one-lane paved road with pullouts, so drive slowly around curves. Approx. 1 mile, the pavement ends. Turn Left onto the gravel road and follow all the way to the end. You will pass a house under construction on the left. The View is the last house.

Carolina Mountain Vacations
828-488-7500 or 877-488-8500
(After hour emergencies only, call 828-506-8479, 828-788-5503 or 828-488-9899)".

That's the way we got there.

I didn't speak with any realtors in Bryson City as I want to stay as close as possible to my property near Waynesville. I did speak with a few builders and I can tell you they all seemed very hungry. I did see a couple of houses in or around Waynesville, Maggie Valley and Clyde that were in my price range (if they would be willing to take my offer) but I'm waiting to hear from the builders to see what kind of numbers they come up with. After all this time I have taken all the emotion out of the process and it's all dollars and cents.

I'm just about to check out your property on MLS.

Comment by Terry & Shelley S on July 18, 2009 at 9:44am
Ted, forgot to add.....our MLS # with Coldwell Banker is: 492530. Thanks for keeping a look out for us!
Comment by Terry & Shelley S on July 18, 2009 at 9:40am
Ted, You're in Bryson City!! Oh I'm so jealous! I know you & the family are loving it there! Don't know if you've met her yet, but Karen Bartlett of Prudential Great Smoky's Realty in Bryson City is awesome! Her and her husband, Chester have a really nice home for sale in their development. Not sure exactly what you're looking for, but whatever it is, she'll find it!

Where did ya'll decide to stay while you're there? I know of some great places at decent prices if you need some in the future.

Enjoy your stay! Keep in Touch!

Comment by Ted on July 17, 2009 at 8:08pm
Hey, great news Shelly. I wish you the best of luck. I don't know anything about your current house but if you want send me some information I will pass it on if I get some interest.

We are in Bryson City, NC as I am writing this to you and my wife and son and daughter-in-law have been here for about a week talking to realtors with our latest strategy in mind. What we are looking at now are homes that are underpriced and if we find something we like we will make a low ball offer. The point being that if it can come back in value in the next few years, we would use the proceeds to build the home of our choice. We could sell our current home NOW even though it is below market value but in the process get our butts out of Florida. By the way, being here and talking to realtors ,it looks like half of Florida is moving to WNC. Evey lot that is ready for building has a plaque that has a Floridians name on it.
By the way (again) we have seen a number of existing homes that may meet our criteria. I'll keep you posted and, of course, keep me posted.


Comment by Terry & Shelley S on July 17, 2009 at 3:23pm
Good afternoon Ted! Well, it's official. Our home here in Florida is now on the market. All we need now is a buyer. If you know anyone looking for a great home @ a great price in the central portion of Northeast Florida, send them our way! We've listed it with coldwell Banker.

Just in case, I've been making phone calls to Real Estate agents in the WNC area who handle long term rentals to see what's available and for how much. Surprisingly, I've found a few more than I thought I would. We're planning to meet with the bank when we go up in August to get the pre-qualification process going. It sounds promising at this point but we try not to count our chickens before they hatch.

How are things coming along with your plans?
Comment by Ted on June 15, 2009 at 4:52pm
Hello Wes.You sure have it under control. I sometimes think in reading the various comments in Loghomeu that the only way to build is by going through a log home manufacturer. Well my experience has been just the opposite. I have already found 2 builders who can build exactly what I want and at a price much better than dealing with a log home manufacturer. I have recently read too many horror stories about doing business with log home companies. To me they are simply a middle man, often just getting in the way of what I can do with a builder from the start. I guess you have found the same thing to be true. Ted

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