The Olympics are always an exciting event. Watching the world's top athletes perform on various stages produces an array of celebrations, heartbreaks, character building (and, in the case of the opening ceremonies, utter confusion). These individuals trained hard -- both physically and mentally -- just to make it to London, let alone win a medal. But such preparation helps them to better understand their limitations, prevent costly injuries and hopefully reach their end goal: a step atop the medal podium.
Building a log home or cabin can be viewed in much the same way. Early in the process, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of achieving this ownership dream. But custom-home building should not be an impulsive move. Like the strategy and endurance required to succeed in many athletic competitions, each stage — from the tedious, paper-based finance and design processes to the much more tangible build and finish phases — plays an important role in creating the perfect structure.
Think about it: Without a proper budget in place, you run the risk of dehydrating your cash flow early on to the point where, by the time you get around to finishing your interior, you're left with just a shell. If you don't exercise your imagination like a runner stretches muscles before a run, you might be headed for cramped, uncomfortable quarters later in the process.
Obviously, these are extreme examples, but to help you prevent any setbacks, proper preparation is a must. Consider this forum and other related resources, such as LogHome.com, to be a training grounds of sorts: Research the essentials of funding a custom construction project (e.g., land purchase, loans, budget, cost, etc.), learn the art of finding the right plan and customizing it to best suit you, identify the key steps of the construction process, and finish the project with personal touches to make your new place shine.
Of course, no training program is complete without some sideline encouragement. To help cheer you on, look for mentors in the form of current owners who have been in your shoes. Ask their advice here on the forum, or read the stories featured online and in our magazines for "case studies," so to speak. Just remember: Focus on the goal, maintain the right pace, and pay attention to what's going on around you, and you'll be striding across that threshold in no time.