Getting Started...The first steps for log home costs and design
First, you need to know what you can spend on your log home build
Whether you have cash or are financing, you need to know what you want to spend. This is called the “turn key budget”. Do not include land in this figure, but a budget should include all improvements needed on the lot, like well, septic, road, bringing power to the building site, the materials and labor of the home, etc. in that turn key estimated cost. If you are going to a bank or mortgage company, read up on our finance page, but basically you need to pre-qualify for a construction loan so you know where you are on the funds, or own the land outright and borrow against that for the down (equity type loan). Some banks don’t offer construction loans, some require a general contractor, etc. so usually you will be talking with a few until you find one at the right rate who has the right product for your needs to build. We don’t want to try to sell you something that won’t fit in your budget. The budget is king. We want to help you design around a doable budget. If you have cash, we can help you ballpark at first, then you decide what you want to spend.
Select the closest Log home plan design to what you desire from our website that will fit your turn key budget number
Our home plans are classified and grouped by log home styles. So if you want it all on one floor…that is a ranch style log home (so click on “plans“, then on ranch style, and start there). Any home can be on a basement. If you want a main floor with loft, it is a little less per square foot, and if mid size, it is a chalet log home design. If the log home is larger, with the main floor and a loft, it is typically a lodge style. If small, select a cabin. If you want a loft and a basement (build the basement into a hill (daylight or walkout), just select the same model with a basement, or we can add one. For those that want a large custom home, pick a lodge or the custom log home design page to start, and we design your home for free on any of our models irrespective of size. We also do log home garages, log commercial buildings, log shops, log barns, and hybrid log/framed log homes. Click on the plans link and go from there.
1. As a rule of thumb…the larger the home, the more expensive, but the less cost per square foot (with the same design). Small cabins cost less, but are more money per square foot (site work like water, power, road etc. does not change).
2. The more floors (one floor cost more than two or three floors per square foot) the less expensive. More roof, walls and foundation = more money per square foot. So, a home with a basement, whether daylight/walkout or in ground, and a loft, are less per square foot. Log homes on slabs are about the same money as a standard frost wall.
3. Other home designs from other websites work, but are typically slower to process, weaker, and more expensive designs. If you see a different log home floorplan you like on the same type of footprint, we can modify it easily, or just start a new plan that has the same look, size and features, only we make it better…always! We also have over 900 designs that are not on the website, but first, we need to talk with you about what you like about certain models, what your budget is, what you needs are with labor and finishing, etc. to help. We can send you many designs not on this website, but need your help on what you like, and your budget concerns.
For help with your design choice, pricing information, custom design help, and fast information, call Ron
Ron is our Sales Manager. Ron comes from a long background in construction, and is also an engineer, and has helped hundreds of our customers with pricing, tweaking their custom design, getting ready to purchase, getting accurate bids from Thor (our pro estimator/materials guy) and getting you ready to build with what is needed, options, ballpark turn key estimates, basically everything you need to make a good decision, on your timeframe. Ron helps you so this is successful, not just trying to make a sale, as he works directly with our Architectural Designer, Jacob, and you. Our log homes sell themselves. Nobody can beat our quality, and nobody can touch our pricing. We also do it on your timeline. We don’t push, we can move slowly, or fast, your choice, just let us know. When production starts, Glen and also Kaleb & Brent will work with you so the log home package can be completed and is delivered in your timeline with shipping coordination, contractor tech support, and helping with the build…a team effort. Ron’s direct line is 208-362-3343
Happy with the ballpark price? Let's start on your custom log home design...
We begin by designing a preliminary set of plans for appraisal or your approval. Print, then fax, or edit our floorplan and send it to us with your changes by taking a pic with your phone, etc.. We make changes, then email again (usually several times).
Design is free if you own property and will be building within a year, and need a bid and approval set of plans for the bank or your cash decision. We have a small fee of $1500 if you need a full construction set even before purchasing your package, or engineering is needed before your purchase, but that is fully applied to your purchase of the package (for this process). If you are buying a package, full structural final plans are ready in a week in most cases, and totally free after the sales agreement sets it in motion (100% of the plan deposit is put toward the sale).
Your Custom Accurate Log Home Package Bid
When you are happy with the design…we do an accurate custom bid based on your exact plan and the materials needed for that plan. Many want a turn key estimate (required by most financial institutions) that we tweak to your circumstance and liking that starts at bare ground to completion including well, septic, road, and other things (like hours and labor needed to ready your new home). Most banks require an fairly accurate “turn key estimate”, and want that to reflect what you want to spend on cabinets, appliances, bathrooms, basically to help them know if you are going with high end finishes, or not (to help them with an appraisal).
Your Log Home package sale, final plans and your build timeline
When a signed agreement is returned with your half down payment, we finish the full sized, detailed structural scaled plans, print them for you (usually 2-4 sets depending on your needs) and send you our awesome construction guide so you can get started right away. We also help you in the locating of builders if you need. Our homes have similar construction methods, and anyone can build these. We can even talk to potential builders and send them information so they can bid fairly for you. Typically our homes are ready in about 2-3 months! You can take delivery when you want if you are not ready, or we can delay running the home until the timing is right for you. In high season, it might be 3-4 months, and we have done these in 4 weeks, even from the initial design stage (mid winter). Final payment is made on the last shipment of logs. We do stagger the delivery if requested to help with construction or tight sites. We are fast and thorough. We have helped countless folks get started, find general contractors for no sweat, or save bucks by subbing out the work to independent contractors or friends, and many do several things themselves, some most all of it. We help every step of the way. We have found that even when we had trained crews, they could not keep up with our sales (years out), so we have developed the most cost effective and best way to do your home, using localized help. Fast and efficiently, we strive to help you in the best way we know how. There are two crews who can travel if you can’t find local help.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the past, especially with handcrafted homes, that statement was true. Local banks and some national banks and mortgage companies now understand the product and its quality, and especially the equity in a log home, and financing is no different than a conventionally framed structure. We have found local banks to be faster, and do not sell the note as mortgage companies do, but most any financial institution can do these. Some do not have the right product. You are looking for a construction loan that converts to a conventional home loan.
Insurance companies are much more aware of the value of the log homes, and we see little difference in the insuring of a log home, with the exception of one thing. They recognize that a log home is worth a lot more, and they insure the home for what it is worth. This is a good thing. You make money when you build in equity. State farm has a nice policy that is reasonable and we have had good luck there.
Lazarus Log Homes is unlike other companies. We are wholesale to the public, low overhead, very efficient, offer only the highest quality material, have no dealers that don’t know your answers and require us to charge you to pay them (think about this, it is a biggie), and we custom design every home at no charge because we have an in-house architectural designer who is 3 times as fast as any designer or architect we have seen and has designed over 700 log homes, and we have a general contractor on staff who can answer any questions you throw at him, not dealers or architects/engineers who have never built a log home (especially using our modern methods and technology). If engineering is needed per code in your area, we can help with doing complete structural plans so costs are usually only .75 to $1. per square foot, and take less time. Our equipment and lathes have been modified to be faster and more efficient. Our logs and materials come a short distance, and are the driest, best material at a low cost, passed on to you.
We ship these homes by flatbed semi anywhere in the US and Canada, and anywhere on the high seas by container, to Europe, Asia etc. The cost is minimal, actual freight varies by distance, mainly. The average 90K home package to the US or Canada shipping is already figured into our turn key estimates we provide for you. Many come pick up as much material as they can with 5th wheels, etc. and we load them up for free. Our prices will be lower with shipping than any competitor, anywhere.
We have the scoop here in our construction guide, but basically it is no different than a conventionally framed wood structure, in fact, we have excellent results using our super dry wood, saturating it until it runs with an airless sprayer, with good stains with UV killer/mildewcide (and back-brushing after the thinners evaporate, before the runs dry). This preserves your wood in the hottest and wettest of the humid areas, with no rot or moisture issues, which cause you to re-treat every few years like our competitors’ logs. Your biggest enemy is gone (the moisture in logs that are kiln dried or dry standing or green, but not fully dry). Most finishes trap the resident moisture in your log, that is another reason to only use our dry logs – even insect issues are gone with our logs and methods. Most of our competitors’ logs are not fully checked, a biggie to their customers, no issue with ours.
Any model can be on a full basement, whether in the ground or a daylight type, and any model can be on a slab, and any model can be on a standard frostwall with footing. Materials needed to do that (windows and doors in the basement, beams and bearing walls, log stairsets with railing down, extended posts for the deck and porches to the new ground levels, treated lumber, and so on) are included when your home is designed and priced on a basement. That is why the price is a few thousand more, depending on the model. Models priced on a full basement will be less if you want them on a slab or frostwall. All models are priced with the materials needed for what the design calls for.
We supply the material, and help you with your construction by showing you how to do this project (have your home built) at the lowest price while getting the highest quality. There are local builders here who can travel to you and set up your log home. This typically is slightly more expensive than using local carpenters/laborers to build your home, and we advise you based on your needs what is best for your personal situation. Our homes set up with our plans and construction guide easily by anyone familiar at all with construction. Many homes have been built by customers with no homes under their belt, and they turn out great (we are different from the rest here). Glen or Ron will do a turn key estimate after talking with you (both have been a contractor) and estimate your entire project with your bid (our package) the water/sewer, road, appliances, electrical, plumbing, roofing, all labor, basically a complete owner estimate of your project so you see everything, and bases that on whether you will be using a general contractor, sub contracting the labor out, or doing some or all of the work yourself. The banks need that info if you finance, and you want it to budget even if you have cash. By cutting the fat out of the estimate and showing you where you really are with the project, you save tens of thousands with the subs, and sometimes hundreds of thousands with the generals on the larger projects. The contractors can’t snow you, and we act on your behalf to protect your interests. We basically will help you get it done the way you want.
This is a trick question, as we need to find out a little about your property to qualify the answer, but as a good average across the US, figure one of 3 ways.
First, our average customer wants to have the home built by contractors (subs), so a concrete guy, a builder/carpenter for the log home package, an electrician, a plumber, a sheetrocker, a roofer, etc. are asked by you to bid and do the home using your plans. That scenario is typically about 3 times the price of the package, including the package (a 60K package @ 3 times is 180K) including all labor, stainless appliances, jetted tub, and mid-line type fixtures, not cheap stuff, but good quality at a lower price, like the appliances/lightling/cabinets you find at Home Depot/Lowe’s. You can do some work yourself if you like, and borrow less money, or pay yourself, but it does not move the multiplier that much at all. Most of our customers fall into this category. This gets you a home built for less than a 2×6 framed house, and it is worth from 50-100% more than a framed house. Banks love that, as well as anyone with a brain (our customers)! The true value is not the initial appraisal (based only on what you spend, not what it will be worth), but when the home is done, what would it sell for? Market value with our homes means huge equity beyond what you spent!
The second way is to hire a general contractor, whether local or distant, and he hires his friends/subs and basically makes all the calls to get labor and the other materials not provided, and you know what you pay, and you don’t want to participate much in the project, just get it done without the worry of cost, basically you have no time or don’t want the hassle. Figure 3.3- 3.5 times the package price, so a 100K package will be at least 330K turn keyed with a general. This can be a lot higher if you want, depending on your site, and personal tastes, but is typically what we see (they usually charge 10-15%, but hire their higher priced friends or trusted subcontractors, so not a competitive bid as a rule, but you get usually more speed and can get higher quality. Some banks require this so you might want to switch banks or especially mortgage companies if you don’t want a general contractor to build your home to save money. There is a little piece of mind here, but it is at a cost. This still will be slightly less than a conventional home, or the same, only with huge equity and you get the home you want when you have it all built for you.
The third way is to do most of the work yourself/with friends. This is still close to the 3 times figure, but we have seen this be right around 2 to 2.5 times, and especially if you just tie into existing water and sewer, do most everything yourself, etc. Be careful here, because of lot of folks think they can build for nothing, and we are wet behind the ears (it looks like a lot in our package and not much else to buy), but remember, you are building a home, and it still takes time, and there is concrete, cabinets, appliances, electrical, plumbing, etc. See this below for a sample turn key estimate using our first method.