Preparation for the visit:
Of course there is nothing wrong with visiting a model log cabin “cold turkey” or as the first step in your search for your dream log cabin. However, a log cabin is a major investment. One should not make such a decision without appropriate “due diligence.” Any log kit purchased on the spur of the moment to qualify for a “special sale” could very well be the wrong decision.
● If you are serious about log cabins, you should research log cabins on the Internet, subscribe to one or more log cabin magazines and purchase log cabin literature from at least two log home companies.
● Prior to visiting a model, it would be helpful to visit log cabins owned by friends. Ask them questions; seek their advice.
● Bring this document and a 16’ – 20’ steel tape with you.
● Bring any photographs and/or magazines with photographs of features you would like to see in your log cabin.
● Bring any log cabin literature with features you would like to see in your log cabin. The literature need not be published by the company that owns the model you will be visiting.
● By now you should have decided whether you prefer contemporary log cabin designs (lots of glass, open floor plans, high ceilings) or traditional designs (separate rooms, 8’ ceilings, wrap around porches). Of course a blend of the two designs is also an option.
● If you have found a log cabin floor plan this fits your life style or is close to what you are looking for, bring that along.
The visit: You can keep notes in the blank spaces below.
● Note those features, including the décor, in the home that you would like in your home and those features that do not appeal to you.
● Ask the dealer if his homes are designed to accommodate shrinkage of the log walls. If so, how is this accomplished? If not, why is this not necessary?
● What species of wood is used in the exposed beams and log walls, and why?
● What exactly is included in the dealer’s log kit?
● It may take a little “nerve” but open several windows to see if they operate easily; or, do they stick and require some strength to open and close?
● Is the customer free to select the windows & exterior doors of his/her choice or must the customer purchase the brand offered by the dealer?
● If you have a floor plan (or a marked up floor plan) that interests you, ask the dealer to give you an estimate on the kit cost. The dealer should ask a few questions to clarify some points but he/she should be willing to do so. It may take a few days to get back to you with the estimate.
● Is the roof system (especially the cathedral ceiling) vented to allow for cooling of the shingles?
● Now the steel tape. Everyone has difficulty visualizing room dimension. Is a 14’ x 16’ master bedroom adequate? How about a great room that is 25’ x 15’ or a kitchen 12’ x 10’? Pull out the steel tape and take a few measurements. A model home is the perfect place to take measurements because the rooms will be furnished. Based on these measurements, you may well decide to change room dimensions in your dream log home.
● Note any hand rail systems. There are many options on the market. Perhaps you prefer something other than what you see in the model.
● How does the dealer’s manufacturer recommend wiring switches & receptacles in the log walls.
● Note the “checks” (perhaps best identified as “cracks”) in the logs and solid timbers. These are natural characteristics of solid wood and do not degrade the logs or timbers.
● Ask the dealer about exterior and interior finishes. What does he/she recommend and how often is it necessary to refinish.
● Ask the dealer about the threat of and treatment options for insects (for example, power post beetles, termites and Carpenter Bees.).
● Ask the dealer for references, i.e., homeowners that have purchased from him/her in the past. At least call several references; ideally, visit one or more references.
● If the home will not be constructed by a company builder, ask for the names of experienced local builders. When talking to local log builders, ask for references.
● Ask the dealer if there are homes under construction that you can visit. Most log cabin owners are fiercely proud of their home and eager to show it.
● Ask for contact information on insurance companies that offer homeowner policies to log cabin owners.
● Ask for contact information on lending institutions that finance log homes. When talking to lenders ask for references. Shop for financing just as you would shop for any major purchase – go for the best deal. Visit Lenders that Offer Log Home Loans &
Mortgages [http://www.log-home-loans.htm]. This is perhaps the largest such directory on the Internet.