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Log Home Builders in Montana - Turn Key Pricing

A log home in Montana is a dream for many. This is a unique place in that there are
people from all over the United States who come here. Many properties are owned
by people who plan to retire and move here. Turnkey pricing for log homes in
Montana can be broken into two different categories: milled log homes and
handcrafted log homes. Reasonably priced contractors are charging an average of
$150-180 per square foot for a full turnkey in the milled log. For a handcrafted log
home the price per square foot for a full turnkey is approximately $180-200 per
square foot. Handcrafted log home require higher shipping costs, larger logs that
must be handled with a crane for unloading and stacking, and also more expertise
by the builder.

In areas such as Big Sky Montana, Jackson Hole Wyoming, and other high-end
towns, turnkey price per square foot can start at $350 and go up. But for a log
home in the 1,000 square foot range to 3,000 a realistic cost is the $150-200
depending on if the home is a milled log or handcrafted log home.

There are ways to help insure a price per square foot is accurate for your project
and also works within your budget. With every building contract there should be
allowances drawn into it. The more allowances the better. Before the contract is
signed, the homeowners should go shopping and see how much the various items
cost that they would like to include in the home. Then each allowance can be
adjusted, if need be, to an accurate amount. If you will only be happy with the
$15,000 imported counter top, then it needs to be reflected in the allowance for that
item. But conversely, if you are satisfied with a laminate counter top, then the
allowance may only need to be $1,000-2,000 for that item.

Before the homeowner signs a contract, first he or she should go and pick out
exactly what they want in the home. An in depth look at the cost of each item will
reveal if each allowance accurately reflects how much the homeowner desires to
spend in each allowance category. Then the builder can take this information and
further tailor it to the homeowner's desires. At the end of the building process, if the
specific allowance was not exhausted, then a credit is given to the homeowner. If a
budget was exceeded, then that is also adjusted for. In one instance a customer
wanted a $15,000 counter top when the allowance in the original contract was for a
$4,000 Corian top. This homeowner consistently made choices like this throughout
the home project. Then in the end he was upset with the builders because the
home cost nearly $90 more per square foot than the original bid. The bottom line is
the homeowner dictates the final price per square foot more than they realize.
High-end choices will substantially chance the price per square foot.

Now let us consider remote locations in light of the above building costs per square

Building in remote locations can dramatically change the price per square foot. Not
because the contractor is getting greedy, but simply because there are more
variables. If building on the side of a mountain, a driveway cost alone may triple. If
no electricity is within a close proximity, solar or alternative energy may be required
for the home. In one instance, in Gallatin County there is a subdivision that has
both on the grid and off the grid lots. For one of the off the grid lots, the electric
company quoted the homeowner in the neighborhood of $250,000 to bring electric
to his property. Things like this need to be thought of before the lot is purchased.

For a mountain top project, septic can also prove a difficulty. If there is no where for
a perk test to pass, then some have resorted to burying tanks and then having
them pumped. This can yield a two-fold problem. The first: can a septic truck get to
the home. And the second: will a bank even loan on a property that does not have
a conventional septic system. These are very important considerations.

Another remote property hurdle is the basement. Both digging costs and pouring of
the cement will change a price. If the ground is on a bench or on a mountain, you
may encounter boulders and sheer rock. Dynamite blasting is not that unusual
here. For one home we built in Madison County, the cost of excavation went from
$4,000 a final expense of $12,000. When digging, boulders the size of a pickup
truck were revealed. A dynamite blaster from a local mine had to be brought to the
job site. Also the basement had to be moved some to compensate for one boulder
in particular. Cement delivery is another substantial cost that can vary. If the
cement truck has to be assisted up the grade by a large piece of machinery and
also if a pump truck is required, a normal cost projection on a basement will

Delivery of logs and material can also be an increased expense. One log home in
Ponderay, Idaho had to be priced with a barge carrying the logs across the lake.
Another mountain top property entailed three trips with a Hela-lift helicopter to haul
the logs to the final destination. With handcrafted logs of lengths up to 50 feet, the
only way to get them to the job site may be a helicopter lift. One home that our mill
delivered to Alaska had a delivery cost of $90,000 by the end of the project. The
handcrafted log home package costs $15,000 to ship to Anchorage. Then a
helicopter lift had to make three trips with the logs. Each trip cost $25,000. These
are costs that the builder has no control over. The homeowner needs to consider
things like delivery costs before they purchase the property.

If you are an owner of a remote property, do not despair. There are ways to still
make your dream come true. Locating a builder who is accustomed to handling out
of the way projects is vital. Recently I met with an owner of a remote property. The
only access to his land entailed 15 miles of rough gravel roads back into the
mountains. After looking at the job site and doing an on site evaluation, there was
only one builder that I could think of that could even handle the job.

When you sit down with a builder, have an open ear to what he has to say. It is a
good idea to talk to a qualified builder before you even purchase the property.
Immediately he would be able to tell you things that the realtor has no hands-on
knowledge of. Listen carefully to the costs and the projections that the builder
states. If he has already built homes in remote locations, he has first hand
knowledge of what things may end up costing. Building is stressful enough, but do
yourself a favor and get the research done before hand. Facing a project with
realistic costs and a contract customized to your location and floor plan will ensure
that your home sees completion. There in one home near Billings Montana that the
owners were never able to finish. It looks like half a home. So do not let that happen
to you. Here are some ways to make your project work even if you are dealing with
remote property access or other issues such as elevated costs for bringing electric
to the lot.

1) When you are laying out your home, do design it the way you want it, but also
keep in mind how you might economize. If digging becomes a problem, a crawl
space might be a wise choice instead of a full basement. Also consider reducing the
overall size of the home or adding a second floor so that the over all outside
dimensions of the home are reduced.

2) Consider if there is another location on the property that is easier to build on that
you would be satisfied with. If the home is on the top of the mountain, you might not
be able to get to it in the winter anyway.

3) Look into alternative energy such as solar panels for the home. It may cost much
less that paying a huge sum to the electric company to extend the power lines to
reach your property.

4) Get on a builder's schedule at least 6 months in advance. Then he can start at
the optimum time for your property location. If you can build in the middle of
summer when it is drier costs may be less than fighting through mud in the spring or
fall or ice in the winter.

When choosing your move in date, also be sure it is realistic in conjunction with
your start date. If you want to move in by early summer, then the home needs to be
started before the ground freezes solid. In some areas in Montana that receive a lot
of snow, the snow insulates the ground so digging can still be done into the
beginning of December. At a job site near George Town Lake between Helena and
Missoula Montana, a particular basement was dug in mid December. Even though
the elevation was round 7,000 feet, the ground had a thick blanket of snow. The
frost line had not deeply penetrated because of the snow. So with only an extra day
of clearing away snow, the basement was dug and the project progressed
throughout the winter. The happy owners moved in by spring.

Another important point, that I do not want to forsake mentioning, deals with
financing. Be very careful to have all financing in place and completed before any
digging is done. Some try to move forward as far as they can with cash before they
involve the bank. Lenders do not like this and very seldom (if ever) lend on a
project that is already in progress. So be sure to do the financing from the start if a
lender will be needed.

Dream, plan, research, and above all else choose a builder who has knowledge
that relates to your specific project. Typically log home builders in Montana find the
happiest customers to be the ones who do their research. Sit down personally with
your log home supplier and builder. Also ask them to visit the job site personally
with you. No matter what company is supplying your logs, a good log home
representative will provide this type of service. So if your dream is a log home, get
started today. It is such an exciting time when you see your hard work pay off and
move into your new log home.

If this has captured your attention, visit our site
Cowboy Log - Log
home builders in Montana. A family owned log home business since 1997~ we are
here to help turn your dreams into reality.

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