Your builder will be responsible for the quality of your investment. It’s imperative that you take the time to research and pick a builder you can trust – now and into the future.
Here are some things to consider as you search for the company you entrust with building your log home:
- Choose a builder that is knowledgeable about construction in the Hocking Hills area, and local laws and zoning regulations.
- Evaluate how well you and the builder communicate during the early stages of your discussion; for instance, is the builder easy to contact and prompt to respond?
- Ask to visit homes the builder has built. Not only will you be able to better judge the quality of workmanship, you may also see design elements you’ll want to include (or exclude from) your own home plans.
- Check the builder’s references. A reputable builder will have a variety of previous clients willing to serve as references. The more previous clients you can talk to, the more confidence you will have in choosing your builder.
- Ask for a copy of the builder’s liability and workers compensation insurance coverage.
- Evaluate the builder’s warranty on new construction. What does it cover and for how long? What does it exclude? Who handles the permits and inspections?
- Does the builder preserve as much character and beauty of the land as possible?
- Explore each other’s timelines. Does your time table for completion fit the builder’s workload and schedule? Ask for referrals for similar projects completed within a similar timeline.
What should you look for before purchasing a property?
What should you know before purchasing a property in the Hocking Hills?
Before buying land or a lot, make sure the property is accessible. Access roads and driveway permits must be approved by the Hocking/Fairfield County Engineer’s Office and must meet certain safety requirements.
Check that you have access and necessary easements for installing electricity. You may also need to obtain a notarized easement from neighbors (and if they’re unwilling to grant it, you won’t have any recourse).
Water & Resources
Make sure your property is not in a flood zone and that you can get a health department permit for septic and water. Check existing easements and leases on the property such as oil and gas leases that limit access and construction on the site.
Check the level and quality of the water table. The water quality across Hocking and Fairfield Counties varies considerably. Soil and water conditions will dictate the cost of the septic system, and these costs can vary.
Don’t underestimate the cost and hassle of developing land into a site ready for construction. Log home kits look easy and affordable, but unwary buyers are soon faced with the realities and costs of constructing an access road or driveway and installing electricity, water and a septic system. Also, some kits do not include roofs, windows, doors or finished interiors.
Investigate the financing costs, insurance and property taxes. Interest rates may be higher on second homes and property taxes on improved land are more expensive.
Can I afford a log home?
To build a custom log home on a properly developed lot in the Hocking Hills, you can expect to the home to start around $700,000.
For the land alone, prices vary from $15,000 to more than $30,000 per acre. In the Hocking Hills area, a number of factors may influence land prices.
- Locations next to state parks or the national forest are more desirable. Land with natural waterfalls, lakes, rock formations, mature trees or protective covenants against development are in higher demand.
- A fabulous or unobstructed view can make prices high. Even locations with underground springs of pure, high-quality water influences price.
- Desirable scenic rock formations can add to development costs if it becomes necessary to excavate through rock to construct foundations or install utilities.
By talking to landowners and developers, you’ll be able to gather facts about different lots and areas, and to understand the true value of land, as well as the potential costs to build there.
Buying an Existing Home
Evaluate both the land and home value. It’s generally more difficult to accurately estimate renovation cost than new construction costs. This is especially true for mitigating termite and other wood-boring insect damage and upgrading electrical and plumbing within the interior walls.
A property that looks like a bargain today may not be one over time. We encourage you to find trusted partners in helping you inspect existing homes to help you establish an accurate cost.
Many home buyers in the Hocking Hills elect to build a custom home and often select styles that are typical of the setting or location. Log homes in the Hocking Hills are particularly popular because they blend so beautifully with the landscape and are both simple and elegant in their design. Building a more traditional-style home like those found in cities and suburbs may not preserve the local character and may be less attractive in the resale market, so log homes have a higher resale value.
Unfamiliar home styles and construction methods give buyers another set of unknown variables, but there are many building organizations, internet resources and specialized builders with information for buyers trying to find the right style and locations for their homes.