You’ve spent years clipping magazine photos and building idea boards on Pinterest.  You’ve gone to log and timber shows and manufacturers’ educational seminars to equip yourself with the information you need to make this life-changing decision.  The vision for your dream home finally becomes clear – from the floor plan, custom design elements, to its finishing touches.  But one important question remains: Who will build this home?  It’s an important part of the equation and deserves much research and contemplation.

Here are some key points to consider when finding the right builder for your dream log or timber home.

Finding the Right Builder: Criteria to Consider

Selecting a candidate pool. If you have a personal or professional connection to a local, quality builder – you’re in a fortunate position.  In contrast, if you do not know any builders, start with your local Timberhaven representative.  He/she may be able to provide a list of local builders for which you can start the interview process.  It may also be advantageous to call your local home builders’ association, consult family, friends, and even local real estate agents.

Check the builders’ work. After you have selected a few (we recommend 3) potential builders, it is time to review their work first-hand.  Request to tour homes they’ve built.  If possible, ask to tour a home under construction as well.  What is the quality of the completed homes?  Is the expert craftsmanship visible – from flooring, cabinetry to trim work?  What does the construction job site look like?  Is it in disarray or does the builder keep it tidy? The little things are important – be sure to pay attention to the details during your tours.

Interview past customers. After you’ve seen the quality of work executed by your builder candidates, it’s time to talk to their past customers directly.  Get answers to these questions:

  • Did the builder perform the scope of work as agreed to in his contract?
  • Was the builder on-time, on-budget, and on-quality?
  • Was the builder responsive to your calls and inquiries?
  • Did he care about exceeding your expectations?

Personality check. So you’ve located a professional builder. He does amazingly beautiful work and his customers have nothing but accolades for him.  What is his personality like?  Does it “feel” right?  Does he communicate well and share the same values?  Do you see yourself building a mutually beneficial relationship with this person?

The difference will be in the details. When the builder submits a proposed contract, is it thorough?  Have all aspects of the project and associated costs been outlined therein?   There should be no “gray” areas.  A loosely organized contract is reflective of “add-ons.”  Add-ons can add up to be very costly, and since they are not included in your original contract, you personally (not the bank) will be responsible for these charges.

An Important Part of the Equation

In summary, we have seen superior log homes and timber frame homes spoiled by shoddy builders.  Conversely, the most professional builders can make a shoddy log home or timber frame home package look superior.  We want every aspect of this journey to exceed your expectations – from the package itself throughout the construction process.  For this reason, we encourage you to set those high expectations, make a list of questions (or simply print this article as a guide), then get to work.  Don’t hesitate to contact your local Timberhaven representative if you need help getting started.