Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your log home won’t be either. But with careful planning and attention to detail, homeowners can turn a potentially daunting task into an enjoyable and manageable milestone.

Many homeowners have in mind a specific date by which they want to be moved into a new log home. Meeting that goal requires a realistic understanding of how long each step of the planning and building process will take. Davies Merry, Vice President at Southland Log Homes, says prospective homeowners should consider their timeline in two main categories—pre-delivery and post-delivery.

Pre-delivery Timeline

Prospective homeowners should consider the following factors when planning the pre-delivery timeline:

1. Is it a Signature Series Plan or a Custom Plan? For signature, predesigned plans, Mr. Merry recommends allowing about two weeks of lead time. Custom plans may take up to four weeks, however, because designers will have to design a house that meets your needs, as well as making sure the plans meet applicable building codes.

2. Will you need financing? This is a step homeowners often overlook in their planning, but this process can’t begin until the building plans have been selected. Securing a construction loan may take three weeks or more after the mortgage company receives your final plans.

3. Have you selected a builder? Mr. Merry recommends allowing at least two weeks to interview potential builders and to gather estimates. Don’t rush the process: Take time to carefully select a qualified builder who is attentive to your concerns and who has a reputation for doing the job right. Southland Log Homes offers assistance to clients through the Southland Preferred Builders Program, providing a list trusted builders who have years of experience building Southland Log Homes. 

Post-Delivery Timeline

Once the plans have been selected, financing has been secured and the builder is hired, prospective homeowners should work closely with their contractor to determine the post-delivery timeline. Southland Preferred Builder John Spencer, owner of Specialty Home Plus Builders in Jackson, Mississippi, recommends that his customers allow at least eight months for the process. Additionally, when Mr. Spencer meets with new clients, he gives them a detailed, week-by-week account of what to expect in the building process. Doing so allows homeowners to more accurately plan when they’re going to move in and eliminates frustrations.

While each contractor will have his or her own post-delivery timeline, the process typically includes the following steps:

1. Land-clearing and foundation installation. This could take up to two weeks, assuming the weather is cooperative and no problems appear during the excavation process.

2. Erecting the structure’s frame. This step takes three to four weeks, Mr. Spencer estimates.

3. Electrical, plumbing, heat and air conditioning, and inspections. Allow two weeks for each step, which includes time to correct any mistakes.

4. Final touches, such as insulation, trim work, installation of cabinets and floors. Mr. Spencer suggests allowing a few months to complete this phase of the building process.

“I tell all my customers to give themselves eight months [for an average-sized home] and use six months as a stretch goal,” Mr. Spencer says. “But if you don’t leave a margin for error, people get frustrated and start making poor decisions.”

For many people, owning a log home is dream come true. By following the steps listed above, homeowners can create their own checklist for the planning stages and stay on track for any decisions that need to be made throughout the process.