6 Questions to Ask Prospective Builder Dealers

Log Homes
Contact: Devin Perry
Executive Director, Business Improvement Programs
(202) 266-8577

Looking for someone who knows the same joys and challenges that come with building a log or timber home? Look no further than your friendly neighborhood log and timber home builder/dealer. Also known as log and timber home company representatives, they can be your local contact for a log and timber home manufacturer who may be located in another state or across nation.

Most often they are people, husband-and-wife teams for the most part, who have bought and built their own log and timber home. They enjoy the process so much that they decided to pursue it as a full- or part-time career. They can help coach you through the whole process of turning raw land into an elegant rustic palace or weekend getaway.

Can builder/dealers represent one or more log or timber home manufacturer? Some can and do sell log or timber home packages from different manufacturers. Others remain loyal to just one manufacturer. Which approach is better? You decide.

But rest assured the most sought after builder/dealer positions are with members of the Log and Timber Homes Council. Why? Because when a manufacturer belongs to the Council the company adopts membership requirements that provide peace of mind to both buyers and builder/dealers. This includes grading their logs for quality, offering a construction manual, abiding by a strict code of ethics and sponsoring scientific studies that improve log building technologies.

So when you see a builder/dealer at the local home show, one of the first things you should ask is, “Does your manufacturer belong to the Log and Timber Homes Council? If not, why not?”

Other questions to ask your local builder/dealer:

  1. Do you sell log and timber home packages; build the home, or both?
    Builder-dealers can offer buyers a variety of services, depending on the role they have chosen within the industry. Some builder-dealers coordinate the sale of the log and timber home package between the buyer and the manufacturer. Some will also build the shell of the log and timber home, but leave the turnkey completion or final finishes to other contractors or the buyer. Still others will offer a combination of all three for full-service, turn-key construction.
    Be aware that the majority of log and timber home builder-dealers only sell the log and timber home package and don’t offer construction services. It’s not unusual if the builder-dealer you select doesn’t offer construction services. He or she will have a list of area contractors familiar with log and timber home construction.
  2. Why do you represent this log and timber home manufacturer?
    While they shouldn’t bludgeon you with technical jargon, a builder/dealer should be able to sum up why they believe in a particular company’s product over all others.
  3. What kind of services to you provide to your clients?
    No hard and fast rules here. However, a builder-dealer should explain the entire log and timber home construction process to you, even before you have decided on a design. Some can also help you secure financing, create and define your budget, finalize your floor-plan design and coordinate the delivery of your log package.
  4. If I don’t have land, can you help me with that? Or can you recommend someone who can?
    If you haven’t purchased a site yet, those with real estate licenses will be able to help you locate land. Other builder-dealers forge alliances with other realtors and land owners, to provide just the right dream home setting.
  5. Where do you find a builder/dealer?
    They can indeed be found at your local home builders show. But often members of the Log and Timber Homes Council list their independent builder/dealers contact information on their websites.
  6. Gut instinct or background check?
    Intuition can play a vital part of any decision making process. But you should also do some checking through official channels. Are they in good standing with the local building community? Will they give you the names of their last few customers? (Always follow through and check these references.) Have there been any judgments filed against them with the local state’s attorney general office? (Typically you can search online for this information.)

So start shopping for your builder/dealer to make your dream home come true. A true professional will help you transform that growing collection of log and timber home photos and floorplan sketches into that home you’ve always wanted.

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