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Log Homes

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LaurieW

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
Anyone know the ins and outs of appraising log homes? I found 3 log home comps but the value comes out way lower than the contract. One non-log comp comes out very near the contract amount. It has stone exterior. What do I need to know since this appraisal will go to secondary market. THANKS!
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Welcome to the reality of log homes. I assume you have eliminated everything else (basic location, basic quality differences, etc) to reach this conclusion. Every log home I have done shows significant loss from construction cost vs market, and a market resistance between log homes and traditional homes. Now some areas can experience high values (Great Smokeys, etc) but these are the exception. Go back over a year to add comps to support your value decision and bite the bullet.

BTW, appraised for 40 years in East, Central and North Texas and did a bunch of these suckers.
 

Cigar

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Professional Status
General Public
State
California
Welcome to the reality of log homes. I assume you have eliminated everything else (basic location, basic quality differences, etc) to reach this conclusion. Every log home I have done shows significant loss from construction cost vs market, and a market resistance between log homes and traditional homes. Now some areas can experience high values (Great Smokeys, etc) but these are the exception. Go back over a year to add comps to support your value decision and bite the bullet.

BTW, appraised for 40 years in East, Central and North Texas and did a bunch of these suckers.

Restrain:

I once thought I'd build one as a retirement home, as a builder I'm aware that they cost much more to build than conventional construction, what is the cause of market resistance, do they bring the same per square foot or less than conventional?
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
My opinion is that log homes have market resistance due to difficulty in finding a lender. The lenders long got burned on log homes and berm houses so begin to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And cheap logs came from Mt. St. Helen's, blowdowns of the volcano, and this huge wind twisted the trees, endedup with logs with huge checks and splits.
 

Amy Perkins

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
I too remember, most lenders won't lend on a log home.
 

Michigan CG

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Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
It used to be that log homes were the bees knees and had a cost of 25% more than home of similar quality. I used to do at least one a year, it has been about four years since I have done one.

Log homes vary GREATLY in quality. Does yours have chinking? :)

Know about chinking and many other things concerning log homes or send it back for someone else to do it.

Considering how busy it is I won't touch one for a fee of less than $1,000 if it is a true log home.
 

Marty Boone

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Just finished one for a realtor that needed help with a listing price, Estemerwalt Log Home. My advice to the OP is to find out as much as you can about the builder and the quality of the wood they use.
 

KHS445

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Michigan
Log homes offer some of the greatest variety in construction quality there is. From the homeowner who cuts green logs from the property and assembles them themselves to manufacturers who professionally cut, size, shape, kiln and assemble, along with everything in between. Some of the higher end producers actually assemble the log home twice, once at the factory to make sure everything fits together properly and then they disassemble it and transport it to the site for final assembly. True log homes can vary from full round, to "D' shaped with three flat sides to square cut. I even dealt with one customer who butt cut his logs and placed them in the wall with the exposed ends facing the inside and out. He used smaller logs to fill in some of the larger gaps and a lot of cement and chinking to fill in the remaining voids. Not what I would have built and definitely had a different look, but now 30+ years later the home is still standing and he and his wife are still living there.

Initial construction is usually more expensive than traditional home building primarily due with the weight of the logs, assembling, proper running of mechanical systems, knowledge of how to allow for drying and settling in the installation of doors, windows, stone fireplaces, interior walls, plumbing, etc. Once the home is constructed the real fun begins. As a former lender and an appraiser I have dealt with a number of people who retired, moved north and built a log home. Unfortunately for them a log home requires a good deal of maintenance to retain its appearance. Staining, sealing and chinking repair are usually on a five to seven year schedule, depending on the humidity, severity of the weather and sun exposure. Something most everyone forgets is with all of the exposed wood the interior of the house can be dry and dusty. Also if the interior of the logs are rounded the top half of every log acts as a shelf and will gather dust, including those at the very top of the two story vaulted ceiling. Many of the people I know have to hire someone to come in and dust all of the logs at least annually.

While they look great, especially in the proper setting owning a log home is about the furthest thing from maintenance free living there is. I believe this along with the unique issues that can arise when remodeling, updating, redecorating all add to both the buyer and lenders cautions when it comes to log homes.
 

Mike Kennedy

Elite Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
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LaurieW

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
It used to be that log homes were the bees knees and had a cost of 25% more than home of similar quality. I used to do at least one a year, it has been about four years since I have done one.

Log homes vary GREATLY in quality. Does yours have chinking? :)

Know about chinking and many other things concerning log homes or send it back for someone else to do it.

Considering how busy it is I won't touch one for a fee of less than $1,000 if it is a true log home.
 
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