Show me the Money!

Buying land and building a home is not for the faint of heart. If frequently changing estimates and unforseen unforeseen circumstances scare you, then purchase a ready-made house with one price tag.

That being said, we will share our experiences with you, the good, the bad, and the expensive.

As our project grows and we endure the next set issues we will address them using the knowledge gained though our extensive research. Our aim is to build a green home for the cost of a median home in New York State. Every project is different and our experiences and costs will vary from yours.


How much will building my home cost me?

You need to decide how much you can afford. This includes your available capital from savings, selling your current home or borrowing from a bank. We are not financial advisors, so it's probably best to go and speak to your bank/accountant/financial advisor before you embark on this project.

We have tried to divide the project into related sections. In each section we outline some of the costs that you may encounter. We strongly recommend that you set-up your own spreadsheet, making a separate page for each section covered. Using formulas in Excel you can keep a running balance of expenses incurred. It isn't overly complicated and will save huge amounts of confusion in the future, (not to mention arguments).

It is important to get estimates for all parts of the project when planning your budget. The actual cost you pay may be different to the original quotes received. Comparing budgeted versus actual costs throughout the project will allow you to control your finances. Include date of purchase for cross-reference with all estimates/receipts/invoices. Number all receipts/invoices and file. Keeping diligent is imperative to your projects completion.

Costs Checklist:
For more detailed information about many of these costs refer to the section:

Buying Land or Construction

Buying Land Checklist

• Land parcel – price per acre varies according to location. Decide how many acres you need and then set a dollar range of how much you would be prepared to pay per acre.

• Pit and Perc Test – This test determines what kind of absorbancy the soil has for installing a septic system. Passing the test should be conditional to closing your land deal, you should hire a contractor to conduct this test

• Cost of state registered engineer to for Pit and Perc test and to create well and septic plan

• Board of Health Approval (should be conditional to closing your land deal)

• Legal Fees associated with buying land

• Payment for Lawyer - generally one price package for purchase of land. Costs will vary depending on location.

• Deed recording with County Clerk

• Title Search, Report and Policy

• Land Parcel Survey conducted by state registered surveyor

• Postal Mail costs (e.g. sending and signing contracts etc.)

Buying the Log Home Package Checklist

Basic log package (price varies according to size and complexity of home), a cheap log home package might seem very desirable up front but may cost a lot moreby the time you are finished

Be aware, a basic package will require the purchase of additional materials such as:

• Floor system
• Roof system
• Window and doors
• Interior/Exterior trim including interior walls/paneling
• Gables and dormers


NOTE: The log home package does NOT include:

• Foundation

• Chimneys

• Electrical

• Heating

• Hot water

• Air-Conditioning

• Lighting

• Plumbing

• Bathrooms

• Kitchens

Cost of Permits Checklist

• Insurance – you will require Workman’s Compensation & Disability coverage (your general contractor will have this, however if you are the general contractor then it will be your responsibility to obtain this). 

• Multiple copies of Plans (you may need to make more copies of your house plans, well and septic plans, survey plot plans, when submitting for your building permit). Ask your manufacturer for a digital version of the plans

• Building Plan for local code enforcement office (cost will depend in several factors e.g. application fee, total size (sqft) of home, review and filing, inspections, site plan review, variances etc.

• Cost of inspection from Water Department

• Cost of inspection of driveway curb from State Highway Department

• Cost of electrical inspection from approved electrical agency

• Special Use Permit (if required)

• When the home is complete you will require a certificate of occupancy – this is generally a flat fee


Utilities Checklist

• Underground electric- Dig trench, must meet code, requires conduit and sand

• Above ground electric- Install utility poles, create easement 20' wide, cable is around $10 per foot

• Install temporary contruction power

• Install Pad Transformer if cable run is longer than 250 feet

• Install circuit breaker box for main feed to home

• Install temporary toilets/trailer for construction process

Site Preparation Checklist

• Clearing site

• Removal/recycling trees/vegetation/rocks

• Cutting/Grading the driveway

• Installation of culvert if crossing runoff stream

• Spreading crushed stone

• Preparation for excavating for the foundation

• Hauling dirt

• Setting up work areas    


Well/Septic Checklist

• Drilling well

• Blasting if necessary

• Installing well pump

• Running electric to well

• Digging septic tank hole

• Running lines to and from septic tank

• Preparation and installation of drainage field


Geothermal Checklist

• Drilling of Geothermal holes

• Installing coils

• Running lines from holes to system inside house

• Hooking up system to ventilation lines

• Connecting radiant heat flooring


Footing/Foundation Checklist

• Dig and install footings and pier pads

• Under-foundation pipe installation

• Installation of concrete forms ready for pouring

• Pouring of concrete

• Digging of drainage trench, preparation and installation

• Spraying of waterproof membrane and exterior finish


Subfloor Checklist

• Installation of under-floor heating system

• Installation of sub-floor, beams and joists

• Installation of Advantech OSB


Backfill/Grading Checklist

• Backfill of the foundation area

• Rough Grading of the building site

• Final Grading after completion


Materials/Delivery Checklist

• Delivery/transportation of log home

• Storage of log home, keeping it dry

• Windows and Doors – secure storage to protect from elements and theft

• Cross reference to ensure the delivery is complete

• Requesting replacements for damaged goods on delivery


Log Stacking Checklist

• Installation of subfloor

• Exterior Log home assembly

• Interior walls and partitioning

• Installation of roof system


Roof/Chimney Checklist

• Install and materials:

• Felt paper

• Insulation

• Lathing strips

• Roofstrapping

• Plywood

•Metal roof or asphalt schingles

• Masonary work

• Chimney construction

• Fireplace and flue, plus installation


HVAC and Water Checklist

• Installation, roughing/piping, connections etc. bath, sinks etc.

• Electrical wiring and circuit panel 200 amp should be minimum

• Heating, Cooling and Hot Water

• Installation of radiant floor system, materials

• Installation of vents, materials HVAC

• Installation of WaterFurnace geothermal unit

Insulation Checklist

• Wall insulation

• Roof insulation

• Soundproofing and Sheetrock application


Painting/Staining Checklist

• Painting

• Staining interior and exterior logs/decking


Flooring Checklist

• Hardwood flooring plus installation

• Tiling/carpet plus installation


Interior Trim Checklist

• Window and door trim plus all hardware

• Wall moldings, railings

• Bathroom cabinets

• Kitchen Cabinets

• Countertops

• Mirrors

• Shower doors

• Kitchen appliances


Exterior Checklist

• Windows and doors

• Porch and deck

• Gutters and Downspouts


Solar/Wind/Extra Checklist

• Solar Panels, batteries and connection kit for solar, plus installation

• Pole installation and wind turbine plus batteries

• Connection to the ‘grid’



• 20% of total extra cash - continency

• Cost of engineer for site design and home orientation

• Cost of General Contractor

• Cost of building loan

• Landscaping and furniture for the home – if you have any money left!

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