The Oak Leaf - June 2017

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the June 2017 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

This Month: In What Areas Do You Need Help? Over the almost 40 years of helping people achieve their dream of living in a log home, we have found there are a lot of ways we can help our prospective homeowners and make it easier for them to move forward. Some people need guidance with the design and/or how to site it on their property. Others need a connection to a builder. While some need advice about obtaining financing. In this months Oak Leaf, we will explain how we can assist you with some of these challenges.

Trivia Question: Which encompasses more acres: The US National Park System or the National Forest System? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

DesignPart 1: A lot of factors will go into the design of your home. To help you, we have to ask a lot of questions! For example, what is the size or square footage that you need? Do you want a one story, a story and a half, or a "reverse ranch" which is a one story with finished space in the lower level/basement. What rooms or space do you want on the main level? How many bathrooms? Main level laundry or elsewhere? This gives us a starting point.

Design: Part Two. Second is the amount of funds you have determined you are willing to spend on the house not counting land and site improvements. We have to have this information so we don't lead you down a path that will have a dead end! The last thing we want to do is design your dream home but then discover it is above what you have set as your limit. Along with this question is where you are going to build, as that has a big impact on the total cost of the home.

Design: Part Three: Third we need to know details and the amenities and options you would like in your home. Some of these are connected to your building site, so we need as much information about the site as possible. Do you want items such as porches, garages, sun rooms, hot tubs, swimming pools, patios, etc. Do you have a view you are trying to capture or take advantage of? Where will the driveway approach the home? If you have any photos of what you like, this can be very helpful. Our knowledge of your budget will help us guide you toward which are possible and we can help you make those decisions.

Design: The Process; After we have this information, we can either help you find a standard plan that is close to your needs that we can modify, or we start from scratch and design a custom home for you. Our CAD program can show you the interior view of your home from different locations to help you through the design phase. One question we often get is if you should hire an architect prior vs using our design services. Please discuss this with us before you spend money on an architect. If we think that you would benefit from architects services, we will advise you to do so and we can help you acquire one. Most homes do not require an architect however. We have been helping clients achieve the perfect design for almost 40 years!

Finding A Builder: More questions to answer! First, how much of the construction do you want done for you? Do you want to be your own General Contractor and just need a builder to put up the shell of the home? Or do you want a "Turn Key" job meaning that the builder does everything, ready for you to turn the key and move in? At Gastineau we have a Builder List of contractors that have satisfactorily built our homes in the past. Some of these builders only do shell construction and travel around the US. Other provide turn key construction services. Another option for a turn key construction is to utilize a local builder as the General Contract and he then subcontracts out either just the log stack or the shell construction. We also offer free training classes for builders who you may choose to use from your local area.

Financing: The financing of a new home may be quite different today than it was 20 years ago when you bought your last home. The regulations have changed and the down payment requirements are much higher today. Expect to invest a minimum of 20% of the cost of the house and the land combined. If you own your land, the value of that land will be considered toward this 20% requirement. In todays market, the best place to go for your financing is your local bank or a bank where you have a relationship. The internet mortgage companies that advertise on tv don't do construction lending. After your home is built, you may decide to shop some of these companies but they are not interested in construction lending. Don't be put off by a mortgage lender who says "appraisals are hard to get for log homes." More and more existing log homes are being sold and people are getting mortgages for new and existing log homes throughout the US. If your bank or appraiser needs advice or assistance, we welcome their calls.

How to Find Land to Build On: If you have never bought raw land to build a home, you may be wondering how to find bare land. First you need to decide where you want to build. Do you want to build "somewhere in Montana" or do you want to build "in Columbia MO School District." How you find land in these two scenarios would be quite different. If you are looking for land hundreds of miles from your current residence, I would start on the internet or with a realtor. The time involved in finding land on your own in areas where you are not familiar can be difficult. If you have a more narrow search or if you want land close to where you live, there are more creative methods you can use. First, post it on Facebook or other social media if you are on those platforms. Friends may have or know of land for sale. Or maybe you should get a copy of the area plat book and drive around and just look for property that you like. Find out who owns it and call them. Watch for property auctions in the newspaper. Sometimes empty ground will come up for auction.

Other ways we can help? As you can see, we can help you in whatever way you need to make your dream come to life. Most of our clients have never built a home so this is all "new" to them. There are no stupid questions so give us a call or email and we will help you understand how to get started in the process. We have contacts, worksheets to use, experience to guide you and a sincere desire to see you fulfill your dream.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2017:

October 7, 2017

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Log Raisings:

We are planning a Log Raising in Lawrence, KS and in the St. Louis MO Area in June. Watch for an email announcing the date(s) and location(s).

Home Show:

No more home shows until Fall 2017!

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is AGAIN open 7 days a week! We have three houses there that you can tour!

Answer to Trivia Question: The National Forest System has 191 million acres while the National Park System only has a mere 83 million acres.

The U.S. National Park System (83 million acres) preserves natural features, exceptional beauty and areas of historical interest. It includes battlefields, lakeshores, memorials, monuments, preserves, recreation areas, scenic trails and wild and scenic rivers. Unlike national forests, national parks do not allow any timber harvesting or hunting.

The National Forest System (191 million acres) was established “…to furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States…” and to improve and protect the forest, securing favorable conditions of water-flows. Twenty-five percent of the gross receipts from timber sales by the National Forest System go directly to states for county roads and schools, which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Quote of the Month: "If not for the creativity of an excuse, man would actually succeed." George Washington Carver

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