Whether you’re just starting out or a repeat visitor, a log home show can be a tremendous resource for folks hoping to build their own log home. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a flood of new —and sometimes conflicting—information. Here are five smart tips to maximize your experience:
1. Prepare to be overwhelmed. If you’ve never attended a log home show, it can be a little intimidating. Depending on the show location and size, you may need several hours to make your way to all the exhibitors you’d like to see. Everyone at the show will be competing for your attention, so it can be challenging to make your way through the hall with so many new and interesting exhibits to look at. Break your time at the show into smaller chunks with breaks to regroup and review what you’ve seen so far. Wear comfortable shoes, as there can be quite a bit of walking!
2. Plan ahead. There’s nothing like good preparation for a big, complicated event. Take a look at the show’s website, and try to see which companies might be exhibiting. If there are a few that you’re interested in, make a list of who you want to see. Try to prioritize your list so that you’re sure to get to everyone you’ll want to talk to.
Log home manufacturers are most often the “anchors” of a log home show, but there will likely be other exhibitors for products and services associated with building a log home including: septic systems, wells, real estate brokers, mortgage lenders, interior decoration, lighting, outdoor areas and foundations. If there’s an area you need more information about include those vendors in your plans.
Another good planning resource is the event’s website. There you can buy tickets, register for seminars, get directions to the event location and even learn about lodging options if you’re coming from a distance.
Once you’re at the show, take a quick walkthrough and note the location of companies you want to speak with or learn more about. Refer to your program and mark the locations of key companies to find later on.
3. Update your “wish list.” Because there are so many different options in log homes today, knowing what type of home your plan to build helps to narrow the field. If you have a scrap book or Pinterest board you’ve been collecting ideas on, now is the time to pick out some ideas to discuss when talking to representatives at the show.
Construct your wish list in two columns: the must-have items or features and “would-be-nice” items. Writing down and prioritizing these items in advance will ensure that you understand your options much better. Make note of specific overall features you may find important such as energy efficiency, log size, local representation and experience.
4. Communicate. If you’re visiting the log home show with a spouse or partner, have a discussion in advance about your priorities so that you can focus on the important stuff while you’re at the show. Making sure you’re on the same page as far as design, amenities and features is a good start to this important project. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but agreeing on how many bedrooms and baths, general square footage and budget are excellent starting points.
Have a clear set of objectives to make the most of your time with a log home representative. They will be talking with dozens of people each day and will be able to “cut to the chase” and provide you the answers you’re looking for if you can communicate them clearly.
5. Make a list of questions. There are many variations among log home companies: building materials, log species, energy efficiency, fasteners, building systems, packages and pricing. If you have a short list of key questions that you ask each company, you can get some answers to compare and contrast. If you run into conflicting information, don’t be afraid to ask us for clarification! Sometimes the ability to respond to a follow-up question can tell you as much as the answer.
Katahdin Cedar Log Homes takes a lot of pride in providing as much useful information as possible when we exhibit at log home events. In fact, we encourage customers to conduct a complete due diligence on our practices and business, just the way you would on any major investment. We encourage folks to grill us at log home shows— if something seems odd or contradictory, just ask!
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! It’s exciting to be around so many people that share your passion for log homes. These events can be energizing and enlightening, if you plan ahead.