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How to Sell a Cordwood Home

6/10/2014 10:03:00 AM

Tags: cordwood construction, natural building, Wisconsin, Richard Flatau

Cordwood Home in Michigan sold in a few months

Question: What is the best time to sell a cordwood home?  Or any natural home?

Answer:  Before it is built!

One of the most naturally neglected characteristics of an owner/built home is planning for eventual "Re-Sale."  While most DIYers are too overwhelmed with finding land, obtaining capital, getting code approval, gathering materials and working within a timeline, to consider that they may have to, one day, sell the beloved "creation of their own hands." 

Having been involved in and provided consultation to owner/builders for 35 years and having been mortgaged, mortgage-lean and mortgage-free,  there are some simple, cost-benefit concepts that will guard against that day when,  the home must be sold and no buyers are to be had.

Here is a photo of a lovely cordwood home in SW Michigan that sold a few years ago.  The buyers paid the "asking price" and stated afterward that the well-done cordwood walls added to the allure of the homestead.   The seller told me that his wife had made certain they had kept within a concept that would allow the home to be attractive to potential buyers.

Cordwood Home in Michigan full panorama

How To Prepare to Sell a Cordwood Home

The first thing to be aware of is the natural homes market is a small but growing "niche market." That is, it will take a certain type of person to appreciate your cordwood, cob, strawbale or earthship home.   What can you do to make your natural home more sale-able?

This is the full panorama of the exterior of the home.  The attention to detail and the use of Energy Star guidelines helped to make this attractive home more sale worthy:

 1. Build code compliant.   Most banks, home inspection agencies and zoning officials will want to know if the home was built "to the code." 

 2. Build with as much attention to detail, care and professionalism as possible.  If you are a DIY-er, be certain to include a professional when a critical component is being installed (foundation, plumbing, electrical, roof system, etc.)

 3. Build with amenities that are highly prized in your locale:  For example: AC in the south, effective heating system in the north. 

 4. Use standard installs as much as possible.  While you can make your kitchen cabinets or have them custom made, they need to fit broad general parameters for style  Closets are also important to include in your design.  We didn't buy a home at one point, simply because there were no closets. 

 5. If possible, follow Energy Star Guidelines:  use good windows and doors, buy appliances that are Energy Star rated, use additional insulation, invest in a good heating/cooling system and seal out any air infiltration. 

 6. Accessibility: Your home will have more appeal if it is on one floor, has an open concept, has access to first floor laundry, shower, etc.

 7. Pay attention to the number of rooms.  Most homes for resale have at least two bedrooms, some folks like three.  Bathrooms are the same way: one is fine, two is better.

Cordwood in Wisconsin exterior

Homes That Have Sold

While there are a relatively small cordwood homes in North America, there are still a number that are offered for sale every year.  I get calls from real estate agents, sellers, buyers and construction companies wanting to know, how to best market a cordwood home

Designed and built by an engineer, this lovely curved front, post and beam framed cordwood home, not only had beautiful Northern White Cedar cordwood walls, but it had beautiful design features.   Energy Star appliances, a fireplace, radiant in floor heat, custom made kitchen cabinets and an effective heating and cooling system made this home a relatively easy sell. 

Sometimes there is a cordwood outbuilding included in the property.  This must also be built with care and with code compliance.  Here is a fine example of an estate that sold with a beautiful cordwood barn.

Cordwood barn

Here is a Cordwood home that is currently for sale near Wilburton, Oklahoma.
Cordwood in Wisconsin interior

Cordwood in Oklahoma exterior

Cordwood in Oklahoma interior

All the details are at this link.

 Note: The author has no financial concerns in the sale of this home.


Cordwood Construction Best Practices

Use every resource at your disposal and while you may need to use a real estate agent, why not try to sell it yourself?   Many websites featuring natural homes are a mouse click away.  There are also numerous websites that cater to the sell-your-own person.  Here is a sampling of what I accessed in a few minutes. There are many more.          

If you are interested in buying or selling a cordwood home or building one, why not take a look at Click on What's New?  Read the Articles and Newsletter and take a peek at the 700+ pictures under the Photos menu.  

If you would like to read about cordwood, why not try the latest and most up to date book on the subject Cordwood Construction Best Practices (at the Online Bookstore: available in ebook and print format.)

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