Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 Construction Season

The 2010 construction season is shaping up to be a busy one. Perhaps the banks and lending institutions are lightening up a little or it may be that we are getting accustom to the new economy.
We still have some start dates available this coming summer but they are going fast. There are plenty of spots in the fall and winter however, and we still have one opening for this spring.
Financing procedures usually take several months so if you need financing for summer and fall work, it is best to start now. The paperwork for a construction loan can be very intimidating; don't let it scare you, we can help!
Our pricing hasn't changed since 2007 but we are anticipating an increase this year, we just don't know when.

I am not young enough to know everything
by Oscar Wilde.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bush Cabin Design

If you google 'Cabin Designs'you will see there are 3,730,000 results. That is the reason it is so difficult to make a selection. In bush Alaska the designs are narrowed down somewhat due to utility.
We specialize in fairly simple, efficient designs that have been proven for hundreds if not thousands of years. As you can see on our website we try to keep dimensions to 2' increments and we don't encourage multiple valleys, flat roofs, round work or dead valleys.
In snow country it is important to make sure the snow has a place to go when it comes off the metal roof to minimize damage and injury. Since many of our structures are not lived in full time; we try to make them as maintenance friendly as possible.
Most people come to us with a plan in their mind. It might be something they saw online or in a plan book. It could be a plan from their past; perhaps their grandparent's cabin from their childhood. One lady wanted a replica of the cabin she grew up in in the Fairbanks area; even the screened in porch with an old fashioned screen door with a spring on it so it would make the same slamming sound as she remembered from her childhood in the 1930's. When we were finished and the door slammed shut; she was very happy as it brought back memories of her past.
Our job is to make your plans fit your dreams within your budget which isn't always easy. The most important component is communication between the client and the designer/builder. The more information we have about your needs, the easier it is to deliver a design to fit those needs. Most designs are a compromise between needs, wishes and budget.
The first step is to have us prepare a proposal for you on a basic plan. If your budget allows; you can add options to it or subtract from it as you wish. Budget is always a factor. I have never built for anyone who didn't have a limited budget for their project.
Most projects take several planning meetings before settling on a plan; however, some folks have been planning for many years and know exactly what they want it to look like.
If you have a custom plan in mind or even a 'bar napkin drawing', that is enough to get started.

Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest.
- Mark Twain

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cabin Financing Part II

The first step is finding a suitable lot. The second step is to view our website for ideas or give us your ideas so we can put together a proposal and some drawings.
Once the drawings are done and the proposal is withing your budget; we will do a quick calculation of the finish costs you can expect and you can go to the bank for a consultation with a loan officer. We have had good success with Alaska USA, Mat Valley Credit Union and First National of Anchorage.
Once you have your loan packet we can schedule an appointment and go over it with you. Then we get bids from our sub contractors for whatever portion of the work you cannot do yourself, do the worksheet, put together the schedule and submit it to the bank for approval.
Some banks will require an asbuilt survey, appraisal and ICBO inspections, so these have to be figured into the final cost. The process can take as little as two weeks and as long as six months depending on how busy everyone is and your schedule. The average time for construction of a residential home by an owner/builder is six months.
Owner/builder projects aren't for everyone but there are a lot of savings to be had if you have the time to keep an eye on the work and the schedule. If you have questions about the process feel free to send and email or give us a call and we can steer you in the right direction.

The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cabin Financing Part I

Financing a second home is much like financing anything else. You need collateral, credit, ability to pay and a down payment in most cases. If your cabin is not your primary residence you may face slightly more scrutiny.
If you are building off the road system with no utilities, it is unlikely that you are going to get a 30 year conventional mortgage. You can, however, get a signature loan or a home equity loan on your primary residence or build the shell with cash and finish it as you have funds. With a dried-in shell you can at least start using it on a limited basis until you have the funds to finish. The danger here is that you can get mighty comfortable partially finished and never get it done but that is another story.
For a conventional construction loan, most lending institutions will want title to the building lot and a down payment. If you're an owner/builder, the bank will want a realistic schedule and a worksheet of the project with bids from sub-contractors for each phase of the work. Or a complete proposal from a General Contractor. You can save at least 25% by acting as your own General Contractor. We have guided many homeowners through the process.
We at FCC specialize in working with owner/builders. We do the design work, help you do your construction schedule worksheet and give you names of our sub contractors for the portion of the work you wish to sub out. Banks are more likely to loan to an owner/builder if they know they are working with a General Contractor for the first phase of the work. At least the bank will have a dried-in shell for collateral before anything can go too far wrong.
Next: Cabin Financing Part II

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.
Jackie Mason (1934 - )