Tuesday, July 27, 2010

See Us At The Fair!!

We will have our display cabin at the Alaska State Fair this summer starting August 26. We will be on hand to answer questions and give estimates. We look forward to meeting you at the Fair. I'm not sure where we will be but we will most likely be on the purple trail over by the big barn.

If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.
- Anonymous

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Choosing a lot Part III

Choosing a lot Part III (Off road edition)

Choosing a lot off the road system is much the same as any other lot but there are a few more considerations due to access. Many people think that off road lots are going to be a lot less expensive than lots on the road system but this is not always true and the cost of building is going to be much higher.
If you want to get away from the crowds you almost have to go off the road system and even then you are likely to have some neighbors.
Some things to consider:
-What kind of access is there to your lot? Boat, Snow machine, ATV, Aircraft, Ferry, etc.
-Is there year round access?
-If the access is too difficult, are you really going to feel like visiting the cabin often?
-What about emergencies?
-Is there drinkable water available?
-Is the property in a flood zone? Many river lots are susceptible to flooding. Flooding can change channels and cut the property in half or erode the usable portion away. (I know, it happened to me)
-Is there permafrost in the area? This doesn't have to be a deal killer but you need to be aware of it.
-What is the weather like in the area? Are you going to have to worry about being weathered in for weeks at a time or spend your vacation time waiting for the weather to clear to get in or out?
-Is there heating fuel (firewood) available or are you going to have to haul propane or fuel oil?

All of these questions are to make you aware of things you may not have thought of, they are not to discourage you from making the plunge into remote property.

Discaimer: The advise in this blog is strictly informational and is not to be taken as anything more than a Builder's Opinion.

'Be yourself!' is about the worst advice you can give to some people.
- Tom Masson

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Choosing a lot Part II

Choosing a lot Part II

Now that you have narrowed your search down to a certain area you can start getting more picky about individual lots. Make sure the lot is buildable and there are no encroachments by adjoining lots ie. septics, storage buildings, well, old cars etc.
Ask yourself some hard questions: (These questions are for lots on the road system)
-Is this lot steep?
-Are you going to have to build a long driveway?
-Is there electricity nearby, if so, how far away?
-Is the lot big enough to get the separation between your well and septic or between the neighbors well and your septic?
-If it is a lake lot; is there enough room to build and still have the required setback? Don't let anyone tell you that you can get a variance to build closer to the lake because it is unlikely.
-Is the lot swampy, if so, is there enough dry ground on the lot to build on. Many lake lots are wet but they are still buildable with some expensive dirtwork. If the lot is questionable, have an excavating contractor look at it with you to determine the cost for making it buildable, he will also be able to determine whether you have space enough for well and septic separation. Waterfront property is so scarce now that it is often worthwhile spending some money on making it buildable. If you don't have an excavation contractor, we can provide you with names in your area.
-Does the neighborhood agree with you. If you see crime tape and a condemned notice on the house next door you might surmise that there is illegal activity going on.(This is more common than you might think)
-Will the ground perk ok for a septic system?
-How deep are the neighbors' wells?
-Has the lot been surveyed recently? You want to be sure of your corners.
-Are there obstructions that will block the sun for three months in winter? This may not be important to you but you want to think about these things before purchasing.
There are many more questions to ask so try and cover all the bases.

More in Choosing a lot Part III (Off road Edition)

To discover the truth, ask the very old or the very young.
Wally Hickel 1978

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Choosing a Lot Part I

Choosing a Lot Part I
Choosing a recreational lot can be a very divisive issue in a family. Mom wants a cabin with all of the amenities and some reasonable shopping nearby, Dad wants a remote cabin on a great fishing river only accessible by parachute. The kids? They want to go water skiing and snowboarding with no break between. Of course, I am being very stereotypical and perhaps even a little sexist, but it only goes to illustrate that finding a perfect recreational lot is very difficult; throw cost into the mix and you have a real dilemma.
Compromise is the operative word here. Decide what activities you most enjoy as a family and start planning. Now you have to refine your search.

• Do you want to be road accessible or off the road system?
• If you decide to be off the road system, you need to decide what access you are willing to deal with. Boat, Snowmachine, ATV, airplane, helicopter etc. (Remember, building off the road system will be much more expensive depending on how far and ease of access)
• Waterfront will be harder to find and more expensive.
• View lots are also going to be expensive but easier to find, depending on the view. Every lot has a view of something but you may not want a view of the neighbor’s collection of wrecked cars.
Once you have decided on the area you want to be in; the search begins. Most people drive all the roads in the area to determine where they would like to be or perhaps where they don’t want to be.
You can start by looking for “For Sale” signs and asking around the area. You can go to the borough office and look at the maps to find out who owns any property you think you might be interested in. Many owners have long since left the state and might be interested in selling. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to us to have us build for them on a lot they found in just this way. There are many ways to find an owner but sometimes it isn’t easy. Many lots sit vacant for years because the property is tied up in probate or other legal issues. The easiest way to find out about the status of a property is to go to the borough office and find out who the legal owner is and perhaps write a letter expressing your interest.
Another way to find property is to log on to the Alaska real estate Multiple listing site. http://www.alaskarealestate.com/ This is a very powerful search engine that can help you refine your search.
Craigslist also has many properties listed for sale by owner. http://anchorage.craigslist.org/
Alaska list is another great option. http://alaskaslist.com/1/posts/12_Real_Estate/0/

Looking at these sites will give you an idea about what is available and what the costs are likely to be and you might even find what you are looking for right away. My advice is to take your time in your search, you will find things about certain areas that you might not like and other things about other areas that you didn’t know about. (To be continued in choosing a lot part II)

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
- Theodore Isaac Rubin

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fall Schedule

This season has been extremely busy but we are always looking for new opportunities.
July, August and September are scheduled pretty tight but late September, October and November still have openings for starting work.
A lot of people think of the construction season as the summer months only. To us it is construction season year round.
If you are planning a project for this year and think you are running out of time; you are probably not out of time since we can start most projects at any time of year.
We usually start transporting materials to remote sites right after Thanksgiving when the ice starts getting thick.
Our kits are produced year round as well and we are usually about four weeks out on them depending on the size and complexity.

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes". - Mahatma Gandhi.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

July 4th is the biggest weekend of the summer. It is easy to forget why we celebrate this day. It is more than barbeque and fireworks. Many have died to buy this freedom we so casually enjoy.
Take a moment and reflect on those who bought this freedom with their blood.

"The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission". - John F. Kennedy.