"To build or not to build — that is the question"

Another posting from Fairbanks homeowners Rocky Reifenstuhl and Gail Koepf.

To Build or Not to Build, that is the Question.  If you have to ask that question, you should probably stop reading here & hire a realtor.  The amount of time and energy involved in building your house can be tremendous, and that cost must not be marginalized if you are attempting to judge building vs buying strictly in terms of the perceived dollar savings.

Another consideration is the fact that most of Alaska has a rather limited housing market.  If you are lucky enough to be looking when there are a lot of houses on the market, you might be inclined to think, (as has been said about another market in Alaska), “the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”  There is a lot of unusual and sub-standard housing up here.  Consequently, if  you are considering buying anything, an inspection by a reputable independent home inspector or engineer is money well spent. 

However, if you can find a house that even approximates what you are looking for, by all means snap it up and remodel if necessary.  Moving is a huge job in itself and if you have a house to sell that is an additional time and energy sink.  Think about what level of stress you want to add to your life.  Building is not a pretty process in a place where there is very limited time between when you can break ground and when it freezes up again, along with the tools and hands of the builders.

 I hope to have a sustainable, energy efficient, small home when I am done, but I can’t even pretend there is much else green about the process.  Like most other things in life, compromise is necessary.  I could have built greener & smaller, but I wanted to make the home comfortable enough that others would consider taking some of the steps I have.  Going green is a gradual process, but we all should start somewhere.

 Gail Koepf and Rocky Reifenstuhl, Fairbanks, Alaska homeowners, are building a new home using sustainable, energy efficient techniques. CCHRC staff are filming aspects of the construction for use in a future “Best Practices” video about homebuilding in the North. We will continue to post entries as their work progresses.