As it turns out, buying a home in Alaska is not much easier than buying a home in a foreign country. There are MANY things to consider. The more I think I know, the more I realize I know nothing. I'm learning a whole new vocabulary!
Now when I look at listings, I look for key phrases like: furred out, holding tank, internet, territorial views, above the ice fog, energy efficient, triple pane windows, heated garage... These are words or phrases that might not seem all that interesting, but when you realize the consequences they hold in their simple little letters, you realize this stuff matters.
Internet? You might ask, what's the deal with internet? Well, some homes have access to it, and others don't. In fact come listings say that they HOPE to have internet in a year or so. These are NOT off the grid houses! Internet?!? I can't be without my little connection to the outside world!
Let's talk about holding tanks. Many houses here don't have city water or a well. They have a holding tank that is usually about 1500 gallons. Do you know how many gallons of water you use in a month? It turns out for our family, we would probably be making daily trips to the water people to fill up a 400 gallon tank that resides permanently in the back of our truck. A truck I might add, that we don't have yet. So, dig a well you say. That's what I said. You can, and sometimes it might work out. But in some places you can't dig, and in other places where you do dig, you might find that your water has arsenic in it! You know, the poison. And even if you do get a good well, you could likely end up with orange water, and consequently orange clothes, dishes, toilets, hair.
How about energy efficiency? It turns out you can spend a LOT of extra money each month on utilities if you don't have an energy efficient house. If your home is built right, you can save hundreds of dollars each month. If not, you might find yourself putting on extra clothes or shelling out all kinds of money to keep your home warm.
It probably sounds like I'm complaining. I'm really not. I knew when we moved here we would encounter some things that are different. I guess at times I'm just overwhelmed by all the things that go into finding a good home here, outside of the simple "3 bed, 2 bath" scenario.
Still, I kind of like the challenge. I love the area, and I'm willing to make some sacrifices to live here. Also, I'm very glad we didn't try to buy a home in three days, as was my original plan. As it is, I have about 7 months to get this all figured out. Wish me luck!!