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Hi, folks! I got a question from a nice fellow living in the Lower 48, Matthew S., that I answered to the best of my ability, but thought I’d pass along, to see what others thought:

[We are] concerned not so much about the cold and the snow, but by the length of daylight experienced during Anchorage winters. While I
know that the winters tend to be longer than those in “the South” and that there is less daylight, how dark is it during the winter months?
What do the days look like in winter? Is it just shorter or is the type of daylight experienced not as pronounced?

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It really looks like it may pan out. It is, of course, dependent on the appraisal. But the sellers have been amazing, especially considering that they originally wanted to sell the house “As-Is”: they’ve rewired the entire house (in part because the electrician wouldn’t sign off on a partial re-wire–still, they could have broken contract with us at that point, and we wouldn’t have blamed them, but they didn’t); they fixed up all of the things our inspector noted as “health and safety,” such as egress from the upstairs bedroom windows; they fixed a couple of extra things, like some leaky and damaged pipes and running a gas line so we could have a dryer; and they are still paying some of our closing costs.

We’re also doing this interesting kind of loan, called a 203(k). It’s like a normal FHA loan, only you get a contractor to bid on some fixes/upgrades to the house, and then the assessor tells you (or, well, your bank) what the value of the house would be after those changes, instead of its current value. Assuming it’s comparable to the cost of the house + the cost of the changes, you borrow enough additional money to make the changes, as part of the same loan. (Although it’s a few more steps than a normal loan, I’m surprised it’s not more common.)

This will, if it all works out, allow us to have an efficient water heater and furnace, some more insulation in our attic, a fixed up roof, a couple of fixed-up walls indoors (from previous roof troubles), fixed up siding (also from previous roof troubles), a dishwasher (the appliance itself isn’t going on the loan, but there is some cabinet-cutting required), and an additional two legal bedrooms, in our basement. The main area of the basement will remain unfinished, but hey–we wanted something we could work on ourselves, too. And if you’re going to practice with flooring and sheetrock and so on, something low-pressure like a basement is a good place to start, right? :) Also, we don’t mind it being unfinished for now. We’ll be able to use it for homebrewing, making candles, and other potentially-messy crafts!

So our fingers are very thoroughly crossed that this all works out. The house is adorable. We’ll post pictures of it when it gets closer to being a sure thing. But here’s hoping!

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