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Thread: Moving soon

  1. #1
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    Default Moving soon

    I have been reading a ton of the posts about relocating and a lot of it centers around those wanting to go "off the grid." That's not us, we are moving for work, want to live on the road system, and want a reasonable house! Together we will bring home about 6500 a month. We will either be living in North Pole or Fairbanks, but I am not sure where to start looking for housing. Is it possible or safe to commute between NP and Fairbanks for work? Which area has better schools? We are homeschooling right now but are considering putting them back in Public schools to make our scheduling easier. Like I said before I am not looking for off the grid but definitely need out of the way. What are the areas to stay away from? I currently live near Paradise, MI in the UP, so we are accustomed to winter although not on your scale. I trap and hunt A LOT, Last what advice would you give to help make a smooth transition. Keep in mind we are not moving to "try it out" After 12 years in the Marine Corps I am tired of moving so this is gonna be it.

  2. #2

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    The first question would be what time of year are you planning to move? Summer? Winter? Do you have the ability to come up for a short trip to explore options before the move? If at all possible, I would seriously recommend coming up for at least a few days to check out the various areas for yourself. Commuting between NP and Fairbanks is definitely doable and many people do it daily, but just like anywhere, you run into the issues with traveling a highway in winter conditions. A simple accident can cause significant delays and for the most part, there is no detour route. If an occasional significant delay isn't serious for your work situation, then maybe it isn't a big issue.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Commuting between NP and Fairbanks is definitely doable and many people do it daily, but just like anywhere, you run into the issues with traveling a highway in winter conditions. A simple accident can cause significant delays and for the most part, there is no detour route. If an occasional significant delay isn't serious for your work situation, then maybe it isn't a big issue.
    I commuted between Two Rivers (at 21 mile) and the university for a few years and I have to say that I never ran into any significant delay, and the only time there were real problems was during that Thanksgiving ice storm. On the one hand there's probably less traffic on CHSR than the Rich but on the other hand the Richardson is a highway. The Richardson gets ice fog and we almost never do, so that can slow things down. Personally, I would not live in North Pole, mostly because I have a dog team and the trails in Two Rivers are excellent (and I fish most days in the summer so having the river right here is excellent), but partly as a matter of personal taste, too.

    I'd definitely echo the recommendation to come up here and look around. Different areas vary a lot and there can be some surprises, both good and bad.

  4. #4
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    Well we would be moving by late January to mid February at the latest. I would like to make a scouting trip up and may be able to do that around the first to second week of January but no guarantees. I can deal with the occasional delay, that wouldn't be any different then here. I am 22 miles from work and have to travel along Lake Superior's south coast all winter, so that is doable. We have a 4x4 Expedition so I feel safe travelling. I have wondered about the scouting trip for a week or so now and just wondered if the 2 grand it would take would be better spent once we get up there, but I am leaning toward going at least for 2-3 days.

  5. #5
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The Fairbanks area provides a lot of options for where to live. I recommend finding a rental that is month to month and then scouting while you live there. Get set up with a real estate office before you come up. Let them do most the work.

    Northpole gets you into the lowest elevation along the river making for the coldest temps. Large lots with some access to woods and water depending on where you look. They do have a water quality issue in the middle of town near a refinery. I doubt if you would be looking in that part of town anyway. Badger road up the Chena is not a bad spot to look.

    Chena Ridge and Rosey creek can get you up into some warmer temps, and large lots with quick access to Fairbanks. You will find most places up there have water tanks since there is too much arsenic in the groundwater to make a well useful. You can get potable water delivered or buy a 1ton 4x4 and a tank and get it yourself.

    Goldstream Valley and Murphy dome can get you into large lots and having the outdoors right there depending on where the property is located.

    Farmers Loop can also get you up out of the cold temps and into some older houses. Several poorly thought out homes on permafrost or ice lenses so read any engineers reports carefully. The ridges to the west and north of the road are prime places. Many homes there today were grouse hunting hot spots back in my college days. Too bad.

    Chena river road can give you all kinds of good stuff up on the hills/ridges or down in the valleys.

    If I was to choose a public school up there, from what I recall while at UAF, I would choose West Valley High for older kids. Little kids I have no idea.

  6. #6
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    AK RAY has some good points, I live on Murphy Dome and I highly recomend it but I'm sure there are some other good areas. I would suggest you try to find a place in the hills where it's warmer, it might be 0 at my place but it's -30 in north pole and -20 in Fairbanks. There's lots of homes for sale here and I've heard record numbers of people are leaving for the lower 48 so finding a house shouldn't be a problem. Also I would suggest you consider something smaller, most lower 48 folks make the mistake of buying a big house like they're used to down there but cost a fortune to heat here and they realize that after they bought it. I second the idea of renting first before you buy for many reasons, Alaska isn't always what people think it is..........................feel free to pm me if you have questions

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    When the previous poster says a fortune to heat, he means $1000/month in fuel oil. While Alaska is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, it is somewhere between expensive and really expensive to do so. A family can easily go through $6500/month without much if anything left over for enjoying what Alaska has to offer.

    $2000 mortgage
    $1000-1500 utilities (fuel oil, electricity, phone, internet)
    $1000 food
    $1000 vehicle insurance and gas
    $5000-5500
    If your kids are involved in any sports or other activities that can easily eat up any remaining funds. Not to be a bummer, but the reality is every month you can be left scratching your head saying exactly where did all the money go???

    Coming up and spending a year or two as a renter to get the lay of the land and understand the pros and cons as well as expenses of living in different areas is highly recomended. We were very fortunate to mostly have made a good choice on our 1st home, well except for being in the shade for over 2 months due to the mountains to the South of us, and having some drainage issues with our lot.

    Fairbanks is definately a buyers market and likely will be for the foreseeable future, so don't be in a rush to get a home due to the low interest rates. Getting into the wrong home and being stuck with it would be a serious bummer. There has been serious talk of relocating Eilson's F-16's to JBER in Anchorage. If that happens, that is a large number of people relocating South, and also with the F16's gone it would be tough to justify keeping Eilson open.

    I have nothing against Fairbanks and have always enjoyed the time I've spent there, but the reality is that jobs and growth are happening in Anchorage and Matsu. I don't know of anything on the horizon that would look to give Fairbanks an economic boost. Definately something to be aware of before buying a home in the event you would have even the remotest chance of moving in the future.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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