Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you build?

We are based in the MatSu Valley, and offer our residential home building services within an approximate 50 mile radius. This includes Palmer, Wasilla, Butte, Sutton, Houston, Big Lake, Talkeetna, Birchwood, Chugiak and Eagle River. We do not currently offer our services in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Glennallen, Kenai or off the road system.

How much do your homes cost?

This is, not surprisingly, a commonly asked question and one of the most difficult to answer. We don’t build tract homes, which is the process of building the same homes over and over. We design and build “Forever” Homes, which is a specific home tailored to meet your needs. Home prices vary substantially depending on lot selection, home design, upgrade choices and financing. Pricing might range anywhere from $250/sf to $350/sf for the house itself, plus around $100/sf for garages, plus costs for land, construction financing and/or other features. The short answer is that it really depends on your situation. For example, if you already own your building lot free and clear with a well and driveway already on it, the total costs to build would naturally be less than if you were planning to have Wirtanen purchase and build on a different parcel of land without these improvements. With a quick in-person “feasibility” meeting, we can quickly provide potential clients have a solid understanding of current build costs.

How does financing work?

Each client’s financial picture is unique, which means that the “best” approach for financing varies. Usually a long term lender will advise on the best approach based off a client’s available equity or cash. Most often a client will obtain their own Construction Financing for the build, but there are other options too. We can help navigate this arena, as there are many variables that apply and the pros and cons vary substantially depending on the situation.

Do you purchase the lot, or do we?

Wirtanen can technically purchase the lot as part of the home building package. The only drawback to this option is that BEFORE this takes place, the final home design, amenities, modifications and final contract packet need to be finalized and signed, which can take many months to complete. We have found that when a client finds a lot they love, time is of the essence to secure the lot, so often the best option is for the client to simply purchase the lot themselves via cash or a personal land loan (or other means of financing). Then, after the lot is secured, proceed with finalizing the home package at which point a contract could be signed, a deposit received, and the construction loan obtained.

What if I already own my lot?

Perfect! If a client already owns their lot, the equity in the land is recognized by Wirtanen and the long term lender as cash toward the build, so there is often no additional cash required by Wirtanen at signing, or the lender at closing. (depending on how much equity is in the land of course)

Is the 10% deposit in addition to the money I’m required to have at closing?

No. The cash (or equity) deposit given to Wirtanen at contract signing is only held by Wirtanen during the construction process, and at closing this money is still yours. Your banker will typically suggest that you apply this deposit toward your purchase price. You may also have the option to use a portion of this deposit toward your closing costs.

What if we build with cash?

When projects are built with cash, there is no need for either a construction loan or the full 10% deposit, and the deed on the property is not transferred. The deposit is reduced to just 2%, and clients are simply invoiced each month for work complete to date.

How long does it take to build a home?

The entire build process, from contract signing to closing takes 6 months on average, but due to long lead times now due to covid, we are seeing this time increased to approximately 7 months on average. This accounts for the time needed to get a “plans appraisal” prior to starting, and also time to obtain a construction loan to fund the build project. Also expected is a wait period at closing for final paperwork and underwriter review.

How early should I be talking with you?

It can take a fair amount of time to design, review, reflect and consider the many building options, and to make necessary changes and final adjustments in preparation for the build. We often are talking and working with folks a year or more in advance, so if you are considering building in the next few years it is not too early to schedule a meeting. The goal is that you would have a crystal clear understanding of what the process entails and what the price includes or excludes before signing a contract. This takes time up front, but it helps ensure that expectations are met, timelines and estimates are realistic, and that you’re ultimately thrilled with the end product.

How early in the spring can you start construction?

It depends largely on the weather, but typically around the end of April or the beginning of May.

Do you build through the winter?

Yes, but we make every effort to have the site work done and the concrete poured prior to freeze up. The remaining work including the framing, mechanical, insulation, etc. can be performed over the winter months.

What makes you better than another builder?

There is a difference, and we feel it’s the way we THINK and the values we imbue in our homes and in our relationships. We don’t assume we are perfect, and when we make mistakes we own and correct them. From every mistake or challenge, we learn from it and improve. We pay our contractors and suppliers on time, every time, and play by the rules. We build extremely energy efficient homes, with a priority placed on low maintenance and durability. We have our own professional home plan drafting software, and a cloud based project management software which keep our clients fully engaged and aware of their project costs, selections and timelines at all times. In short, we make custom easy!

I’m interested in having a home built. Where do I go from here?

Contact us for an appointment, and we will meet in person to discuss the pros and cons of building, and to determine if we are a good fit for you and your project. We will discuss home designs, styles, timelines, budgets and our unique building process, and happily help in any way we can.

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