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#1 of 18 Old 11-19-2012, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ladies,

 

Were looking at a job there and would love some info about the area.  We have 3 kids 9,7 and 4 and currently homeschool and reconsider at the beginning of each year.  I would love to know what the average price for say a 3000sq foot house is, looking online it looks quite $$$$.  Where are the nice places to love, my dh will be working downtown.  Where do people shop for food (i noticed theres no trader joes or whole foods) is organic food super $$$? Can we bring our cars?  How cold does it really get and how dark is in the winter???Anything else I should be asking......?

 

Thank you!!

 

Katy

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#2 of 18 Old 11-20-2012, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by katy1844 View Post

Hi Ladies,

 

Were looking at a job there and would love some info about the area.  We have 3 kids 9,7 and 4 and currently homeschool and reconsider at the beginning of each year.  I would love to know what the average price for say a 3000sq foot house is, looking online it looks quite $$$$.  Where are the nice places to love, my dh will be working downtown.  Where do people shop for food (i noticed theres no trader joes or whole foods) is organic food super $$$? Can we bring our cars?  How cold does it really get and how dark is in the winter???Anything else I should be asking......?

 

Thank you!!

 

Katy

 

 

Homeschooling is pretty popular here. They say about 1/3 the children in our state homeschool. There are many pubic charter schools that offer a homeschooling program. They give the family an allotment per child to spend on supplies and books.

There is also a great homeschooling group in Anchorage called Alaska Life Learners. We get together at least once a month for playdates, art trips, field trips, etc.

 

Our price range for a home was $250,000 (really it should have been less). That money bought us a 1964 split level 5 bedroom 2 bath house, 2000 sq ft in semi-fixer upper condition. I have no idea what a 3000sqft home would cost but I'm assuming at least $350,000.

Yes, housing is pretty pricey here considering the wages and such. Factor in the higher cost of utilities, and living expenses generally run about 60%+ of your pay check. 

We downsized and rented out house out, now live in a 3 bedroom mobile home for $1500 (all utilities included). This was the nicest and most affordable 3 bedroom/pets accepted on the market in our price range.

 

There are many nice pocket neighborhoods in town. The majority of people will say to just stick to South Anchorage but I find the Southern Side of Muldoon to be pleasant, as well and the homes in the downtown area (J and Cordova ~ 10th and 15th), also there are some cute areas over in the Spenard area. Of course there is always Hillside, Rabbit Creek and Bear Valley

 

Most people shop at Fred Meyer, Carrs/Safeway, Costco. We also have local stores that sell organics and other ethnic foods for a high price, but sometimes you just cant get it anywhere else. New Sagyaya and Natural Pantry come to mind. I also like the Red Apple Market for great ethnic foods with out the high price tag. I think our food in Anchorage is pretty similar to most cities in the Lower 48 but you will find our produce is much higher and the quality is not as good. Organics are higher then non-organics.

 

Yes, bring a car. Anchorage is not bus rider friendly although we do have decent buses and routes. It's pretty chilly in the winter and winter lasts for 7 months. Biking is popular in the summer and some people bike all year round. We have some great trails through out our town.

 

It's typically above Zero in the winter and around 20? I'd say that's average winter temp but some days are COLD! It's a wet cold here so our -5 feels bone chilling, where are -30 in Fairbanks was just brisk.   right now is the hardest time of the year, I think. because thanks to Day LIghts Savings time, we have less light in the evening. Just the other day I noticed the sun was starting to set at 2:45pm on my way to pick up my son from school. Things will get much better after Solstice. :)

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#3 of 18 Old 11-24-2012, 04:15 AM
 
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We're also looking at moving to Alaska! Is it miserable to commute every day to downtown from Rabbit Creek/Bear Valley when it snows? Some of those roads look like dirt/gravel. I heard that some of the road service is private, but I'm unsure how reliable it is in the winter after heavy snows.
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#4 of 18 Old 11-26-2012, 08:25 PM
 
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It can take 30 minutes to drive from downtown to my home on the East Side in heavy traffic. Add snow and slick roads to that and your looking at well over 30 minutes.  Once you get off the main roads that lead out of town, the driving should be smoother. It can easily take 45+ min to drive from the North side to the South side on good day.

 

Most of the time the city does a fairly decent job of keeping the main roads and bus routes clear and sanded.  It can take weeks to plow the off roads and into the neighborhoods.
The "private roads" will be plowed by the HOA or the home owner.  You could hire out to a company as well.

 

Many people enjoy living in the hills where the property is larger and the neighbors are farther apart.
 

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#5 of 18 Old 11-27-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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It can take 30 minutes to drive from downtown to my home on the East Side in heavy traffic. Add snow and slick roads to that and your looking at well over 30 minutes.  Once you get off the main roads that lead out of town, the driving should be smoother. It can easily take 45+ min to drive from the North side to the South side on good day.

 

Most of the time the city does a fairly decent job of keeping the main roads and bus routes clear and sanded.  It can take weeks to plow the off roads and into the neighborhoods.
The "private roads" will be plowed by the HOA or the home owner.  You could hire out to a company as well.

 

Many people enjoy living in the hills where the property is larger and the neighbors are farther apart.
 

 

 

Thank you for the input!  I definitely needed some real-world advice as I will definitely be working downtown.  (Our realtor, while nice, gives the commute question a wave of her hand.) 

 

We're having a hard time finding a home because of space issues.  We don't want to be piled on top of our neighbors and my husband would like to run his wood/metal shop without disturbing an entire street.  The houses further out are expensive, though!

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#6 of 18 Old 11-27-2012, 03:41 PM
 
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Have you considered living in Eagle River, or Palmer/ Wasilla areas instead? If you are going to be facing a commute anyways you coudl potentially get more land for less farther out.

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#7 of 18 Old 11-28-2012, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've also been shocked at the house prices, we've been looking online and found some ares such as chugiak and eagle river that aren't as $$ but we do worry about the commute time.  Were in the country now and while there are so many things we love it does get tiring to have to drive 30+ minutes each way to go grocery shopping .  With winter being so long what are we looking at as far as utility bills?  Also I had to be on bed rest with my last pregnancy, if that happens again what does a cleaning service run up there?  Lastly, how is the area as far as home-births and midwives?  Thanks again Ladies!!!!

 

 

Katy

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#8 of 18 Old 11-28-2012, 11:52 PM
 
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As long as you are not a VBAC mom, the Homebirth/Midwife community is AMAZING here.

 

Most of the utility companies work on a year payment plan. They average the bills out so you don't have huge bills in the winter.  We had an older home, the one I mentioned in the post above and it was about $125 a month in Gas (heat and hot water, range) and electric was about $80 a month, more in the winter if you plug in your cars. We were pretty frugal with our utilities though.

 

I'm sorry, I don't know much about the cleaning services but some of my friends have cleaning ladies.

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#9 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by katy1844 View Post

We've also been shocked at the house prices, we've been looking online and found some ares such as chugiak and eagle river that aren't as $$ but we do worry about the commute time.  Were in the country now and while there are so many things we love it does get tiring to have to drive 30+ minutes each way to go grocery shopping .  With winter being so long what are we looking at as far as utility bills?  Also I had to be on bed rest with my last pregnancy, if that happens again what does a cleaning service run up there?  Lastly, how is the area as far as home-births and midwives?  Thanks again Ladies!!!!

 

 

Katy


No worries about driving 30 minutes for groceries, lots of stores in all the areas.

Midwivery here is great, with exception of Vbac laws.

We have everything electric except heat & are not on the monthly even-payment plan. It can get up to about $200 during really cold winter months.

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#10 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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Have you considered living in Eagle River, or Palmer/ Wasilla areas instead? If you are going to be facing a commute anyways you coudl potentially get more land for less farther out.

 

One of the people in my firm lives in Eagle River and they seem to consider that the absolute limit of range.  Hmmmm, so now I have to think if living in south Anchorage pushes that limit as well...  My husband and I aren't fancy house people by any means, I'm just really dedicated to getting him some space for his shop...  I think we may end up having to rent and saving our dollars.  

 

 

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Most of the utility companies work on a year payment plan. They average the bills out so you don't have huge bills in the winter.  We had an older home, the one I mentioned in the post above and it was about $125 a month in Gas (heat and hot water, range) and electric was about $80 a month, more in the winter if you plug in your cars. We were pretty frugal with our utilities though.

 

Huh, that's interesting that they average things out.  I have a feeling that the first year is going to be a huge learning process!  Don't worry, here in Georgia people pay upwards of $200 on electricity a month (which I find staggering, we're in the $40-$70 range!) because they need heat when it's 60 degrees outside.  It's nice to see that the utilities costs are not the worst ever.  

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#11 of 18 Old 11-30-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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It's really hard to say where is best to live. Many many people live in Palmer/Wasilla which is 45+ miles away and commute daily to Anchorage. We made the choice 4 years ago to NOT have a long commute because that just does not work for our family. We live in town.  Now I have a job that requires me to travel to the valley (palmer) at least 1 day a week plus any births I attend out there.  I'm glad we don't have to make that commute every day!

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#12 of 18 Old 12-02-2012, 11:40 PM
 
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I grew up in a commuting family and honestly can't recommend it if you have the choice. 2 hours a day spent in your car, more if there's bad weather...

We live in south anchorage and I can't say much about downtown neighborhoods, if you live right downtown houses are very spendy and also not big unless you're willing to lay down 700k+. Have you looked at www.alaskarealestate.com?

We don't homeschool but many of my friends do, and there seem to be a lot of networks should you choose to avail yourself of them. Shopping... Organic food is available at our grocery stores, yes it is pricy. I don't buy exclusively organic. I do most of my shopping at Costco.

Mom of 7, ages 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, and 2.5!
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#13 of 18 Old 12-05-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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It's really hard to say where is best to live. Many many people live in Palmer/Wasilla which is 45+ miles away and commute daily to Anchorage. We made the choice 4 years ago to NOT have a long commute because that just does not work for our family. We live in town.  Now I have a job that requires me to travel to the valley (palmer) at least 1 day a week plus any births I attend out there.  I'm glad we don't have to make that commute every day!

 

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I grew up in a commuting family and honestly can't recommend it if you have the choice. 2 hours a day spent in your car, more if there's bad weather...
We live in south anchorage and I can't say much about downtown neighborhoods, if you live right downtown houses are very spendy and also not big unless you're willing to lay down 700k+. Have you looked at www.alaskarealestate.com?
We don't homeschool but many of my friends do, and there seem to be a lot of networks should you choose to avail yourself of them. Shopping... Organic food is available at our grocery stores, yes it is pricy. I don't buy exclusively organic. I do most of my shopping at Costco.

 

 

Thank you ladies!  This definitely helps cement the "we've got to stick close to Anchorage" thoughts.  My commute currently is 30 minutes to work and 45 minutes to an hour and half to get home.  Although, I'm holding on to the hope that the traffic up there is nothing to Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia traffic!  I just worry primarily about the inclement weather driving...if it is truly doable or if it will be a limiting factor on where we live.  

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#14 of 18 Old 12-06-2012, 08:15 PM
 
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the traffic is not like Dallas but It's not pretty.

Weather or not, since there is ONE road that takes people from Anchorage to the Valley, if there is an accident, you'll be stuck in  traffic for a long time.

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#15 of 18 Old 12-09-2012, 12:04 AM
 
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My parents commuted for 27 years. The drives frequently involved accidents and avoiding accidents due to inclement weather and people inexperienced in winter driving conditions. There are more people on the road now. I have family in wasilla and I avoid driving out there during the winter because I find the drive stressful. We used to live in a town with a 7 minute commute.l pretty sweet! Good luck with your choices.

Mom of 7, ages 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, and 2.5!
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#16 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 11:12 PM
 
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The west side of town is also nice, and not very far from downtown. We live between Minnesota and Wisconsin (streets) and it only takes my husband 10-20 minutes to get downtown to his job, depending on traffic lights. 

 

Housing is very expensive here. We are still renting. 


~ Elizabeth in Alaska {mother to four born at home}

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#17 of 18 Old 02-21-2013, 08:36 AM
 
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Both home prices and renting are expensive here, which is why a lot of people I know decide to move further north, without factoring in the gas prices to drive in and out of wasilla to anchorage daily, ends up they either break even with rent or pay more than if they just stayed in Atown lol. Eagle River isn't that far from downtown, though, and a smaller city than Anchorage by a long shot. Personally, if we could afford it or if the jobs were out that way, we wouldn't live in anchorage, its gotten pretty sketchy.

Wife to DH dh_malesling.GIF(12.10.2009), Anchorage based doula joy.gif, Proud mama to Autumnblahblah.gif (09.03.2008), Sylas bouncy.gif(04.25.2010), angel1.gif(06.11.2012), Callioperainbow1284.gif(04.23.2013)

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#18 of 18 Old 02-23-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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Seriously? Eagle river does not lack the problems of anchorage, it's just 20 minutes away...

Mom of 7, ages 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, and 2.5!
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