First time posting here. Thanks Paul for all your work on this, it's a great part of my day.
So my partner and I are in a situation that has me interpreting building codes for Missoula county (ICC 2009, from what I can tell) and trying to understand nuances of rural development and lot loans. A good friend of ours is giving us first shot and a great price on a really great piece of land in the Potomac. It's pretty much everything that we could/would/do want: varied terrain, south facing slope, natural spring, butted up to The Nature Conservancy, and exactly 30 minutes from where I sit in our little house on the northside. So.... dream of dreams we live on, in, and with this land, and so then first things first: a home. We, just so happens, love green building. I love the wofati building designs Paul. Nothing would fit into this piece of land as well as it would.
Now comes the problem: financing. We're not really in a bad financial situation right now, but we're young, we've made our mistakes. We would qualify for enough. If we could build the residence from the materials and resources that are on the land (wofati style) we wouldn't need more than $115,000 for both the cost of the land and the home. That's a big guestimate on my part, I can't imagine needing much more. Unless you bill yourself for labor. The kind of loan we would need is a "lot loan", I think. I believe it would give us a couple of years to build the house and allow us the money to purchase the land right up front. Upon completion of the build period, or two years, whichever comes first I believe, the loan is due. The land can then be reassessed with the new residence on it and the whole property moved into a fixed rate mortgage. I get some of that stuff, as much as I can. And what I don't know, I can rely on my top-notch team of financial whizzes down at Sterling Savings for.
What I'm really unsure about is building codes, particularly those in use here in Missoula County, and then the process of the whole thing too. What I really believe I need to be able to do is make sure that any residence that gets designed/built will be rock solid in ICC, 2009 ed., the building codes that I believe are in place in Missoula County. What I am in need of is the advice or guidance of someone or anyone who has been through anything like this before. Here are some questions from the off the top of my head.
I think the bank might be more inclined to work with a general contractor, just because... so do you know of any general contractors that would be into a low-cost environmentally friendly construction project around Missoula?
I am pretty capable with pencils, drawing up plans, and drafting. Might I be able to draft my own set of working plans and have them approved by the county? Do I need to have an architect look them over? What is the approval process?
What are those sneaky inspectors looking for and what problems do they tend to find, if they do, with earth covered housing?
Are outhouses sanitary under any circumstance in Missoula County? been wondering about that one for a while...
Anywho- I'll take anything you've got. Thanks for reading and posting if you do.