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Finally, An Appraisal for the Tire Bale Home

March 1, 2010

This last week, we finally were able to secure an appraisal for our credit union. Hopefully, this will assist us in securing a regular mortgage of our LOC balloon loan. It won’t be a lower payment but it will also NOT be a very large note hanging over our heads due in one lump sum.

Anyone who intends to build an experimental home of this type needs to know that lenders and appraisers are nearly clueless in finding the value in them-even when this type of home is much more efficient than a conventional formula stick home.  The fact that we were finally able to achieve an appraisal is a major feat accomplished, since we have been looking for an appraiser for over a year.

As Lone Waite said, “Endeavor to persevere” (from the movie The Outlaw Josie Wales).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2010 3:17 am

    Hi Jon & Laura,

    My wife and I have a similar story as we began building our earthship home last June in Gunnison, CO and were forced to stop construction when, even our local banks, could not justify to their shareholders, the value of our home when there’s no comparables in our county. They wanted 60%-70% collateral and we only saved up 25% as two local public educators. In Feb 2008, we spoke with Connie Giffen and were assured financing. When we received our building permits and contacted her a year later she was looking for a job as her business was shored up by the recession and tightened appraisal laws.

    We’ve even begun organizing a new bank model called Common Good Banks b/c of our experience and hope there will be a way for people after us with important projects and businesses to help our community be sustainable and resilient. Our other approach is to host a training for our local appraisers, realtors and bankers to help them get up to speed on identifying the “total inherent value” of a high-peforming home. We went tried 2 local appraisers who stalled and never returned our calls. We’re using Fritz Diether from Frostbusters and Coolth Inc. in Grand Junction to conduct the training. Also, NOVA Home Loans out of Phoenix was able to find a conventional loan for one of the latest earthships built in the Taos Greater World community through I’ve been speaking with Jim Tulin, but have had little response so far. I’m not sure the deal actually went through.

    If you ever receive responses that would help responsible-minded builders like us complete our projects let me know.

    You can read more about our project at our website, fb page or twitter below.

    Thanks for sharing your story with the WSJ,
    Eric Krawczyk

    The Crocus Earthship
    324 Crocus Rd.
    Gunnison, CO 81230
    +1 970-209-4200
    Skype: ekrawczyk80
    facebook: The Crocus Earthship
    Twitter: crocusearthship

    • October 6, 2010 6:34 pm

      Hi Eric,

      Hope this finds you and yours well.
      How are things going for you on your Earthship home?
      Checking in….
      Laura Hagar

      • October 6, 2010 7:58 pm

        We had an appraisal conducted but it came in around 75% of the land and construction costs combined. The 25% we’ve invested so far disappeared making our loan to value back to 100% instead of 80% or more. Out local CU approached us wanting to lend member money in house then after a 12 week process was forced to deny us bc their NCUA auditor threatened to not insure the CU if they gave the loan out. We are looking at the Permaculture CU out of Santa Fe right now and organizing a new economic model called a Common Good Bank to help future innovative projects that the community supports get financing. You might be interested in becoming a founding member of it. Visit to join. If you know others who’d be interested in joking please send them my way.

        We are hosting a 10/10/10 Work Party through this Sat and hope to have some help with the last 120 tires.

        Thanks for checking in,

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