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David Pruhs Broker/Owner

(907) 750-2888 (907) 479-7003 fax • (907) 479-7000 542 4th Ave., Ste 209 • Fairbanks, AK 99701

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Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


A pro can lessen stress of moving By KAREN CONOVER

sional packing serwhat is required vices and intend to of them and elling and/or buying a home do it yourself, new afford them an can be a very stressful time and used boxes are awareness of their in one’s life. The difficult available that are rights, as well. task of moving everything you own specifically made Being informed is often adds to that stress. As you for moving various always an advanguide your clients through the sale household items. tage. and purchase of their house, here Please use quality It is essenare a few reminders you can share moving boxes, we tial that you with them to aid that process. do not recommend are fully aware Professional estimates are grocery or liquor of the extent highly recommended. They are free store boxes. of your moving of charge. We recommend having If you opt to company’s liabilan estimate done as early in your have a professional ity for loss and relocation process as possible. This estimate done, feel damage. Although service is designed to give the ship- free to request the movers may per an idea of the possible financial referrals during the do everything in costs of having an experienced team assessment. There their power to Karen Conover of movers pack and transport their is no obligation, and take the utmost belongings, as well as ensuring the assurance that care with your things go as smoothly as possible on the company you items, occasionmoving day. choose will give you exceptional ser- ally mishaps occur. Once again, Most people build up quite a col- vice is important. An experienced being informed and protected in lection of unwanted junk over the and conscientious team of profesthe unlikely event you will need to years. Why pay to have something sionals will provide you with the repair or replace something is your shipped that you don’t plan on peace of mind that your possessions best bet. keeping or have any use for? Now are in good hands. Following these guidelines can is a good time to eliminate unnecesBe sure to request a copy of assist you with having a smooth sary expense and inconvenience by “Your Rights and Responsibiliand more organized move. Karen Conover is lifelong Fairbanksan having a garage sale in an attempt ties When You Move.” This is a and fourth generation owner/operator of to rid yourself of surplus items. publication intended to assist the Sourdough Companies. If you don’t want or need profes- consumer in fully understanding


Get ready for a Fairbanks winter ........ 6 Opportunities in real estate .............. 7 Create space with windows ................ 8 What young homebuyers want .......... 9 Housing inspections pay off .............. 14 Your neighborhood as an asset ......... 15 Words that sell ................................. 18 Tune up your garage ......................... 19 Open house tips ............................... 20 Famous real estate quotes ................ 21 Five easy $100 fixes ......................... 22

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Homes and Real Estate


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Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Think your real estate assessment is off? Challenge it By DAVID PRUHS


inety percent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough budget is through real estate taxes levied on real estate in the borough. The Assessor’s Office in the borough building is staffed with competent appraisers who have an extensive past work history in either appraising or real estate sales prior to borough employment. The borough appraiser is tasked with providing an “assessed value” on your property as of Jan. 1. After this date, if your property has changed, been damaged or destroyed, there is nothing the appraiser can do as they are held by statute to value it as of the first day of the year. Each appraiser has an individual area, such as commercial buildings, Farmers Loop, Chena Ridge, Westgate or Aurora Subdivisions, Chena Hot Springs Road, North Pole, so they are very knowledgeable

Review the data the appraiser have on your property. Is the structure size they have on record correct? Do they show that the home was remodeled or upgraded and it is not in the condition that they believe it to be in? Review the comparables sales in the valuation that they used.

of February to contact the appraiser who valued their David Pruhs home and discuss with them the value, how they formed of values in specific areas and/ their opinion of the assessor types of real estate. ment and have them alter/ Your real estate assessadjust or lower the value. ment is broken down into two If, for whatever reason, the categories: land valuation and owner cannot conclude the structure valuation. Outbuild- valuation difference with the ings, decks and porches are Appraiser during this month, placed under the structure they can ask the appraiser to valuation. help them fill out an appeal Valuation notices are then form. sent out to property ownWhat this does is automatiers the last Friday in Janucally extends your protest/ ary. Owners have the month appeal period until you have an official hearing before the Board of Equalization. Appeal hearings are in April, May and June. Now here are some of the secrets at being successful in lowering your assessed value. F REE E STIMATES Be very polite, at all times, to the appraiser. The appraiser is a very nice person, is human and is an expert in valuation. Being rude, aggresLicensed • Bonded sive or telling them that the Insured mayor or an assemblyman


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is your personal friend will not help you in lowering you assessment. Always be professional, polite and courteous and respect their knowledge of real estate. Review the data the appraiser have on your property. Is the structure size they have on record correct? Do they show that the home was remodeled or upgraded and it is not in the condition that they believe it to be in? Review the comparables sales in the valuation that they used. Are the locations, structures, conditions of improvements similar to yours? An example, you have a home with a basement, they compared it to a twostory home. They are saying the comparable gives the structure a price of $100 per square foot. The value difference for a basement versus above-grade improvements is different. How old is the comparable as to relevancy in comparison to your property?

What is quality and condition level of your building versus those of the comparable sales that the appraiser has assigned? Be able to show that your condition is inferior to the comparable sales used and ask them to then adjust your value down. If you have not been able to settle on a value with the appraiser, the next step is a hearing before the Board of Equalization. The sad part is, you have already lost and you don’t know it yet. Every year, the Board of Equalization will hear 35 to 60 valuation disputes. For the eight years I was on the Board of Equalization, we usually overturned no values and never overturned more than two property valuations in a calendar year. Why? Because the appraisers in the Assessor’s Office are experts. This is what they do this for a living. In general, they have better data and Please see PRUHS, Page 5



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Homes and Real Estate

Friday, September 21, 2012


PRUHS: Tips and advice for hearing before Board of Equalization Borough and 11 appraisers on staff. Your property gets a resources to present a better personal review every three to valuation case to the Board of five years. Equalization than you do. If the appraiser says you An individual property did not allow them into your owner/taxpayer does not structure to review their have the resources to present assessment analysis, you just such a case and the Board of lost. The Board of EqualizaEqualization looks at only tion will take the view that the facts in valuation, nothyou are hiding something ing else. Sadly, the process is and the appraisers’ judgment stacked against you to win. So is correct. It is up to you to if you do end up in a hearing prove the case of lower valuabefore the Board of Equaliza- tion. Also, if you believe that tion, here are some ways to by allowing them in, your help you be successful: assessment may go higher in • DO NOT SAY that it is the future, don’t let them in. unfair that the property value It is not mandatory that you went up 45 percent in the provide them access. past year. What has happened • You are in a professional is that the appraiser has hearing. Be prepared. By statreviewed your property. There ute, you are only needed to be are more than 57,000 indigiven your valuation 24 hours vidual parcels of real estate prior to your hearing. You in the Fairbanks North Star will not have a lot of time for Continued from Page 4

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formal review of their comparable sales. • In your presentation, have better data, whether it’s information about the structure, lot, neighborhood and better quality comparable sales. Find any sales that have happened in your immediate area, neighborhood or road. Show the board the sales price, structural facts, recording date and the book and page of the recorder’s office showing that it was a true sale. • Show the Board of Equalization the differences in the comparables used for your property by the appraiser and be able to show why the design, quality and condition of their comparables is better than your property. In the hearing, the appraiser will present their valuation

case first, then you can ask the appraiser questions. Then you will be able to present your valuation case and the appraiser will be able to ask you questions. Each side gets 15 minutes to present their case, unless it is a complicated valuation (usually commercial or industrial property) and the board will extend the case time. Then each side gets to give rebuttal testimony only to those aspects that were presented by each side. No new evidence may be entered. Only dispute facts that were presented and emphasize what you believe to be true and correct as to the valuation of your property. Be professional and courteous to the appraiser and the Board of Equalization at all times. Remember, try to get your

value changed prior to the hearing. If you have credible aspects that show the appraiser why your value should be changed, they will most likely change it for you. We are very fortunate as the appraisers at the borough are professional, courteous and knowledgeable in their valuations and are always polite to the public so please treat them that way too. It will make a difference, now or in the future. David Pruhs has a degree in business administration with a concentration in real estate and finance He is a licensed real estate instructor in Alaska, was an appraiser for seven years in the Fairbanks area and a member of the Board of Equalization for eight years. He is a present member of the Planning Commission. David Pruhs has been in the real estate business in Fairbanks for 30 years.

Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

6 things to do before a Fairbanks winter closes in By PHIL RINGSTAD


inter is coming to Alaska. What’s the key to thriving — and not just surviving — during an Alaska winter? With our extreme winters can come extreme disasters to our homes. Homeowners can face house freeze-ups, pipes freezing and bursting, chimney fires, boiler and fur-

nace malfunctions that could blow soot throughout a home. Preparation cannot prevent all emergencies but it can help significantly. Here are six suggestions to make your winter more comfortable and to help ensure the transition into next spring goes smoothly. 1. Have a licensed technician clean and service your boiler or furnace. This should

be done annually and now, before it gets cold, is a perfect time. Technicians will have to turn your boiler off while servicing it and waiting until temperatures fall to minus 20 can leave you with a cold house and extra work on the system to get back up to temperature. Servicing your boiler or furnace will help ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency and is in good condition to get you through the winter without any emergency repairs, or worse, a frozen home from a breakdown, which can cause thousands of dollars in damages. 2. Hire a chimney sweep and clean your woodstove/fireplace chimney. I have our boiler stack and woodstove chimney cleaned once a year. If you’re burning wood as a source of heat, make sure to only burn seasoned wood to prevent creosote from building in the stack. If creosote is built up in sufficient quantities it could ignite inside the chimney, resulting in a volcanic chimney fire. I have seen too many chimney fires through the years that could have been prevented with annual cleaning. 3. Turn off all exterior spigots, and blow or drain the lines. These pipes can freeze, expand and split open. By

failed septic system in the winter is difficult and expensive. The best time to clean your tank is summer and early fall, as the ground will not be frozen and biological activity in the tank can re-establish itself before it gets too cold. We often find the spring brings septic backups, which are cause by a high water table caused by melted snow that can create pressure on the bottom of the tank and push the sludge from the tank back into the house. 6. Weatherproof your home. Now is the time to seal up Phil Ringstad those areas around entryways, garage doors and windows, and add insulation in your turning off the water to the attic and crawl space. You spigots and draining the line, may consider signing up for a you prevent that pipe from bursting and potentially drain- home energy audit, which may ing water into your basement. allow a rebate for some of the upgrades that you make. 4. Clean out your gutters Properly preparing your and downspouts. You may be surprised to see how much home for the rigors of a Fairstuff can accumulate in one banks winter, you can worry season. You can prevent ice less and instead enjoy all dams building up in the spring that Fairbanks offers for cold and causing damage to your weather fun. Phil Ringstad of Ringstad Carpet home. & Restoration can help with any 5. Clean out your septic questions you may have. Call him at tank. Regular cleaning can Ringstad Restoration is prolong the life of your system 458-8304. the preferred vendor for water, fire and a septic tank with too and smoke loss with major insurmuch sludge can cause probance companies and can help you if lems in the winter. Fixing a your home has flooded, frozen up or has had smoke damage.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homes and Real Estate


Depressed real estate market offers opportunity By ERIC CHRISTENSEN

make money in real estate: the slow way and the fast way. ... The fast way is to buy, fix and sell.” Schline Since the housing bubble calls this strategy “high risk, burst and a severe national high reward,” and Dickson recession quickly followed, dislikes this strategy because the news has been filled with a property that doesn’t sell stories of foreclosed homes, quickly won’t turn a profit. the collapse of new home Schline prefers the slow way, construction and banks and Dickson agrees: “Where struggling to survive. But you can buy and hold, you amid this bad news, there is should be able to participate a silver lining. in the market’s recovery Realtor Diane Petersen over the next few years.” Schline says: “The negaThird, an investor should tive news surrounding the pick a type of property to real estate market is exactly buy. Dickson advises against what makes it the best time condos because they tend to to invest. (Mortgage) rates lose value faster and appreciare at record lows and have ate slower than houses, and been for an extended period condo association fees can of time.” reduce your profit. Although Glenn Dickson, an active Schline says that “variable real estate investor and pres- expenses for maintenance ident of Complete Property may be higher with a standServices LLC, a property management company, adds, “Because of the foreclosures, you can buy properties today at considerable discounts to what their already depressed values are.” With a few tips, the inexperienced can begin successfully investing in real estate. First, investors should educate themselves about buying property. Schline says, “Each buyer has a different level of knowledge, so be realistic with yourself about what you are truly capable of doing.” Dickson says there are a variety of programs that teach real estate investing, but the best place to start is a local real estate club. “You can meet people doing this, learn what works and what doesn’t,” Dickson says. But when deciding whether to invest with a group, Schline cautions: “Any situation that involves multiple parties automatically creates a breeding ground for problems, so trusting your partners is an enormous aspect of the future success. The advantage, of course, is that the purchaser needs less cash upfront.” Second, an investor should decide on an investment strategy. Dickson says: “There are two ways to

alone home.” Fourth, pick a location to invest in. Schline says, “For an investment property, (location) can be the difference between vacancy and no vacancy, and that can be the ultimate game-changer.” Dickson suggests looking for neighborhoods that are economically robust and have a low percentage of foreclosures because that will translate into “a more stable tenant base that takes better care of the property (and) pays better rent.” Schline also advises investors to investigate the neighborhood’s development plans that might affect views or access to public transportation, for example. Finally, an investor must select a specific property.

This decision all comes down to income (rent) versus expenses (carrying costs and the costs to make the property ready for renters). Carrying costs can include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, special assessments and utilities. The investor or a property management company must also handle occasional maintenance. Make-ready costs include such things as repairs, painting and replacing old appliances. To receive a higher rent more quickly, both Dickson and Schline recommend hiring a contractor to complete these jobs quickly and professionally instead of doing them yourself. A key to profitable real estate investment is buying at the right price. Dickson

aims to buy property at 75 percent of the property’s estimated market value once it has been made ready, but that figure can rise if investors are competing. Experienced investors and realtors can help a beginner make accurate pricing assessments. Of course, after buying a property, investors should always have a thorough inspection performed on the property. The sad state of the real estate market can mean good news for investors if they buy intelligently, quickly prepare the property, and attract and retain renters. If done correctly, the property should generate a steady profit. Perhaps it’s time you considered adding real estate to your investment portfolio.

Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Windows create space, add light to your home of light bulb used can make a huge difference in how bright your life can be. Bring light into your home “With added natural light to make a room more invitand ventilation from skylights, ing, seem bigger and also save homeowners have attractive on energy. A combination of and effective tools to balance natural and artificial light, the light and improve ventias well as color schemes and lation in their homes,” says design, can update and trans- Ross Vandermark, national form your home into a warm product manager for skyand comfortable haven. Visual light manufacturer VELUX stimulation and exposure to America. Skylights can make a photo courtesy of VELUX America Inc. light are critical to well-being small or dark room feel larger Throw light onto the work and dining areas in your kitchen and can add additional value and more open. Tubular skyto make the hub of your home welcoming. to a home for prospective lights can be installed around buyers. Light can affect our attic obstructions, reflect light productivity, ability to learn, where needed, and fit into circadian rhythms and health. tight spaces. Eileen Claar, social media Easily installed accessories product expert at Home to adjust and control light will Depot, says, “There are 10 contribute to energy efficiency. ways to increase the amount “Venetian blinds are available of light and visibility into your to adjust light, as are blinds WWW.SPIRITOFAK.COM house.” Skylights, windows, to diffuse light and blinds doors, window treatments, to block light,” Vandermark room color or paneling, artifi- says “and the accessories, as cial lighting, and even the type well as the units themselves, Interested in Buying a By CHELLE CORDERO

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can be operated by remote control.” Solar blinds are also available that qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit. Consider installing more large windows in your home. Picture windows and bay windows provide for a wide viewing areas and can add attractive features to your home’s exterior. An awning window installed above doors or other windows will add additional light, and it often opens by using a crank handle for improved ventilation. Doors with glass insets or glass-side panels will allow more light into the entrance of your home. Sliding patio doors or French doors from your deck or patio are also great sources of natural light. Think about both privacy and energy efficiency in your window treatments. Select sheer curtains with cornices or scarf valances, light-filtering roller shades, or solar shades to allow maximum light through the windows while maintaining privacy. Wide blinds will allow more light through when opened. Blinds with the top-down-bottom-up feature will allow more light from the top of the window while affording privacy. “A light color on the walls will help brighten up a room and make the space feel larger,” according to Claar. “Keep all of the walls in the room the same shade for continuity and to create an open space. Be sure to also freshen up the ceiling with a light coordinating color.” Pay special attention to kitchen lighting. The kitchen is often the central work area of the home and also where families gather for evening meals and discussions. Track lighting and well-placed hanging fixtures can add additional light and focus, while adding beauty, depth and functionality to the room. Under-counter lighting can make chores such as cooking and even washing dishes seem less tiring.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homes and Real Estate


What 20- and 30-somethings are looking for in a home By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN

kitchen can make or break they should be,” he says. “If every showing.” you are buying brand new, And what do men want? then you have no worries When Dustin Thomas and “Girls get the kitchen, but here, but if you are buying a his wife, Karen, set out to guys get the ‘man cave,’” says middle-aged home with a new purchase their first home a Port. “Almost every couple kitchen, new baths, and new few years back, they knew I show a home to, the man flooring, but you have a 30just what they were looking immediately starts looking for year-old heater, a 25-year-old for. With their unborn son due his bar room, TV room, game roof and 20-year-old windows, very soon, they were seeking room, whatever it is. This has you may find yourself spendan affordable home in a safe become a huge sensation as of ing more money on those neighborhood with highly late.” systems than you would have rated schools. Other top-10 requests ever spent on updating baths “When we found a home include already updated and kitchens. Plus, updating with all those features and homes, abundant functional a kitchen is fun — updating a an updated kitchen and bath, heater, not so much!” photo courtesy of Diane Schlindwein living space, open floor plans, we didn’t waste time making Finally, good mortgage Many men look for a place in the house to have a “man at least 1.5 baths, updated an offer,” Dustin remembers. heating and air-conditioning rates and a “buyer’s market” cave” with a bar. “Luckily, our offer was acceptunits, and newer roofs and are making it easier for young ed right away and we moved windows. people to find “more house” are concerned about living in will not be forced into sending in just days before the baby “Most of the older homes for less money. “Money is an area with a good school them to private school.” was born.” did not have open floor plans, cheap, cheaper than ever,” district, says Port. “The averPort says he isn’t surprised and today’s buyer wants it While they were pretty Port says. “Buyers are startage private school in our area that young couples are looktypical in what they wanted, wide open. People love to ing to think maybe it makes costs $400 per month tuition ing for what he calls “the ooh, entertain, and it’s easy to the Thomases — at 28 and sense to buy the ‘next house’ to start for one child,” he ahh kitchen.” “Young buyers, entertain with a wide-open 27 years old — were a bit first.” says. “That $400 a month can especially women, want that younger and paid less than floor plan. I spend 75 percent Buyers that may have give you as much as $75,000 ‘wow’ kitchen that will make today’s average first-time of my day talking about which been prone to starting with a more in buying power. Many their friends ooh and ahh buyer, says Walter Molony of walls we can get rid of in townhome before moving to buyers are looking for areas when they see it,” he says. the National Association of homes,” Port says. a single (detached) home are with strong school districts, “Granite, marble or Corian Realtors. Because they were “As for the systems, this now thinking, ‘If I buy the knowing that when their countertops, custom cabinets in an area of the country is something that most buydetached home now, I may not children are old enough, they and overhead lighting in the where homes are moderately ers aren’t looking at, but have to move in five years.’ “ priced, the Thomases paid just under $100,000 for their newly updated three-bedroom, one-bath home. Search current MLS listings on Molony says according to a 2011 study, the median age of a first-time buyer is 31. “The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,570 square foot home costing $155,000,” he adds. Young buyers like the Thomases may not be purchasing in upper income Broker/Owner Colonel, US Army (Retired) neighborhoods, but they are “Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®)” particular about where they live. “Location — so clichÇd but it’s the truth,” says John BUYERS! We are Fairbanks’ most experienced real estate Port, a Century 21 Alliance office dedicated to helping buyers. We will fill out your preRealtor and author of the qualification financing forms, get you the right financing, website YoungHomeBuyers. com. “Now, more than ever, find your dream home, negotiate the best deal & hand you this wave of young buyers is the keys to your new home after closing. We’ll even be there extremely conscious of location. to manage your property if you decide to leave or travel. Best “They are witnessing of all, we serve as your buyer’s broker for free — sales firsthand how difficult it can commissions are generally paid by the seller. be to resell a home in a bad market,” he says. “The savvy buyer wants to be sure that if Fairbanks’ Most Experienced Brokerage Specializing in Buyer Assistance they decide to resell the home in the next five to seven years, Commissions Generally Paid by the Seller they won’t struggle because of 456-3401 Bus. • 457-1167 hm • 460-7905 Cell • 456-1352 Fax the location.” • Since so many young buyers are starting families, they




Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Realtors will fall in to your real estate needs! Meyeres Real Estate Audrey has been helping Fairbanksans buy and sell real estate for over 35 years. She is the Broker of Meyeres Real Estate which was founded by Bud Meyeres in 1950.


Audrey J. Foldoe EMC Realty, Inc. Eileen has lived in Fairbanks for over 30 years. Graduated from UAF, raised children in Fairbanks schools and has volunteered on many local boards. She earned a Certified Residential Specialist Accreditation (CRS), Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). or call her at 378-1864

Dedicated to serving you! Riverview Realty/States Real Estate Specializing in residential sales, Patty has lived in the Fairbanks area for over 40 years. She is very familiar with Fairbanks and North Pole real estate market trends and construction techniques. Patty will be happy to assist both buyers & sellers with all their real estate needs.

Broker/Owner of Fortune Properties of Fairbanks calling Alaska home for over 35 years and assisting the Fairbanks community and surrounding area with their real estate needs for over 25 years.

Call Janet at 456-4725

Grace Moore knows the community well and enjoys helping people buy or sell homes. She is an Accredited Buyers Representative and a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Grace works with first-time home buyers, military clients, Seniors & seasoned homeowners. Grace will give you her best.

Cameron Harter, Associate Broker and Top Producer. Born and raised in Fairbanks. Graduate of Washington State University. 12+ years of Real Estate experience. Call me for quality service and a successful closing.

When you’re ready to buy or sell Real Estate, call Ginger at 452-8000 or visit

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As a Top Producer in the North Pole/Fairbanks area, I work hard to make the home buying and selling experience enjoyable and stress-free. Specializing in single family sales, first time home buyers, and new construction.

Associate Broker/Realtor living in Fairbanks over 40 years. I have 20 years experience in land development, new residential construction, remodeling, interior decorating and property management. My first priority is to meet the needs of my clients. For all your real estate needs, call me.

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Jerrie Wagner

Mike VanSickle

Grace Minder Realty, Inc. Honesty, Integrity, Enthusiasm! Grace is amazing! Mother of 3, active in the community. Top producing Agent & Broker. Born & raised in Fairbanks! 2007 Affiliate Realtor of the Year! 1st Class Service every time, “Your Home Town Realtor”

Team Macchione~Coldwell Banker Gold Country “If you want it sold well… Call Team Macchione at Coldwell” 750-3093 978-5985


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Somers & Associates, REALTORS

Somers & Associates, REALTORS

“Exceeding Expectations!” I don’t list an exceptional number of homes, just a number of exceptional ones! Realtor for 20+ years. UAF graduate.

Committed to excellence in both residential and commercial real estate. Dave is a consistent top producer and believes in satisfied and fullyinformed clients.

Call Judy at 388-7654

Call Dave at 388-7653

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Judy Somers

Somers & Associates, REALTORS Sellers – We just don’t put a sign in the yard – We use the Multiple Listing Service that uploads your homes for millions to view!! Buyers – M-F 9 to 5 is not going to find you a house – we give you our cell numbers to call anytime! With over 20 years of combined local service – we work for YOU!!

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Janet Shafer Somers & Associates, REALTORS

Crown Real Estate AK, Inc. Serving Alaska for 18 years, Ginger is a local expert in the real estate industry. A past President of GFBR board of Realtors, multimillion dollar producer and recipient of the DNM people’s choice award, Ginger is well known for her hard work, professionalism and attention to detail.

For dedicated and professional service, call Patty today at 750-0606!

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Homes and Real Estate

Friday, September 21, 2012

RE/MAX Associates of Fairbanks Gene is the #1 Listing and Selling Realtor at RE/MAX of Fairbanks & one of the Top Realtors in Alaska. For experience, integrity and results, put Gene and his team to work for YOU!


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452-4363 • • •

Heather is at home in the industry of Real Estate and at home in our community. She is both a well-respected Realtor and a tireless advocate for education and children’s issues. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the residential field, and a stand-out level of dedication to running a great real estate practice.

Call Heather at 460-6470

Heather Lambert Somers & Associates, REALTORS Darren is a hard-working REALTOR at Somers & Associates with strong communication skills and an eye for design. He works as Somers & Associates lead property manager, where his dedication and strong work ethic keep his many clients satisfied.

Call Darren Quigley at 322-6932

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Rich Kelley Realty Realtor Since 1985!, Call Rich at 452-7424

Rich Kelley Century 21 Gold Rush Zeb is a lifelong resident of and Top Producer in the Fairbanks and North Pole areas. He is also a Certified Residential Specialist and Accredit Buyer Representative. Whether buying or selling you can expect full service professionalism, honesty, and integrity. Zeb is ready to assist you!

Call Zeb at 388-6348 email:


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REMAX Associates of Fairbanks Ryan Danhauser, Associate Broker for RE/ MAX, has a background in education, lending and Real Estate. He is the past President of the Greater Fairbanks Board of Realtors. He is an Accredited Buyer Specialist, Certified Residential Specialist and loves Thai Food.

Broker/Owner, Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative, Realtor since 1996. Clients say, “Trustworthy, professional, dedicated, knowledgeable and considerate.”

Call Ryan at 978-2607 Call Sally at 347-8486

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Stars & Stripes Realty Rich Harter

Rich is a long time resident of North Pole & a Top Producing Realtor for 2010 & 2011. He is a business owner who has achieved successful goals. He specializes in Residential & Military & represents both buyers & sellers. For quality service you can trust, contact Rich.

Call Rich at 322-5888

Sally Atwood

Somers & Associates, REALTORS Proven Results, Local Expertise, National Exposure!

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David was born and raised in Fairbanks and has 30 years of real estate experience in the interior. David received a bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in Business Administration with a concentration in Real Estate and Finance. David is a licensed real estate instructor with the State of Alaska. David was on the FNSB Board of Equalization for 8 years and is presently a 5 year member of the Borough Planning Commission. David specializes in commercial, investment, residential properties and commercial leases and finding the right financing package for the purchase.

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Somers & Associates, REALTORS

Call Angie at 347-3622 or 456-7653 x 101

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I provide a positive, experienced, and energetic approach to achieving your real estate goals. I look forward to providing you excellence in Real Estate through one of the top local brokers in Fairbanks!

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Chris is a decorated Vietnam Veteran who retired as Colonel in the U.S. Army after 23 years service. In 1998, he started Fairbanks’ first exclusive buyers’ brokerage. He will take care of your most important investment and negotiate the best deal for you.

Kelli has been a full time Realtor for 10 years. She is a top producer in the Fairbanks & North Pole area. Kelli was born & raised in Fairbanks & has extensive knowledge of the area! Kelli is reliable, courteous, dependable & available to help with all your real estate needs! Call Chris at 456-3401

Call Kelli at 322-1998

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Angie has over a decade of Bank Owned Property experience as well as Residential, Land, Commercial Real Estate and Property Management. GFBR President Elect, YPN Chair, and has served the real estate community on various other committees - Angie is also your 2011 REALTOR of the YEAR and 2011 AFFILIATES REALTOR of the YEAR. Angie loves Real Estate and helping others make a transition to home ownership!

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Somers & Associates, REALTORS

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Somers & Associates, REALTORS

Stepovich Realty Broker/Owner, Success = Mother of 4, married 27 years, college degree, 30 years experience in interior design, 15 years as a Realtor. Owner of “White Palms” Furniture and Design. This lifelong Alaskan is helping make dreams a reality. I look forward to serving you in all your interior design or real estate needs.

Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Wes Madden Owner/Broker

Stacy Risner

Director of Operations/ Associate Broker

Jewel Addison Buyer Specialist

Charles “Chick� Wallace

Laura Wells

Associate Broker

Director of Marketing

Rocky Harrigan

Listing Coordinator

Jackie Wallick

Buyer Specialist

Harry Schikora

Joel Johnson Listing Specialist/ Associate Broker

Christina Barron

Marcia Madden

Director of First Impressions

Mike Maynard Listing Specialist

Buyer Specialist

Paul Theriault

Ashlee Whitworth

Director of First Impressions

Listing Coordinator

Brandon Phillips

Charlie Rogers

Jenn Shipman

Megan Quan

Client Care Coordinator

Field Coordinator

Transaction Coordinator

Buyer Specialist

Client Care Coordinator

Randi Wells

Tammy Enochs

Efren Larranaga

Joyce Spencer

Jessica Preston

Samara Steele

Transaction Coordinator

Office Manager Madden Management

Cassie Springer

Buyer Specialist

Buyer Specialist

Buyer Specialist

Listing Specialist

Buyer Specialist

Kristen Wolletz

Charlotte Moore

Property Manager Madden Management

Property Manager Madden Management

Billy Blackburn

Buyer Specialist

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homes and Real Estate


“I’ve just sold my home and it took me about a year and a half, but I don’t have the Realtor right in my backyard that you do. Wes Madden is the guy I’m talking about. I can tell you his marketing plan is in a whole different league than the average agent. He spends thousands of dollars every month to attract hundreds of buyers, which means selling homes fast and for the most money.” – Glenn Beck


Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Unsteady ground, unstable architecture make a bad buy roundings, too. “The main thing outside is drainage,” says Watkins. “The The housing market may slope of the yard should be have been a little unsteady going away from the house, in recent years, but the real so when it rains, water goes estate industry is reviving. away from the house.” Buyers need to be sure the Inside a home, check out properties they’re considerwindows, doors and flooring ing are good deals on steady for signs of defects. ground. “Door jams are a good indicator if they’re not square,” says Rob Ernst, the owner, Even if a house looks great inspector and energy auditor for Certified Structure Inspecfrom the curb, lots of trouble tor. “Look for doors that rub spots may be lurking in and or have been trimmed.” around the home. Stairs and railings should “Look for cracked bricks on be secure. Make sure walls the outside,” says Kelly Wataren’t leaning and flooring kins, broker associate with isn’t uneven. Often floors J.P. Weigand and Sons Inc. appear to be OK, but in real“That’s always a red flag.” ity, they feel uneven. Check the property’s surBy KRISTEN CASTILLO

Red flags

Potential problems can be all around the home. “It’s important to look beyond eye level,” says Ernst, who is licensed by the National Association of Home Inspectors Inc., a nonprofit for certified and licensed home inspectors. “Look up and look down.” Look up, and you may find, for example, spots on the walls and ceilings, which are signs of water damage.

Get an inspection Though homes “settle” over time, typically that settling won’t result in major defects. So what’s a big deal, and what’s nothing to worry about? That’s often tough for homebuyers to decide and is at least one reason why many buyers hire an independent home inspector. “Most people realize this is the biggest investment of their life,” says Marv Goldstein, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, a professional society of

home inspectors, which has 5,000 members. He estimates that about 70 percent of homebuyers hire an inspector. “You’re really gambling with your financial future if you don’t get a home inspection,” Goldstein says. Inspectors check out a home’s plumbing, heating, roofing, grading and structural soundness, and look for wet basements. Remember that inspectors can only inspect; they can’t do any repair work or recommend anyone to make the suggested fixes. They also can’t tell you whether or not to buy the property. “There are so many little things that can be left undone,” says Watkins, who recommends getting inspections done on old and new homes. “Make sure something hasn’t been missed.” Many buyers also have their insurance agent visit the property to decide whether it’s insurable as-is or needs any repairs before it can be insured.

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Hire your own inspector. Going with a seller’s inspector or their agent’s “preferred” inspector could result in a conflict of interest. You want to be the inspector’s main priority. Generally, inspections happen within a week to 10 days of the offer to purchase a home. The reports are usually prepared within 24 to 48 hours after the inspection. Prices for home inspections differ all over the country, but the range is from $300 to $600. Though most inspections take about two to three hours, they can last longer depending on the size of the home and the surrounding property. If an inspection reveals problems — for example, a bad roof — the buyers have the choice to walk away from the prospective deal or to negotiate with the seller to lower the asking price or fix some or all of the problems. The good news? “Most everything is fixable,” says Watkins.


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It’s also a good idea for buyers to attend the inspection to see what’s normal and abnormal, as well as to find out any nuances of the home.

Homes and Real Estate

Friday, September 21, 2012

15 photo courtesy of Houses Tri-Cities

Sell your neighborhood

Share what the neighborhood has to offer.

Your house isn’t the only selling point By SHARON NAYLOR With so many other properties on the market, you can make your listed home stand out — and improve your odds of bids — by “selling” your neighborhood as well. After all, the living experience extends beyond your property lines as buyers look for the proximity of parks and playgrounds, restaurants and even medical facilities. They want to live in an enjoyable, convenient, and safe area filled with friendly neighbors who will create a terrific community for them and for their children. You won’t be able to talk with potential buyers at an open house, but you can convey the strengths of the neighborhood in several effective ways: • Include neighborhood details in your home listing, and go beyond ‘the usuals,’

such as the names of schools in the area. • Prepare an “About Our Neighborhood” document that lists enticing attractions. Your real estate agent can set copies of this document out with the official listing document at your open house for potential buyers to read and take home with them. • Ask your agent about “Find a Neighborhood,” which is a tool on the National Association of Realtors’ website, listing in-depth details of your surrounding area. Some features of this tool include community history, such as historical landmarks and popular festivals that take place in your town; the demographics of your neighbors by age; weather patterns; school rankings; and awards won by your town, such as “Best Of” in your county. refers to a neighborhood’s “hip factor” and mentions

such attractive details as “distance to major sports franchises.” A buyer may see a very enjoyable social schedule in his or her future. When writing up your list of neighborhood perks, be sure to include the following: • Nearby parks and playgrounds. Young families with kids — and newlyweds soon to have children — will like the idea of being able to walk or bike to quality parks and play areas. A new trend in the park topic is the mention of dog parks, so if you have a quality one near you, add it to your list. • Nearby town activities that are inexpensive. This

includes community pools and golf courses. • Neighborhood friendliness. On your printout, mention the fact that the neighborhood hosts a block party every summer, that the neighborhood ladies have a book club or organic vegetable co-op from a local family farm, and that your wonderful next-door neighbors take in your mail while you’re away. Mention that your neighbors are quiet, if that is true, because loud neighbors who host parties every weekend are a turnoff to buyers. • Neighborhood safety. Write about the great neighborhood watch system, as

well as how the township sends out emails to alert residents to any potential risks in the area. No town is 100 percent safe from crime, so if there have been car breakins on the other side of town, you’re better protected from being victimized with the warning to remove your GPS from your car and lock up. “I also added that our town is excellent at snowplowing and salting the roads,” says home seller Elizabeth Curry. “You never know what kind of trouble buyers had at their former residences with that kind of Please see NEIGHBORHOOD, Page 17

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Homes and Real Estate


NEIGHBORHOOD: Details Continued from Page 15

thing.” • Nearby transportation. If you live outside of a metropolitan area, mention how easy it is to hop a train just a few blocks away, to take visitors into the city, or how short your commute is. • Availability of neighborhood baby sitters. This registers with buyers who have children, especially when you say you can provide a list of accredited sitters. • Free fitness attractions. Mention hiking and biking paths, trails, public tennis and basketball courts, and other attractions for those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle. “I added the fact that the church in town offers $10 Zumba classes on Thursday nights,” says home seller Kayla Chiles. “It’s some-

thing I really enjoyed, and takes the guesswork out of a new homeowner’s search for affordable fitness classes.” • Holiday cheer. Write about how festive the neighborhood is during the holidays, with homes decorated, kids having sledding parties, progressive holiday parties for adults, and more. When you portray your neighborhood as a fun place to live, new residents will get excited about making new friends. It’s these experiential details that can elevate your home above a competitive house in your town. When their listing only supplies the basics, yours stands out in comparison. And potential buyers will be able to tell in photo courtesy of Jack Newcombe your write-up how much you The amenities in your neighborhood can be equally important as the amenities loved living in your home and in your home. enjoyed your neighborhood.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Words that sell Get involved in writing your home’s listing ally no effect on a listing’s success. The words “motivated” and “must sell” actually hurt A well-written listing can a home’s sale, slowing it down elevate your home above com- by 30 percent. peting properties, enticing Here are your guidelines to buyer interest and well-priced participating in your home’s bids. Though you could leave listing so you can ensure that the writing of your home’s you have the perfect wording listing to your real estate to boost your home’s selling agent, it’s wise to get involved, price as quickly as possible: offering to spruce up your 1) Speak to your real estate home’s description with some agent as soon as possible, idekey words and descriptions. ally upon first meeting, so that A quality real estate agent he or she knows of your wishes will welcome your input, and to help write the listing. together you’ll craft a listing 2) Learn the magic words that stands out. and phrases of the industry. According to a study by Jim Remley, author of “Selling the University of Windsor Your Home in Any Market,” and researchers from Canada says to avoid the terms “fixerMortgage and Housing, certain upper” and “needs sweat phrasings can affect home sale equity,” which can turn off a prices and the amount of time buyer who would rather buy it takes to close on a listing. a property in move-in condiFor instance, listings with tion. The magic word for such the words “beautiful” or “gor- a ready-to-move-in property is geous” sold a home 15 percent “turnkey.” faster than listings without Avoiding words that make those descriptions, and often prospective buyers fear a at a higher price. Landscaping future of expensive fixes is references landed sales 20 per- wise, unless your home is actucent more quickly. In contrast, ally a “teardown” in disrepair the term “must-see” had virtu- and your target market is By SHARON NAYLOR

developers looking for property to demolish and rebuild. “Cozy” makes a buyer think rooms are small, even if you’re describing your roomy master bedroom. The wrong descriptive that’s considered a negative buzzword will hurt your home in the market. 3) Brainstorm what’s new. While the listing itself describes all rooms by dimensions, as well as the presence of central air, a fireplace and other facts about your home’s attractions, add in the comments or description section such attention-getters as “new fireplace in the master bedroom” or “new bamboo flooring in the den and bedrooms.” If you’ve chosen eco-friendly paint for your home, add “VOC-free paint in all rooms,” which will please buyers who value green living. What else is new within the past several years? New lighting fixtures? New landscaping and stonework in the spacious backyard? Add those selling details to your listing. 4) Make lifestyle and entertainment a focus. Again, the

Add description to your listing for improved sale prices. dimensions of your living room and dining room don’t get a buyer imagining what it would be like hosting holiday dinners there. So add “ideal entertaining space for more than 70 guests, with indoor and outdoor celebration areas, including French doors opening out to our new stone terrace and built-in Weber grill and wet bar.” Buyers will then imagine their 70 guests enjoying margaritas and filet mignons on that terrace. 5) Play up comfort. No one knows your home like you do, so mention your Energy Star windows and new insulation, creating a warm home in winter and cool home in summer. When you convey how buyers would feel in your home, your listing again rises above the

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competition. 6) Describe organizing space. If your closets feature professionally designed organizing systems, make that a must in your listing. Mention that your basement, garage and attic provide organizing areas, and your kitchen pantries have been designed by a professional for optimal order. 7) Note your permits. Buyers want to be sure your fixes and additions have been done to code, so note if each of your indoor and outdoor features were completed with permits, by reputable professionals. The buyer will see that you operated with integrity and that you cared enough to hire experts for your home projects. 8) Show luxury. The National Bureau of Economic Research says that homes listed with specifics such as “granite” kitchen counters and “maple” closets tend to garner higher home sales. Think like your buyer. Which words say “luxury”? A spa-style master bathroom? 9) Seek truth. Everything in a home listing must be truthful, so if your floor is actually a softwood such as fir, do not list it as hardwood, even if you refer to it as such in conversation. A large closet described as a walk-in when it is not is a misleading element. 10) Avoid vague descriptions. “Contemporary” might not mean the same to a buyer as it does to you. In addition to your descriptions, take at least a dozen well-lit, high-resolution photos of your home’s details, including indoor and outdoor spaces, for inclusion in your media gallery.

Homes and Real Estate

Friday, September 21, 2012


Fall is the perfect time to tune up your garage By ELLEN GIBSON For The Associated Press

Garages often hold hedge trimmers, table saws, toxic chemicals and other dangerFor many families, the end ous items alongside children’s of summer means it’s time to scooters and bikes. put away the inflatable kidAn overstuffed garage die pools, camping equipment puts your vehicles at risk, and gardening tools for the too. When the car door can’t season. swing open without hitting a If you plan to shove this wheelbarrow or workbench, gear into arbitrary piles it gets dented and dinged. around the edge of the Monica Ricci, a professional garage, you’re not alone: organizer who makes appearMany Americans say the ances on the HGTV show garage is the most disorga“Mission: Organization,” says nized room in their home, that in many homes, garages according to the Internaare so filled with clutter they tional Association of Business stop serving their main purOrganizing. pose. But a messy garage is not “When your garage is too just unsightly, it can cost you full to park a car in, that money. People with cluttered expensive piece of machingarages tend to waste time ery sits out in the elements searching for misplaced items every day and night while and end up re-buying things your clutter stays cozy and they already own, says Erica dry inside,” Ricci says. “What Ecker, a professional orgakind of sense does that nizer in New York City. make?” They also risk injury. Whether your garage is

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slightly disheveled or looks more like an overstuffed storage unit, the changeover to fall is an ideal time to give it a tune-up using these steps from organizational experts:

Prepare Tackling a junk-filled garage is physically demanding. Ecker advises pacing yourself and setting a schedule in advance. Consider renting an outdoor storage container so your belongings aren’t sitting in the driveway or in the house for a month while you finish reorganizing the garage. Enlist help. If you can’t afford a professional organizer, recruit relatives or offer to swap labor with a friend who is planning a similar household project. An assistant can

help you move heavy objects, keep you motivated and ask objective questions (“Do you really use that?”), says Ellen Kutner, who runs the company Simply Organized in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Empty and sort Empty the contents of the garage out into the driveway and begin sorting it into piles, grouping like things together. Categories will vary by household, but you may start with Sporting Equipment, Tools, Hardware, Car Care, Lawn Care, Seasonal, Toys and Household Goods.

Purge The next step — paring down your stuff — is the most important. First, toss anything broken or expired.

Return borrowed items to their owners. If you own multiples of something, donate the duplicates or sell them. Analyze how often things get used. “Too often the garage can be like a time capsule,” Ricci says. Are you storing camping equipment from when your college-age kids were Cub Scouts? Time to get rid of it. Find ways to downsize bulky items. For example, Ecker says, rather than storing mostly-empty paint cans for future touch-up jobs, keep a mason jar-size container of each leftover paint, labeled with the brand, color name and finish. “Being organized is not about being neat and tidy, it’s about limits and boundaries,” Kutner says. Please see GARAGE, Page 23

Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Five unexpected turnoffs at an open house By SHARON NAYLOR When prospective buyers tour your home, they’re not just looking at the beauty of your layout and decor but also experiencing your home inside and out. They’re assessing how your space feels, how it smells and whether they can envision raising children in the home, hosting holiday dinners in the dining room and entertaining in the backyard. With so many thoughts racing through potential buyers’ minds, it’s important to avoid the five unexpected things that can turn them off and also learn how to eliminate them. 1) Sloppy paint edges. Buyers who want a move-in-ready home may notice where your wall paint meets your molding or your white ceiling. If they see uneven paint lines, drips, paint on the molding, or the telltale dark spots of touchups you’ve done yourself, red flags photo courtesy of AOL

Make sure your spaces are clear and uncluttered. might go off in their minds. They think, “This owner cut corners on the paint job, so where else did they ‘cheap

out’ and perform sloppy fixes?” How to eliminate the turnoff: Inspect every inch

of your paint lines with careful attention to both ceiling and floor moldings. Touch up the whites of your moldings

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ultra carefully, and consider repainting a room that has sloppy edges. 2) Too much stuff. “Especially in an age of HGTV and home design shows, homebuyers expect a tidy, organized and pleasing home,” says Realtor George Jamieson. If your shelving units contain hundreds of books in all different sizes and colors, collections of keepsakes and family photos, buyers may see this as your space, not one that could be theirs. Cluttered shelves and kids’ rooms also look smaller, which buyers dislike. How to eliminate the turnoff: Jamieson says that an experienced real estate agent can review your space with a careful eye for shelving units, mantels and other areas that look fine to you but would appear to buyers as holding too much stuff. Go through each display space and move the majority of your personal items into matching, lidded storage bins that can be moved and arranged — in an organized manner — in your attic or basement. Be sure to de-clutter your kitchen counter and island, removing decor items, to present a more spacious and visually pleasing area. 3) Dead or suffering plants. Buyers who plan to have plants in their home immediately assume the fault lies in a lack of natural sunlight and perhaps they may suspect dry air or hard water in your home. How to eliminate the turnoff: Remove dead or suffering plants, and replace them with fresh, new, healthy ones. Or simply remove your battling plants from your home altogether, perhaps bringing them to your office or to a relative’s home. 4) Bad scents. Buyers will do an immediate about-face if they smell cigarette or cigar smoke, pet odors, or a musty smell. Surprisingly, overpowering air-scenting sprays or strong-scented candles also turn off buyers, who suspect them as a “masking trick,” covering up an odor issue in Please see TIPS, Page 21

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homes and Real Estate

TIPS: Clean, uncluttered to stick around for showings and open houses is one big your home. way to turn off home buyers. How to eliminate the It’s hard for homebuyers to turnoff: Months before the relax when you, the seller, open house, have the carpets are there. It can turn off in your home professionally homebuyers when their first cleaned (and expert carpet impression is to be guarded. cleaners will also treat some You want potential homebuycouch materials). Forbid any ers to feel free to explore and smoking in your home, and consider the possibilities of switch to scent-eliminating living in the house, and it’s cat box filler; also, change the hard to do that when the curlitter box more often than rent homeowner is standing usual. by,” says Jamieson. Ask an honest friend to How to eliminate the turncome into your home for a off: Leave your home during “sniff test” and report on any unpleasant odors in all spaces, your open house, and trust including inside closets (which your agent to run the event successfully. may require simple cedar Additional turnoffs: anyhangers), in the basement, in thing fixed with duct tape, kids’ rooms, and especially stained toilet bowls, rust in teens’ rooms. You may be rings around sink drains, used to the scents of your items stuffed under the beds home; your friend should be or thrown into closets (Buybrutally honest, it’s in your ers will look!) and anything interest. Two other crucial areas to de-scent: inside your in your medicine cabinet that would be embarrassing for refrigerator and inside your microwave, which buyers will your relatives to see. These are easy fixes to make with open and check out. just a bit of extra effort, and 5) Your being there. “Of these solutions could lead to course, home sellers are interested in how homebuythe offer you’ve been waiting ers react to their house but for. Continued from Page 20


Homes and Real Estate


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Create a home that will sell Five easy $100 fixes to complete before you have an open house By SHARON NAYLOR photo courtesy of Devin Allphin

It’s the little things that add up when having an open house.

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pull it down.” According to Weintraub, major improvements such As you look forward to as room additions or total your open house and wowing replacements of your kitchen potential buyers, you might and bath rarely pay off fully be tempted to make some in the near term, and are improvements to your home. unlikely to return their full But before you order new cost if the house is sold within marble countertops or remod- two or three years. Instead, el your master bathroom, take “small and relatively inexpennote of this warning from sive changes can pay off in a Elizabeth Weintraub, broker big way, making your home associate with Lyon Real attractive to buyers if your Estate: “Probably the most decision is to move now.” basic rule of all is that you In addition to the big facshould never — unless you tors of comparative pricing absolutely don’t care at all and return on large-budget about eventual resale value home improvement projects — improve a house to the is the reality that you may point where its desired sales not have an extra $20,000 price would be more than 20 lying around with which to percent higher than the most undertake a major remodel expensive of the other houses before your open house. The in the immediate neighborgood news: You can boost hood. If you try to raise the your home’s ability to impress value of your house too high, at an open house with just a surrounding properties will $100 investment per small improvement. Here are some easy-to-complete, stress-free and impression-making improvements that you can plan for your open house’s optimal success: 1) Replace a lighting fixture in your kitchen or bathVisit us at the Winter Show at the Carlson Center room, putting in a more modern design that provides more flattering illumination. “My father-in-law taught 455-7722 me how to change a light 2081 Van Horn Rd. #4 fixture and do the wiring in (Across the street from Northern Power Sports) just one afternoon,” says new homeowner Joseph Torres. If you don’t have a relative or friend with experience in light installation, your local Home Depot or Lowe’s store may offer a free class on the do’s and don’ts of light fixture installing. Call your store to inquire about their seminar • Free Consultations & On-site schedule, and request one on Quotes lighting if they don’t already have a class planned. Real • References estate website HomeGain says • Licensed, Bonded & Insured lighting fixes provide an 865 • Premium Grade Materials Used percent average return on investment. • Professional Services & Results 2) Replace all of the light• All sizes of Projects ing switch wallplates in your home. Upgrade to a style such

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Please see FIXES, Page 23

Friday, September 21, 2012

FIXES: Inexpensive

Homes and Real Estate


GARAGE: Clean, sort, organize

Spruce up

Build upward


Chimney Service

add vertical storage and get things off the floor. Clear bins are best so you can see what’s inside. Ecker recommends the ELFA system sold by The Container Store, saying it’s easy to install and adjust. If you’re feeling less ambitious, the snap-together plastic shelves sold at any big-box store work fine. Use hooks to hang ladders, bikes, shovels and rakes. Mount pegboard on the wall to keep tools out of kids’ reach, and put dangerous substances like pesticides on high shelves. The garage ceiling is underutilized, Ricci says, but with a ceiling storage system such as Hy-Loft, Racor Hydraulics Lifts or Onrax, you can stash stuff you only access once or twice a year, such as sleds or cushions for outdoor furniture. If you do woodworking or crafts, metro shelving on

wheels gives you the flexibility to move supplies into the center of the garage or driveway. Ecker recommends the Uline brand.

Label everything Label containers using a Sharpie or other permanent method. Be sure to label the container, not the shelf, so when bins get moved, items are still put in the correct place, Long says.

Maintain An organizing project is only as good as its upkeep, Kutner says. Just as you take the car in for an oil change every 5,000 miles, when you start to see clutter accumulating, it’s time to do garage maintenance. If you buy something new, something else has to go. When you take an item out to use it, put it away immediately after you’re done.


Fall is the time for • Kitchen & bath remodels • Window & door replacement

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Continued from Page 19 cent average return on investment. as modern brushed nickel, “You don’t need to stock 5) Set out fresh bathroom create a uniform style from everything you might one linens. Use that $100 to buy room to room on the first day need. That’s why there matching, plush towels in spafloor, and choose wallplates are stores.” style neutral colors such as that coordinate with your beige — not in colors the buybedrooms’ styles. This task er might not like, such as red can be completed for less than or purple — and display those While the garage is bare, $40, depending on the numgive it a thorough cleaning. on towel racks, with matchber of light switches in your Kristin Long, who owns the ing hand towels and washhome. company The Organizational cloths set on the vanity. Add 3) Clean all of your winSpecialists, recommends a matching-shade new shower dows, inside and out, on adding durable floor tiles or curtain and matching, fluffy an overcast day to prevent a fresh coat of paint. Maknew bathroom rugs to help streaking, and remove all ing the garage more visually guests envision this space as a window screens to give them appealing will inspire you to relaxing, spa-like oasis. a good cleaning with a gentle keep it tidy. While you’re at A simple task that costs brush and soapy water before less than $100 can change the it, wipe down all the warmrinsing and rehanging. Vacweather gear that is going look and feel of a room, and uum and wipe clean inside to get stashed for the next small touches such as those each windowsill, including the wallplates impress buyers who eight months. tracks, and spray tracks with walk in with an eagle eye for lubricant such as WD-40 for the little details. “A good brosmoother, soundless operaLook at what’s left and ker can help you decide which tion. figure out where it will live expenditures make sense and At your open house, in the garage, placing the which don’t and can save you potential buyers like to see most frequently used stuff a lot of money in the process,” new-looking windows that in the most accessible locasays Weintraub. allow plenty of light into each tions. Install shelving to room. Pristine, clear windows impress, and all for less than $25 in cleaning supplies. A Help avoid a fire ... let’s clean your chimney. stager’s secret: Raise your shades or blinds all the way up to the top to allow a greater amount of light inside. 4) “Getting rid of dead trees and shrubs can have Wood-burning, oil fired, dryer vent flues, a very big and very positive and air duct cleaning. impact on prospective buyProfessionally cleaned and repaired. Licensed, certified & insured. ers,” says Weintraub. Pulling up dead, aged or unattractive Call for scheduling at 488-8944 shrubs is free when you do the work yourself, and it can take just $100 in nutrient-rich soil and new green or flowering shrubs or flower flats at a nursery or Home Depot or Lowe’s to present attractive curb appeal and a well-planted path to your front door. If your landscaping is fine, invest that $100 in fresh, new, healthy potted green plants for your indoor areas, plus a new “kitchen garden” planter full of herbs for your kitchen windowsill. “We wanted buyers to imagine themselves cooking in this kitchen,” says homeseller Estella McNulty. “For $27, we bought a lush herb planter, and for $60, we bought a halfdozen green plants for our home’s decor.” says landscaping fixes earn a 426 perContinued from Page 22


Homes and Real Estate

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

2012 Fall Homes and Real Estate  

Guide to buying and selling homes in Fairbanks, Alaska. Tips for fall home improvement.

2012 Fall Homes and Real Estate  

Guide to buying and selling homes in Fairbanks, Alaska. Tips for fall home improvement.