Mar 20, 2015

Colony Builders- Anchorage Alaska Home Builder Review!

I've had the pleasure of working with Colony Builders and in the past year I've had several friends inquire about how they can build a new construction home in Anchorage and how do they get started!  There are many ways to go about this but I'd highly suggest calling me and we will tour a model home so that I can schedule a meeting with a builder that you have seen a home they've built and you understand the quality of their work!

If I was to build a new home today, I'd choose to work with Colony.  No questions about it.  Bill Taylor is the builder and he is not a "production builder" like Spinell or Hultquist and I've seen the resale homes and their values several years after the original owner lists them for sale and I've been very impressed on how well they hold value and appreciate and how the homes still show beautifully where other newer homes show very worn out because of the low quality products used.  Also, I'm a huge fan of craftsman style homes and you'll see a lot of those details in the homes Colony has built! 

Tami Taylor is the listing agent and also co-owns One Of Kind Design where most of the interior selections are chosen for your new Colony Home and she's great to work with also.  I've found that Colony gives very generous allowances for your cabinetry, flooring, plumbing, lighting, etc. and that makes a huge difference in the end product of your home! A lot of builders you will find will nickle and dime you with upgrades that you pay out of pocket and you won't know that until you get into choosing your materials and then you may be tempted to pick low grade materials just so you don't go over budget.

Most people ask me if I'm allowed to represent them or do they just go to the builder.  I love representing new construction clients and I do my best to guide you through the process and bring up any items that you may not have thought about but should be discussed and negotiated prior to making an offer on your new home!  There are so many decisions from the lot you choose and how the house sits on the lot to the layout of the lot and what walls and fixtures can be moved to customize your home.  The great thing about purchasing from Colony Builders is that you qualify for a home just like you do a resale home so you don't have to go through the difficult process of obtaining construction financing.  If you'd like to know what builders I have been less than pleased with, feel free to call me at 907-317-1992 and I'm more than happy to discuss that with you! I'll even show you one of "those" homes and then take you to a Colony build and show you the difference. 

Currently Colony is building in Resolution Pointe and Brookwood in Anchorage and you can find more information about their floorplans at

A Sneak Preview of Our Listings!

We have 3 great listings coming on the market by April 1st!!  If you are a buyer or Realtor, please call me at 317-1992 and I will give you more information!

Downtown- $945,000
Over 4,000 square feet with a large mother in law apartment!  Huge lot, rare find!  In true downtown!

U-Med Area- Price to be determined
2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 car garage!

Lower Hillside off of Elmore and O'malley- $449,900
5 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, renovated throughout, real wood floors just installed, completely remodeled kitchen and baths!  Half acre level lot! Over 2100 sq. ft.

All 3 will have presale home inspections before they are posted on the MLS.

Visit us at for more featured listings!!

Mar 16, 2015

4 Safety Issues to Repair Today!

I sold a wonderful townhome recently in Anchorage and the inspection revealed 4 common safety issues that we see a lot lately!  These are definitely items that you should take care of now rather than waiting until you sell your home because they protect your family and tenants now.

1.  Safety barrier in front of your gas fired appliances.
The Muni now requires a steel post in front of gas appliances in the garage.  This post can be purchased at Central Plumbing and heating and is screwed into the cement garage floor.  The handout from the Muni can be found at this link:
2. GFCI protection in all outlets above counter tops.
Your refrigerator outlet should not be GFCI protected and protection to an outlet does mean each outlet should have a push button tester on it, in fact electricians suggest not having that many push button outlets!  More FAQ including GFCI protection can be found here:

3. Smoke detectors in each bedroom and hallway and not more than 10 years old.
You should test your detectors regularly as well as replace batteries once a year but if you twist off the detector and the manufacturing date on the back of it is 2005 or older, it's time to toss them and install new detectors.  Install the bedroom detectors within the first few feet in front of the door on the ceiling.  More FAQ including CO and smoke detectors can be found here:

4.  Sealing holes or missing sheetrock in the garage sheetrock.
By having holes in the sheetrock, it reduces the fire protection sheetrock gives you.  The pipes getting warm over the years deterioriates the sealant and will need fire caulking added from time to time!  Your sealant needs to be rated for the fire protection.  Check with a hardware store to  make sure you are getting the right kind.  The foamy orange caulking is NOT the right type and we tend to see that used a lot lately!

Make a trip to the hardware store this weekend and knock out these few projects in no time and keep your family safe! 

Mar 13, 2015

Top 10 Takeaways on Current Oil Price Environment

This week, Mark Edwards from Northrim Bank spoke on Understanding The Current Oil Price Environment.  In the end, he believes that it'll be a relatively FLAT year!

Here are my top 10 takeaways!

1.  Tourism should have a record year in Alaska!  The cruises are booked, hotel rooms reserved and
train tickets booked so we already know it's going to be a record breaker!

2.  We still have great job growth in retail and health care!  We are not solely dependent on the oil industry.

3.  40,000 people transition in and out of Alaska each year.

4.  We have a ton of oil still in Alaska so we are not running out of oil!

5.  Our subprime foreclosure rate is 2%...THE BEST IN THE NATION!!

6.  Alaska has not seen the huge fluctuations of unemployment like the rest of the nation for the last decade.

7.  Our new construction market is not meeting the current need.  Around 1983-84 we had 11,248 new building permits, last year we had 1,509.

8.  A $1 Billion cut in state spending is 2% of the $51 Billion economy.

9.  Alaska has sufficient savings to offset large current budget deficits.  Needed cuts in state operating and capital budgets will likely create a 2% drag on the economy in 2015.

10.  Both the state and the Federal EIA predict $70 oil next year.

Thanks again the Mark for a really great presentation!

House Spring Break Check List!

Despite the frigid temperatures, it is time to start thinking about getting your home ready for the spring!  Once the temperature warms up to 40 degrees, start knocking out these 3 items!

1. Clean your gutters and attach gutter extensions! 
Your extensions should extend at least 3 feet away from your home.  Often times at home inspections we'll find sellers have gutters.....that allow the water to drain directly down to one concentrated spot at their foundation wall!  Also, when your gutters are full of leaves, that's a pretty ineffective way to use a gutter:)

2.  Open up your crawl space vents!
It's time to let that crawl space breath!  Make sure you don't have anything blocking the vent, that you open them up, and if they are damaged that you replace them.

3.  Make sure your sump pump works!  
If you don't have a sump pump and don't need one, then lucky you! But many of our homes do and one thing we forget to do because it's out of sight in your crawl space is make sure the motor on the sump pump is working.  If it isn't, then your bucket will fill up with water and it's not going to pump the water out!  Also, make sure the water is pumping out and away from your home so the pipe should be at least 3 feet long! Otherwise the water will come right back into the crawlspace.  Your sump pump should be on a GFCI outlet also. For more information, read this handout on on Sump Pump Discharge Requirements,

A few other items you should consider taking care of is sweeping up all the loose gravel on your driveway so you don't slip and fall, and replace batteries in your smoke detectors!

Is Your Condo on the FHA Condo Approval List and AHFC List?

One of the first things we ask our buyers when we sit down for a buyer's consultation is what type of financing they'll be using to purchase their new home.  If they are a condo buyer, we are most curious if they'll be using an FHA loan and if they are using any of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's loan programs.  Why? Not all associations are approved for FHA or AHFC financing! If you bought your condo with one of those programs, it does not mean that today, it is still on that list.  If your condo does not have these approvals, it could affect the value because now there are less buyers that are able to purchase your condo because you've eliminated FHA and/or AHFC loan buyers!

What I find is that a lot of property management companies that take care of HOAs don't submit information as needed to keep those associations on the FHA and/or AHFC list. 

It's also important to remember that your association can fall of the FHA list for the following reasons:
-too many homeowners are delinquent in dues
-there are too many units in the HOA with an FHA loan on them
-the owner occupied/ tenant ratio is too high
-the association lacks the reserves to take care of major improvements

If your condo association is not on the approved list, it can take a few months for it to be put back on the list, however AHFC will likely take only about  a week!  If you are thinking of selling in the near future, then you need to take action now to check the approval status and request that your HOA submit their packages right away if they qualify to be approved! 

You can look up your association on the FHA list here and your AHFC approval here !  If you have any questions or need help looking up your association please call me, Brandi Croom, at 317-1992 or email me at