Madden Real Estate's Blog

The 5 Most-Viewed Alaska Real Estate Markets

Alaska home buyers have been actively viewing online listings in recent months, and certain zip codes are leading the pack in buyer interest. According to a national listing aggregator, the most popular Alaskan real estate markets for the first quarter of 2020 are:

  • 99705 North Pole
  • 99712 Fairbanks
  • 99709 Fairbanks
  • 99701 Fairbanks
  • 99518 Anchorage

The markets with the most online views also show the fastest pace of home sales! During the first few months of the year, homes in the most popular zip code area of 99705 spent a median of 43 days on market. The next most popular area in 99712 saw homes spending a median of 63 days on market.

For Alaska homeowners, there’s a couple of big takeaways from this info. First, the way your home...

Alaska Home Buyers Could Face Tougher Mortgage Requirements

Alaksa home buyers have the wind at their back when it comes to mortgage interest rates. According to industry surveys by Freddie Mac, interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage are hovering below 3.5%

The catch: mortgage lenders are feeling stingy these days. The bar for mortgage approvals has been set higher. Major lenders have announced credit score minimums of 680 to 700. Depending on the type of mortgage you're seeking, and the lender you're working with, the down payment requirements can be as high as 20%. Debt-to-income ratios also need to be lean and mean. 

Before applying for a mortgage, Alaska home buyers can do a lot to shore up their credit standing. This takes some time, but it's a worthwhile investment! The better your credit...

Credit Report Info for Alaska Home Buyers

If you plan to buy a home in Alaska this year, good credit will be important. Fortunately, the 3 major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - have made it easy to obtain your credit report. From now through April 2021, the bureaus are offering a free credit report, every week, for every American.

Please note, not every lender reports to every bureau. This leads to confusion, because your car loan may show up on one report, and your credit card, another. Lenders are aware of this, so they consider your credit behavior across the board. (Your overall credit score, or FICO score, is typically an average from all 3 bureaus.)

Your credit report is a history of your credit accounts, balances and payment habits. It includes a record of the addresses you've held and other personal info. The report isn't always error-free, which...

Real Estate Trends Changing as Alaskans Hunker Down

While Alaskans "hunker down" and observe social distancing, the real estate market is going to slow. With business disruptions having a domino effect on incomes and the economy, a number of buyers and sellers will likely wait things out.

For Alaskan home buyers moving forward with their plans, there are 3 emerging trends to be aware of:

1. Mortgage lenders are beefing up credit quality. Higher credit scores, larger down payments and low debt-to-income ratios are being sought. Jumbo mortgages are seeing higher cash reserve requirements. 

2. If sellers postpone their sales plans, home inventory could become very limited. As of early March 2020, the Anchorage area had just under 2 months of supply in price ranges under $350,000.

3. On the upside, mortgage interest rates should remain very low for a while. 

For ...

Easy Ways to Add Storage to Your Alaskan Home

Maybe you own an Alaskan home that's on the smaller side or you are getting a jump on your spring cleaning and organizing everything in sight, maybe you simply desire more storage options to hide your belongings— regardless of the reason, every homeowner could use a little more storage to keep things feeling neat and tidy.

With spring just around the corner and a little more time at home in our future, we've rounded up the following easy tips to add storage to your home in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and the surrounding areas. These are the perfect way to spring forward into the new season ahead and feel like you have a fresh start!

Storage Bed
The bedroom is the place where most homeowners desire storage. A place...

How to Go Green in Your Alaskan Home

Spring is nearly here and what better time to "green" your Alaskan home than now? It's actually easier than you think to turn your home into an eco paradise and you probably have all you need already on hand!

Make it a weekend project or go room by room this week to spring clean and spring green the property. What's more, when you're ready to sell, homebuyers in Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond will notice that your home is already up to "green" standards or on it's way!

Detox the Bedroom
An easy way to "green" your bedroom is to detox all of the linens and especially the curtains. You may wash your sheets and bed linens often, but how about your pillows? Cleaning your pillows will help keep toxins and dust mites at bay. You can also keep mold away in the bedroom by opening your curtains and shades...

What You Should Know Before Refinancing Your Alaskan Home

The idea of cutting your monthly mortgage payment down by refinancing your loan may sound intriguing to you as an Alaskan homeowner, but there is much more to consider before diving in. In fact, there are cases in which refinancing does not truly pay off for the homeowner. But don't worry! As your local real estate experts, you can count on Madden Real Estate to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Below are four factors to consider before making the decision to refinance your mortgage:

Refinancing is not free
Just as you likely paid some closing costs when you purchased your home in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and the surrounding areas, you will be required...

5 Alaska Real Estate Reality TV Myths

Since it's winter in Alaska, we're all staying indoors a little more and perhaps you're even watching a few real estate reality TV shows— we've all seen a few by now! As these shows grow in popularity, it's important to keep in mind that not everything you see on your screen is actually reality.

Much of what takes place is staged and filmed in a much shorter timeline and as your local real estate experts in Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond, we've included a much needed reality check for you below!

Myth: Buyers only choose from 3 homes
In nearly every reality TV show based on homebuyers, there are typically three homes toured before the buyer makes a decision and chooses one. While there may be a small percentage of buyers that truly buy one of the first few homes they see in Alaska, remember that the average homebuyers...

Top 3 Features Alaskan Home Buyers Want This Spring

Homebuyers will soon be out in droves as the busy spring real estate season gets underway in Alaska. If you've already taken the steps to list your property in Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, or beyond or are planning to sell soon, the next step involves highlighting your home's key features that buyers will love.

The following elements of your home may seem like nothing to you, but to buyers, they could be just what they are looking for— Don't be afraid to point them out!

Location
You've heard the phrase "location, location, location" before and it never holds more true than when assessing your home's value. Is your home located near restaurants, shopping and entertainment? Do you have an excellent commute time from your neighborhood? Buyers will want to...

Homebuyer Checklist: Documents You Will Need to Buy a Home in Alaska

When it comes to buying a home in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and the surrounding communities, many do not know what is actually involved. From how much of a down payment you need to your credit score, numerous would-be Alaska homebuyers hold off as they do not think they will qualify.

But that shouldn't stop you this year as Madden Real Estate will walk you through everything you need, including the factors mentioned above, and these 5 documents that will be necessary to move forward with your Alaskan home purchase:

Recent paychecks
When determining your ability to take on a mortgage, your Alaska mortgage lender will want to see proof of income. In most cases, your last two pay stubs will do the trick! In others, they may want as much as...

5 Money-Saving Tips for Alaska Buyers to Follow in the New Year

While we are only days away from the new year (and still much more winter ahead!), the upcoming spring season is always a stand-out period for first-time buyers to enter the real estate market.

Why? Mortgage rates are still low, home prices are rising in addition to rents, and first-timers are ready to invest into something of their very own in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond.

But when you are new to purchasing a home, you can overlook the many ways you can potentially save money in the process. Keep the following in mind as you house hunt this spring and as always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Look past cosmetic issues
Many first-time buyers in Alaska tour a home only to write it off because they didn't like the paint colors. Remember...

5 Things to Avoid That Will Turn Off Alaska Buyers

With the majority of buyers today starting their Alaskan home search online, it is important to wow them during this initial look. If Fairbanks or Anchorage area buyers see something they don't like just from flipping through listing photos, they are less likely to ever make it to the front door for a showing or visit an open house.

So how do you pique the interest of buyers in Alaska without turning them off? Below are five things you will want to avoid as a home seller in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and the surrounding areas:

Do not convert your garage
Keep in mind that a large number of buyers who will begin house hunting this spring are first-timers who are tired of renting, with others simply in the market for more space...

How to Stand Out as an Alaska Home Buyer

Temperatures may be dropping as we get closer to the official start of winter, but buyer activity is still picking up! The number of Alaska residents planning to buy a new home does not halt and go into hibernation during the winter, in fact buyers now look for homes all year long!

So with homebuyers in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, and North Pole flocking to local markets, how can you stand out? Grab a pen and paper and make yourself a checklist to ensure you're on the right track to buy a home in Alaska.

Here are a few tips to give you that homebuyer edge over the others during this time of year— and even into spring:

Clean Your Finances
After you deck the halls this holiday season, turn your attention to your finances. A seller doesn't know your financial situation,...

Breaking Down the Mortgage Process in Alaska

Buying a home in Alaska has many steps— from getting pre-approved to house hunting to beginning the mortgage process. And while finding your dream home may not be a quick and easy feat, the mortgage process can appear much scarier to some buyers.

As your real estate experts in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, and the surrounding communitiesMadden Real Estate looks forward to simplifying the real estate process for our clients, including the process of obtaining a mortgage!

Remember, your real estate agent can always recommend local Alaska finance and mortgage professionals to put you at ease!

What else do you need to know about the mortgage process? The following should help break it down and further calm your nerves about...

Protect Your Alaskan Home from Winter Weather

There's no doubt, the weather is frightful out there with temperatures steadily dropping. If you're stuck at home or freezing as you head outside each morning, you may be wondering if there are steps you can take to protect your home in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and the surrounding areas this winter, especially from the harsh cold temperatures.

And of course, there are! Whether you've just purchased this home as a first-time homebuyer or you're a long-time homeowner in Alaska, the following steps can help you protect your home before the winter taks a toll on the property.

Keep Your Pipes Warm
Winter weather can cause homes in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and the...

Common Reasons Alaskan Homeowners Overprice Their Homes

With home sales prices rising, many residents in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond have begun the process of listing their properties to take advantage of this time in the market. But one common disconnect between homeowners and their agents is the price at which they believe they should list the property.

The price homeowners have in mind is oftentimes not realistic for the local market and takes into account a variety of factors including their emotional ties to the home. Finding a comfortable price for you can be a major obstacle when selling your home and you may need to compromise— just take a look at these common reasons homeowners overprice their homes in Alaska:

You think your decor is the best
Naturally, ...

Top Tips for Selling Your Alaskan Home in the Fall

As you may have heard by now, the real estate market's supply of homes for sale is trending lower than it has been in past years. But does that mean you should shy away from listing your home in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, or the surrounding areas this fall? Absolutely not!

The real estate market could use your home and if you've been thinking about selling, below are the top tips for a successful sale during this time of year:

Clean up the yard
This time of year, the leaves have started to change and fall and may be cluttering up your yard. Take the time to rake all of the debris currently in your yard to make a nice impression on potential buyers who may drive by...

Alaska Home Buying Advice to Ignore This Year

While you are shopping for a home in Alaska this year, your friends and family will likely offer all kinds of tips and advice relating to the purchase— things they learned from their experience with home buying or information they've heard about the current Alaska real estate market.

But that doesn't mean you should follow every tip they give you; in fact, it is always best to consult your real estate agent with any questions you have.

As your local real estate experts in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond, Madden Real Estate has included four pieces of home buying advice NOT to follow this year to help steer you in the right direction and avoid any regrets later:

Wait until prices drop to buy a home
When...

Rules of Real Estate for Alaskan Homebuyers

Fall can still be a busy homebuying season for those in Alaska and with more sellers confident in listing their Alaskan homes, it's important to keep the real estate rules of the road in mind. Below are just a few real estate rules to remember, like using an experienced real estate agent, that should help you in your home search or sale this fall:

Don't Make an Offer Without Pre-Approval
Know what you can afford. This all starts with a pre-approval, meaning a lender has vetted your credit and financials and is willing to continue with the mortgage process. A pre-approval letter will tell the real estate agent and home seller how much you can afford in a home and the confidence that you are able to follow through on the purchase.

...

3 Things to Consider Before Moving to a Bigger Alaskan Home

With mortgage rates still hovering around historically low rates and home values rising, many Alaska homeowners are currently contemplating a move. Now is indeed the time to purchase a home with more storage space, more bedrooms, more overall square footage or even a home in a better neighborhood!

As your real estate experts in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond, Madden Real Estate is happy to help you find your bigger, better dream home, but there are just a few factors to consider in your decision to move up.

The right mortgage
When moving up in Alaska, the type of mortgage you obtain is crucial. An adjustable-rate mortgage may be for you if you're not planning on being in the home for an extended amount of time. Adjustable-rate mortgages...