When you're shopping for a new Alaskan home, you'll want to research everything from the square footage to the property taxes to, perhaps the most important, the neighborhood. But when you're in such strange times as these where you might be sheltering in place, it's key to note you don't actually have to visit the area to do your due diligence.
There are several ways to research a neighborhood in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, or North Pole right from your own home!
Browse local social media
Use the power of social media to research a potential neighborhood when shopping for homes in Alaska. You can use apps like NextDoor, Facebook, or even dig into geo-specific hashtags or locations on Instagram, for instance, to look for activity and posts in a certain...
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 profile,...
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 is why...
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.
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:
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...
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...
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...
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 communities, Madden 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...
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...
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...
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...
As you're shopping for homes in Alaska, you're likely taking note of features like paint color, flooring, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and even yard size. These are all essential in determining whether a property is for you, but there are also a few others that should ultimately raise red flags and cause you to move on to the next home in your search.
With decades of experience in helping buyers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, North Pole, Palmer, Wasilla, and the surrounding areas find their dream homes, I have included three deal breakers below to ensure you're not purchasing an Alaskan home that will be a source of stress later.
Cosmetic elements like paint colors and flooring can easily be changed, but altering the floor plan of a home may not be in the cards— and may be extremely costly....
For homebuyers in Alaska this summer, saving for the down payment is one of the biggest hurdles in front of the finish line. In the past, we've shared how to start saving for the down payment, but you might be wondering where to keep the money.
Below are four options for risk-free accounts in which you can keep your down payment. You may sacrifice return, but you can be assured the money will be there when you need it to purchase your home in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, or the surrounding areas!
Online savings account
Compare online rates to determine which online savings account is best, but this may be the easiest option for moving around funds. You can track the money easily via online banking and set up transfers in a snap. You also don't need to worry about the bank not being open when you need to pull your down payment.
CD or Certificate...
With the rising costs of rent in Alaska, it is no longer a smart financial decision for area residents to choose renting over buying. Not to mention, mortgage rates are still historically low!
However, if this is your first time purchasing a home in Alaska, you need to be ready to assume the responsibility of homeownership. Here are four questions to ask yourself to determine if now is the right time for you to buy:
Can you afford the costs?
If you have been saving for a downpayment and other costs over the past few years, you'll be in great shape this summer. You should have enough to cover 20% of the home's purchase price to secure the best mortgage rate and avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI).
It is also wise to be prepared to pay closing costs which can typically range from 2 to 5% of the home's purchase price.
Can you afford the payment?...
Buying a home in Alaska is a process that ultimately ends with your closing. However, there can be some bumps along the way that cause the closing date to be pushed back.
Closing delays can be caused by both the Fairbanks or Anchorage area home seller and the homebuyer— but, don't be dismayed! There are steps you can take to ensure the process moves smoothly this summer:
Have your agent help
Once your property is under contract in the Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, Palmer, or North Pole area, your real estate agent can check in with all of the parties involved once (or more!) per week. An expert real estate agent can notice surprises or changes in the transaction and work ahead to prevent any delays.
Keep in touch with your lender
House-hunting can be a lot of fun for new buyers in the Alaska real estate market, but your judgement can also quickly get away from you. It is easy to focus more on features of the home rather than costs like upkeep and utilities and buyer's remorse can set in after you've signed on the dotted line.
But as your local real estate experts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and beyond, it is our priority to ensure buyer's remorse never crosses your mind! Madden Real Estate will work with you to determine your wants versus needs as well as what is realistic for you in terms of price and home size.
In the meantime, keep in mind the following four common sources of homebuyer's remorse, especially as you tour available properties in Anchorage, Chugiak, Fairbanks, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and beyond:
When it comes to buying a home in Alaska, you would be surprised by the number of potential buyers that sit back because they do not think they will qualify for a mortgage. However, the reality is that qualifying for a mortgage is simpler than you think and as a result, you are missing out on the many benefits of homeownership!
If you're sick of renting, given the increasing costs each year, and are ready to settle into a place of your own, now is the time! Don't allow yourself to put off homeownership any longer, just research the facts. Consider the following your checklist of what it takes to qualify for a mortgage:
1. A Down Payment
Did you know nearly half of all homebuyers...
Even if you've already made your homebuyer wish list—detailing everything you want in an Alaskan property from number of bedrooms to outdoor space—you may not have considered the age of the home itself. Should you choose a new construction home that includes the items on your wish list? Or should you go with an existing property in Alaska that you can make your own?
Before you begin house-hunting, you should be prepared to answer these questions and as your local real estate experts in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole and beyond, Madden Real Estate is including a few points below that can help you decide!
New Home Pros
- You'll be the first to live in the house.
- Appliances are brand-new and covered by warranties.
- Appliances, roofing and major household systems...
While we are only days into the new season, this spring is already projected as a stand-out period for first-time buyers to enter the real estate market. Mortgage rates are still historically low, home prices are rising in addition to rents and first-timers are ready to invest into something of their very own in Alaska.
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 to our experts at Madden Real Estate with any questions!
Look past cosmetic issues
Many first-time buyers in Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks,...
So, you think you want to buy a fixer upper home in Alaska? While your dreams of renovating a property may be driven by what you've seen on real estate or home improvement television shows, it's important to remember that the reality of updating a home from start to finish can be much more time-consuming, tedious, expensive, and drawn-out than you realize.
As your local real estate experts in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, North Pole, and beyond, I am sharing below three things to do before you commit to buying fixer upper homes in Alaska this year:
Research the location
Not only should you research the location of a home before purchasing, but also look into the zoning. What you may not know is that every community has zoning districts and restrictions surrounding what can and cannot be done to homes within their limits. You will want to take a close look at the zoning of your future ...