April 2016

Found 8 blog entries for April 2016.

While our fondest wish for Alaska's dogs is that they all have a cozy spot indoors with their people, it's not one that can always come true. Of the three items dogs need most when they live outdoors (dry straw, water and love), according to Anchorage's Straw for Dogs, the straw provides warmth and comfort, the very least we can do for them, and is a far better choice than a blanket which ends ups soggy or frozen.

And, it's the least that Straw for Dogs does for them. The group's volunteers offer spay/neuter services, free advice for dog owners and sometimes even medical care if the owner can't afford it. At times, dogs are surrendered to the group so they offer a rehoming program for those as well.

As you can imagine, it takes time, money and

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Choices – it’s great to have them but challenging to narrow them down. Whether choosing between where to have dinner, which movie to see or something as important as where to live in Southcentral, making up your mind is sometimes quite difficult.

House hunting is either feast or famine: sometimes there are no homes that you like, other times, there may be too many that offer exactly what you want. So, how do you “say yes to one and let the other one ride,” as the Lovin’ Spoonful so aptly put it back in 1966? Here are some factors to consider when weighing one choice against the other.

Mortgage Costs and Financial Considerations

One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a home is assuming their monthly mortgage payment is the

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Anchorage, Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley are full of amazing homes located in what are known as managed or Common Interest Communities (CIC). If you’ve never purchased a home in a managed community (“managed” as in overseen by a homeowner association or HOA), you probably have no idea what will be included in the package of HOA documents the seller is responsible for providing you.

That’s ok, at this point you’re not expected to. You are, however, expected to know what is in this package and read and understand every word before you fully commit to the purchase.

HOA documents aren’t light reading. They’ve been prepared by lawyers, for lawyers so naturally they are filled with legalese. Understanding the lingo, however, is critical to the

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We recently got an email from Mark in Anchorage:

“One of those big online national real estate websites values my Anchorage home at $285,000. One of my neighbors, whose house is quite similar to mine, just sold his home for $325,000. I’m getting ready to put my home up for sale and I’m so confused over the whole process of figuring out how much it’s worth.

I know that my real estate agent will help me come up with a price, but what if his price is different from the previous two I mentioned? How will I know which of the three truly reflects the market value in my neighborhood? Just how does one figure out how much a home is worth?"

Good for Mark that he understands that his asking price for the home should reflect market value for his

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April 18th will soon be upon us (we have an extra few days to file in 2016) and it’s time to start thinking about deductions. Sure, the First-Time Homebuyer tax credit that was so popular a couple of years ago no longer exists, but that doesn’t mean you lack tax savings as a homeowner. Most of these were set to expire at the end of 2015 but were extended until the end of 2016 or 2017 so you can use them when you calculate your 2015 taxes.

Now, we aren’t tax specialists, so speak with your accountant if you have questions about homeowner tax breaks. But here’s a bit of what we know.

PMI Deduction

If you paid less than 20 percent for a down payment on your Southcentral home the lender tacked on a private mortgage insurance policy. Although the

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With less than two months left before Southcentral schools let the kids go for the summer, it's time to start thinking about how you'll keep them busy for those almost-three months of “vacation.” Summer camp, if you can afford it, is one way to ensure your children are being cared for while they have some fun, learn something new or both.

Trailside Discovery Camp

All kids need to get out in the great outdoors in the summer and Trailside Discovery Camp provides the perfect opportunity. Here, children (ages 4 -16) participate in environmental educational experiences at the Campbell Creek Science Center in Anchorage or Spring Creek Farm in Palmer. It's such a popular camp, in fact, that the program for ages 10 to 13 is already full and has a

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Ah, spring – the time homebuyers binge on Southcentral real estate. Look at any graph over the last decade or two of monthly housing activity in the area and you’ll see a February slump and then a rapid rise in activity until the peak in April. In 2014, we experienced two peaks in Anchorage, one in April and another in July. Suffice it to say, it’s no secret that spring is the ultimate home-buying season in Southcentral.

If you’re one of the many homeowners planning to sell a Southcentral home this spring, it’s not too late to get the home ready. You’ll have lots of competition this month and anything you can do to prepare for the market will put you way out in front of the others.

 Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running:

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There's so much to do this month in Southcentral so get out your calendar and circle some dates!

April 8-10

Spring Carnival at Alyeska Resort

The 38th Annual Spring Carnival will feature all your favorite wild and wacky events spread over three days, beginning with the 6th Annual Costume Party at 6 p.m. on April 8. In addition to wearing crazy creations, it's the time to register for the Slush Cup, Idiot Swim, Dummy Downhill and all the competitions hosted throughout the carnival. The full schedule of events is available at alyeskaresort.com.

April 13

Wildlife Wednesday at the Zoo

Worried about the effects of global warming on our Alaskan wonderland? Learn more about what's happening to the wildlife around us during a free lecture at

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