Fairbanks, AK Real Estate News

By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Principles of negotiation.  Books have been written about it.  Speakers travel the world lecturing about it.  Millions have been spent trying to uncover the secret.  For some, it will remain an abstract principle they will sadly never master. A few weeks ago I had the chance to speak with a fellow for whom negotiations had not been a kind mistress.  This fellow, we'll call him Stanley, set out to buy a home for his family and ended up outmaneuvered by a more skilled negotiator into a contract he now wishes he had never signed. Stanley and his family had been renting a small house in Fairbanks for the past couple of years.  It was comfortable and the price was right but with the changes in the housing market, he hoped to make the transition from renter to owner. A yard for his children t...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
One of the tidbits we always pass along to folks new to Alaska is to mind your pets and children when outside and never leave them unattended. Bears, wolves, and moose are routinely spotted in local neighborhoods.  While we're a little bigger than the fictional town of Cicely on Northern Exposure, we still regularly see critters wandering around town oblivious to the urban sprawl.  This is still their country. I snapped these photos this afternoon near the Airport Way/University Avenue intersection.  Although there were lots of rubberneckers and a few people, including yours truly, snapping photo's, Mamma and Baby were too busy munching on willows to care. click on the photo's to enlarge Although I sometimes take chances getting close enough to get 'the shot' it's not something I would ...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
It isn't exactly an Kincaid landscape, is it?.  Like many of our northern neighbors we're still covered in snow.  A lot of it.  The good news is it is melting. The bad news is it's taking it's sweet time about it.   While I'll admit that I'm not overly fond of watching the mercury drop below negative sixty, I love winter.  The beauty that comes with a drastically altered landscape, weekend trips to the mountains to sit in front of a roaring fire and drink hot toddies or picnicking on the back of the snowmachine in the middle of a frosted forest. That said, I'm ready for spring, darnit. Although Fairbanks is still covered in a three-foot deep blanket of snow thoughts have turned from shoveling snow to planting gardens, tending flowerbeds, and lawn and tree care. One of the most respected...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
First time buyers of Fairbanks, Alaska homes get up to an $8,000 Rebate!The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" recently signed into law improves the Federal tax credit to first-time Fairbanks homebuyers.  This is a credit back to first time Fairbanks homebuyers or a credit against taxes currently owed to Uncle Sam. How does this apply to Fairbanks homebuyers? To qualify for the tax credit... You have to be a first time home buyer; meaning the borrower(s) can not have owned a home at anytime in the last three years; Your income can't exceed $75,000 for a single borrower or $150,000 for a married couple; The purchase must be for a principle residence.  The credit doesn't apply to investment properties or second/vacation homes and; The purchase dates must fall between January...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Fairbanks Alaska Real Estate - December 2008 Market Review Yes, the title says December. It's been a busy month for the Fairbanks estate market... or at least it has for our office. End of month stats will ultimately tell the tale if it's market wide.   We saw some surprising numbers in December.  Although the number of Fairbanks homes sold was down 19% over December 2007, we saw a near 36% increase in sales over November 2008. Many folks I spoke to were expecting the December numbers to be quite bleak. Homes in Fairbanks spent less time on the market in December than almost any other time in 2008. June and July had an average days on the market of 90 & 96, respectively. December came in third place with 100; a full 24% lower than in November. Of the homes we sold in December, more than...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Fairbanks Alaska Condominiums... All the benefits of home ownership without all the work. Sound good? If so, a Fairbanks condominium might be perfect. Fairbanks has a wide variety of condominium projects to choose from starting with a cozy 1 bedroom 1 bath flat for $88,000 to a stunning new condominium development on the Chena River for $350,000. Most Fairbanks condominium fees include heating oil/natural gas, water/sewer, lawn care, snow removal, refuse service, structural insurance and building maintenance. There are a handful of condominiums that include everything listed above except heating oil/natural gas. For those select developments the condominium fees are generally considerably less. Although 2008 brought an increase in the average cost of a Fairbanks Condo, it also brought a...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
One thing we're constantly asked by folks relocating to Alaska is about our weather. What are the winters like? Do you have 24 hour sunlight in the summer? How do you survive when it's -40 (or colder)? If you're headed to Alaska just to start a new chapter in life or relocating with Eielson Air Force Base or Fort Wainwright Army Post, this should give you an idea of what you're in for. Having called Alaska home for almost 30 years I can tell you there's no place quite like The Last Frontier. The truth is we do have some cold winters, but the summers more than make up for them.  Our summers are moderate, dry and generally not very windy.  I don't know that we broke the record for coldest winter this year or not, but we came awful close.  There were a couple of times it registered 65 belo...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
New regulations adopted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game dramatically effect military hunters and fishermen...fisherwomen too... or is it fisherpeople?  Either way, this is great news.Prior to the new regulations being adopted, folks stationed at Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright Army Post, that had been in Alaska less than 12 months, were required to pay nonresident fees for a fishing and hunting license and related game tags.  A long overdue change to the ADFoG regulations will allow permanently stationed active-duty military personnel and their families to purchase nonresident hunting and fishing licenses at resident prices.  An annual sport fishing license is now $25 and an annual combination sport fishing and hunting license is only $48.  Can it get better than th...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
One of the challenges of living in Alaska is dealing with a sometimes manic Mother Nature.  The past couple of weeks we've watched as the temperature hovered between 40 and 65 below zero.  Water and sewer lines froze, cars began to break down and people were on the verge of going a little stir crazy from being cooped up inside.  Yesterday Mother Nature changed everything.  Warm winds blowing over the Alaska Range from the Gulf of Alaska brought record breaking temps to the Interior.  In an instant we went from 62 below zero to nearly 50 above.  Eielson Air Force Base, which is about 10 miles from our house, hit 51 degrees. We're all confused... guys are breaking out their fishing gear and women, those of a certain vintage anyway, began putting their unmentionables back in the freezer.  ...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Sometimes I think I've lived here a little too long.  Things the rest of the world deems abnormal and simply intolerable I tend not to think too much about.  Today, for example, was spent with a great couple who were referred to us by fellow 'Rainer Debbie White in Juneau. Despite the continuing cold we had a full slate of homes to see today. We are seven days into what is now projected to be a fourteen to sixteen day cold snap. Waking up and seeing the thermometer outside our kitchen window read -54 BELOW zero has become the norm.  Now, I just pour myself a cup of coffee, pop some toast in the toaster and fire up the computer to see what's going on in the world without a second thought about the temps. Around 11:00 I start getting dressed....  It's all about layers when it's this cold....
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
It looks as though we're in for yet MORE lovely cold weather.  My meterologist client mentioned in an email earlier that we're very likely to see -60 again in the Interior.  As if that's not enough, he says, and I quote "Note that I do see an end to the cold pattern ... models are showing a shift, but it is still going to take at least 8-10 days for the shift to happen." Eight to ten more days? This is starting to feel like the winters of 20 years ago.Old man winter is beginning to cause serious havock with Interior Alaska residences.  Water lines and septic systems are freezing, furnaces and boilers are dying and there have been more plumbing freeze-ups than the plumbing community can keep up with even with extra staff. I read an article tonight that referenced the coldest places on ea...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Well, we're in day three of a projected ten day cold snap. Lovely. It seems every time I tune into the National Weather Service they are predicting colder temperatures. For new Alaskans this stuff is starting to lose it's charm. The first day it's like "Wow, this is cool" but by day three most cheechakos are starting to think their plan of living in the Last Frontier might not have been such a hot idea, pardon the pun. A client with a background in meteorology sent me the following note in an email yesterday... ANOTHER WEAK LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO RETROGRADE OUT OF THE HIGH CANADIAN ARCTIC AND INTO NORTHWESTERN ALASKA EARLY THIS WEEKEND....PLUNGING TEMPERATURES EVEN FURTHER IN CLEAR AREAS OF THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN INTERIOR... VALLEY TEMPERATURES COULD DROP BELOW 65 BELOW IN...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Oops... It's already here... The National Weather Service is predicting record breaking temps for Fairbanks and the Tanana Valley for the next week to ten days. We woke up to find the thermometer reading -46 this morning and it's likely to hit -50 to -55 tonight. In another lifetime I spent a great deal of time at our lodge on the Yukon River some 400 miles as the crow flies from Fairbanks. It was routine to see winter temps drop to -60 to -80 and stay there for weeks at a time. Throw in a little wind and the temps dipped to well below -100 below. Not exactly the weather you want to spend a lot of time out in. Dress warm, keep your winter gear handy (in your car), keep your fuel tanks filled up (house and car), keep your cell phone charged and with you and don't venture out unless you h...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Bet that got your attention, huh?  :)  So, what's my confession?  I'm a Christmas music junkie.  I have a HUGE selection of Christmas tunes that I listen to throughout the year.  I know, I know... that's not much of a confession. But, if you have a special place in your heart for Christmas tunes, I've got just the thing to make your little heart happy.  Rebecca Morse will be performing tonight at If Only, Fairbanks finest literary supply boutique, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on an antique Estey pump organ.  There's no charge for admission and it's sure to be a wonderful performance.  From their website.... "We’ll also serve refreshments representative of our Specialty Foods Selection." If Only is one of Kathy's favorite stores with a fantastic selection of writing implements, stationary, card...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
I don't know about you, but I can't believe that Christmas is only 10 days away.  Where did the year go?  If you're like me there are still a few gifts you need to purchase and wrap before the big day arrives. While the big box stores offer plenty of warehouse-like atmosphere, high intensity lighting and check yourself out registers I thought it might be nice to highlight a few locally owned businesses for your shopping pleasure.  We've shopped at many of these businesses for years and have always found their service to be exemplary. Something Special29 College Road #13Fairbanks, AK 99701907-456-1298Fine Gift & Collectibles, Polish Pottery, Judie Gumm Jewelry,  Fine China, Dept 56 Snowbabies, Crystal & Flatware.If Only215 Cushman StFairbanks, AK  99701(907) 457-6659So much more than a s...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
Like my buddy Richard Weisser, I am very much a train buff. My paternal grandfather was an engineer for Norfolk Southern, so perhaps I come by it naturally. Kathy, however, tends to think it's just a guy thing. One of the activities we schedule for our summer visitors is a ride on the Alaska Railroad. The railroad maintains regular twice-daily summer passenger service between Fairbanks, Denali National park, Talkeetna and Anchorage. While the scenery and service is spectacular no matter where you sit, be sure to opt for the new 89' domed GoldStar Service rail cars for an unforgettable experience. Staffed by friendly and knowledgable tour guides, I think it's one of the best ways to see the beauty of Alaska. Founded in 1903 as the Alaska Central Railway, the Alaska Railroad was operated...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
The economic carnival ride continues... Between the roller coaster ride the stock market has been on, the volatility of the overall national economy, plummeting oil prices (good for prices at the pump but bad for an energy based state economy) and a slowing real estate market it's been quite the month. There's been a lot of talk about the falling oil prices (which is a topic for another post) but many I'm talking to are concerned about the overall effect on our local economy. We are arguably an energy based economy, which means as the price of crude slides, so goes the funds into the state coffers. It's a double edged sword. No one likes paying $6 a gallon for diesel, but it does provide money for infrastructure. Oil at $150/barrel isn't good, but neither is $25/barrel oil. A happy medi...
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By Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired
(Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®)
As can be attested to by the photo's on the right side of my blog I'm somewhat of an amateur photographer. Over the years I have taken tens of thousands of photo's that now sit in steamer trunks, photo albums, are stored on CD's and online and even have a few stacked in shoe boxes waiting to be organized. I've found it's a great way to take my mind off work. Scotch also works well but that's another story. Watch The magic of the aurora Last week a friend emailed me to say that the northern lights were going to be active that night. After dinner I decided to drive around the lake to see if I could catch them in action. As it turns out they didn't make much of an appearance while I was out so I spent an hour shooting light pollution from several points around the lake. As I'm driving alon...
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