Recent Updates:

Central Peninsula Garden Club: October 9th Meeting @ 7pm

Central Peninsula Garden Club Kenai & SoldotnaJoin author Brenda Adams as she presents “Explore Your Options – Bark, Berries, Bulbs, Fragrance, Herbs and Vegetables”

This fast-paced power point will show how to incorporate bark and stem texture and color into your garden designs, the role brilliant berries and seed pods can play, and how to make your ornamental designs edible as well. Learn to expand your season with bulbs and increase your sensory pleasure with effectively placed fragrant plants.

 Brenda Adams is the author of There’s a Moose in My Garden, and the winner of three international design awards. Her talks are always packed full of information and gorgeous images.

The Central Peninsula Garden Club meets in the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Building on K-Beach Rd., between KSRM and the Bridge Access Rd. intersection. Garden Club programs are free and open to the public.

Refreshments are provided, and sometimes door prizes.

Membership and general club information is available at www.cenpengardenclub.org, or contact Marion Nelson, 283-4632, or mmkn@ptialaska.net

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Bursting PipeYou’ll be ready for winter’s worst and head off expensive repairs when you complete this checklist of 9 essential fall maintenance tasks.

1. Don’t be a drip.
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

2. Put your sprinkler system to sleep.

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
2. Shut off the automatic controller.
3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

3. Seal the deal.

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-oz. tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

4. De-gunk your gutters.

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10-$20 each.

5. Eyeball your roof.

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50-$100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

6. Direct your drainage.

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

7. Get your furnace in tune.

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50-$100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every 2 months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

8. Prune plants.

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.

9. Give your fireplace a once-over.

To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79-$500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150-$250 for the service.

Kenai Local Food: Guide For The Central Peninsula Foodie

Have you ever wondered were to find the good local eats on the Kenai Peninsula? Check out Kenai’s local food offerings with this local foods directory put together by the folks at the Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District. This guide lists over thirty providers of local goods and services. Foods range from vegetables, berries, honey, milk and meat. You can even find livestock.

Many of the local producers can be found at the Kenai or Soldotna farmer’s market.

Kenai Saturday Market:
Located at the Kenai Visitor Center
11471 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai Alaska 99611
Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
May 25th – September 14th

Central Peninsula Farmers Market:
Located at the corner of E. Corral Ave and Kenai Spur Hwy in Soldotna
Saturday 10am to 2 pm
July through September

Interested in learning more about food on the Kenai?

Check out the Harvest Moon Festival or the Central Peninsula Garden Club.

Kenai Local Food Directory

Rules For Investing In A Housing Recovery

The Kenai Peninsula housing recovery is in full swing and many investors are considering  buying an income property. In the Kenai and Soldotna real estate market single family homes are a popular option. The profit potential in single family homes for investment has been a consistently long-term investment in good and bad economies. They offer investors the opportunity of high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates for 30 years on appreciating assets, tax advantages and reasonable control that other investments don’t offer.

National Association Of Realtors

Last year, Warren Buffet said that if he had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes, he would load up on them. Blackstone Group L.P. (BX) has now purchased over 30,000 homes and American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) has more than 19,000 for rental purposes. Individual investors actually have an advantage over the institutional investor but if they are not familiar with rental real estate, some basic rules could be very helpful.

Rules to Guide Your Real Estate Investment: Single Family Homes

  • Invest now to get more in the future. Whether it is time, effort or money, the prudent investor is willing to forego immediate gratification for something more at a later date.
  • Real estate is an IDEAL investment. IDEAL is an acronym that stands for income, depreciation, equity build-up, appreciation and leverage.
  • Invest in single family homes in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods at or below average price range. This strategy should involve homes that will increase in value, rent well and appeal to an owner-occupant in the future who will pay a higher price than an investor.
  • Location, location, location. The same homes in different areas will not behave the same. You can improve the condition, modify the terms or adjust the price but the location can’t be changed.
  • Understand your strategy – buy and sell, buy and hold or buy, rent and hold. These three distinct strategies involve big differences in acquisition, management and taxation.
  • Know where your profit is coming from before you invest. The four contributors to profit are cash flow, appreciation, amortization and tax savings. They don’t contribute equally or the same in all investments.
  • Profit starts with purchase. Buying the property below market value builds profit into the investment initially.
  • Risk is directly proportionate to the reward involved. An investment that has a high degree of upside also will have considerable downside risk.
  • Avoid functional obsolescence unless you have a plan before you buy. The lack of usefulness or desirability of a home that exists when you buy it will still be there when you sell it. Unless it can be cured, it will affect future profit.
  • Good property + good tenant + good management = great investment. These are three solid components for a successful investment.
  • Problems left unresolved have a tendency to get worse. It is generally cheaper in time or money to fix a problem earlier rather than later.

If you’d like more information about the opportunities in our market, contact me. Glenda Feeken RE/MAX of the Peninsula 907 252 2743

Sterling Alaska 2013 Real Estate Statistics: Year to Date September

The Sterling Real Estate market is holding its own against it’s larger rivals in Kenai and Soldotna.  The big news is that the volume of Sterling homes sold is up fifty seven percent over last year. That is seventeen more homes sold in 2013 than the thirty sold in 2012. The fourth quarter is set to finish strong with a large pending inventory of homes. Pending transactions are up fifty one percent over this time last year.

Sterling, AK     # Sold     # Pending     Average Sales Price     % of Sales to List Price
2013                   30             35                     $227,680                         95%
2012                   47             53                     $226,117                           96%
*data for a time period from January 1st to September 4th for 2012 and 2013.

What has changed in the Sterling real estate market?

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310 W Rockwell Avenue Soldotna, AK 99669: Soldotna Real Estate & Homes For Sale

Soldotna Home for sale ready for a makeover. Build equity and a home at the same time. This Soldotna real estate was built in 1981, has raised a family, and is now waiting for its next chapter. The floor plan is a traditional two story with living on the first floor and bedrooms on the second.

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North Kenai Alaska 2013 Real Estate Statistics: Year To Date August

North Kenai Real Estate has been steady in 2013 with thirty one sold properties. That is a seven percent increase over last year’s twenty nine sales. Pending home sales are down twenty two percent with thirty two properties waiting to close. This is still a good number of pending deals for North Kenai. 2012 just happened to be one of the best years for North Kenai real estate. The average sales price is also down ten percent to $172,623 from $192,345. The sales price to list price ratio has improved in 2013 to 95% from 92%.

North Kenai     # Sold     # Pending     Average Sales Price     % of Sales to List Price
2013                   31             32                     $172,623                          95%
2012                   29             41                     $192,345                           92%
*data for a time period from January 1st to August 27 for 2012 and 2013.

What has changed in the market?

North Kenai is coming off a record year in 2012 and has seen a reduction in activity. Currently there are 117 active North Kenai homes for sale. This is down twenty four percent from the 154 active during the same time last year.  The surge of industrial activity and personnel turnover relating to the Marathon – Hillcorp sale has played in course and a normal level of activity is resuming.

North Kenai Real Estate

On The Internet No One Knows You’re a Dog: How To Choose A Realtor

Dog RealtorI just came across a great cartoon by Peter Steiner. It was originally published in The New Yorker. Two dogs are talking. One is seated in front of a computer saying to the other “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”. This is never truer than in the world of real estate.  Slick websites, lots of effort spent getting recommendations and top Google rankings bought by “Pay for Click” does not make for the best buying or selling experience.  It doesn’t even guarantee that you will be speaking to a qualified person.

The internet has changed the way we shop and we have access to more information than ever before. Unfortunately many websites claim to be fortresses for free information but are little more than glorified classified ads, like Trulia, Realtor.com and Zillow.  As a classified ad company the only requirement they have of professionals they recommend is that they pay their monthly ad bill on time.

Ultimately most buyers and sellers turn to a Realtor for help but often don’t know if they are getting good advice until it is too late.  You need the agent that isn’t smoke and mirrors. You need a Realtor that can demonstrate an understanding of the selling process and market value of homes in your area. Most importantly, the Realtor needs to be willing to have the hard talks with the hard facts.

What you and your Realtor should be talking about!

For Sellers:

  • What price will the market allow on the property?
  • How does the condition of the property compare with other listings?
  • What repairs need to be made to make the home more sale-able?
  • What is unique about my property that will set it apart?

From Buyers:

  • Will this home be easy for me to sell as a future investment or is this a dream property to meet my personal desires?
  • What are similar homes in similar condition selling for?
  • How will the home inspection and expected repairs affect my offer?
  • Are there special financing programs that would make some homes more affordable than others? For example: rural housing incentives with Alaska Housing or USDA Rural Development.

Look for the professional that asks about your goals and needs.  More importantly make sure they are not telling you exactly what they think you want to hear in order to get a sale.  Make sure you are more than a purchased lead off the internet.  Look for the agent that has been around for a while and is well grounded in the local real estate community.  Check for referrals from friends, family, lenders and title officers.

The Realtor needs to bring experience, market knowledge, dedication, negotiating ability along with rock solid people skills.  The Realtor also needs to be an organized and proactive communicator. The Realtor’s job is to be the quarterback of the transaction. They need to keep you informed and coordinate with all parties so you have a smooth transaction.

Buyers and Seller have access to lots of information. It is the Realtor’s job to help them interpret this information and put it to work for them.  So you may find the 1st introduction to your Realtor on the internet, but please make sure they are more than a digital classified ad.

310 S Spruce Kenai Alaska: Kenai Real Estate For Sale

Turn key remodeled Kenai real estate and home for sale. New roof, drywall, insulation, and vapor barrier. Updated plumbing and electrical with new boiler. The renovated kitchen and baths shine with all new cabinets, counter tops and fixtures. This home has been renovated with care and ready for the long haul. Wisdom home inspection was ordered by the seller and repairs have been completed as recommended.

 310 S Spruce Kenai front long

The master suite is finished with bamboo flooring and a custom bath. The master bath is adorned with a Jacuzzi tub and pedestal sink. Storage is ample with an extra vanity and wall mounted cabinet. You will love the custom tile work. Kenai Real Estate & Home For Sale The location is ideal for walks on the beach or the refurbished city park. This Kenai home’s location is unique since it is the only single family residence on S Spruce Street and is at the top of the hill before you descend to the Kenai Beach. If you love privacy when you get home from work, you should check out this quiet spot.

 Kenai Real Estate & Home For Sale

The local schoosl are Mt. View Elementary, Kenai Middle and Kenai High School. Daycare is plentiful with Kenai Creative Play and AK Kids-Benjamin Franklin Learning Center. Located in Kenai, shopping is convenient with Safeway, Walmart, Home Depot, Three Bears and the Salvation Army.

For more information on this property please contact Glenda Feeken with RE/MAX of the peninsula. 907 252 2743

47677 Grant Avenue Kenai Alaska: Kenai Real Estate For Sale

Custom Kenai home in desirable River Hills subdivision. Affordable luxury is the reason to consider Kenai real estate as the best value for your dollar. This charming home was built in 2002 and shows like new. What I like most is the home’s easy living floor plan with open concept  living and dining room.  I don’t often say that a home has good energy but this home’s flow  is possibly one of the best that I have toured.  The kitchen is at the home’s center and has a half circle hallway behind it with access to the three bedrooms, laundry room, storage and garage. The other half of the circle is open to the living room and dining area.Kenai Real Estate

The kitchen is large with a tiled dining area and built in storage for china.  Adjacent to the entry is a private sitting room.  The two bedrooms are of good size and share a hall bath.  The master bedroom is located at the rear of the home with a large walk in closet, two sink vanity, Jacuzzi tub and separate toilet and shower.  The men will love the large two car garage and extra third bay with high ceilings.  Kenai Real Estate

Located in River Hills subdivision off Ciechanski Rd you have a great location between Kenai and Soldotna, on K-Beach road.  The area is a popular bedroom community  with convenient access to the Red Diamond Center and shopping. Both Safeway grocers are within ten minutes of your doorstep. The local school are K-Beach Elementary School, Kenai Middle and Kenai Central High School is your home to the Kardinals. The private Grace Lutheran School is close at hand as is the a quality daycare Little People Early Learning Center.

For more information please contact Glenda Feeken, RE/MAX of the Peninsula 907 252 2743.

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