Search For Homes

Monday, November 30, 2015

7 Tips for Improving Your Credit

7 Tips for Improving Your Credit
Article From By: G. M. Filisko

Here's how to clean up your credit so you get the least-expensive home loan possible.
Photo: Flickr CC License: 401(k) 2013
Getting the loan that suits your situation at the best possible price and terms makes homebuying easier and more affordable. Here are seven ways to boost your credit score so you can do just that.

1. Know your credit score

Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher, the better. They're based on whether you've paid personal loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt in full and on time in the past. You'll need a score of at least 620 to qualify for a home loan and 740 to get the best interest rates and terms.
You're entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the major credit-reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Access all three versions of your credit report at Review them to ensure the information is accurate.

2. Correct errors on your credit report

If you find mistakes on your credit report, write a letter to the credit-reporting agency explaining why you believe there's an error. Send documents that support your case, and ask that the error be corrected or removed. Also write to the company, or debt collector, that reported the incorrect information to dispute the information, and ask to be copied on any materials sent to credit-reporting agencies.

3. Pay every bill on time

You may be surprised at the damage even a few late payments will have on your credit score. The easiest way to make a big difference in your credit score without altering your spending habits is to diligently pay all your bills on time. You'll also save money because you'll keep the money you've been spending on late fees. Credit card or mortgage companies probably won't report minor late payments, those less than 30 days overdue, but you'll still have to pay late fees.

4. Use credit carefully

Another good way to boost your credit score is to pay your credit card bills in full every month. If you can't do that, pay as much over your required minimum payment as possible to begin whittling away the debt. Stop using your credit cards to keep your balances from increasing, and transfer balances from high-interest credit cards to lower-interest cards.

5. Take care with the length of your credit

Credit rating agencies also consider the length of your credit history. If you've had a credit card for a long time and managed it responsibly, that works in your favor. However, opening several new credit cards at once can lower the average age of your accounts, which pushes down your score. Likewise, closing credit card accounts lowers your available credit, so keep credit cards open even if you're not using them.

6. Don't use all the credit you're offered

Credit scores are also based on how much credit you use compared with how much you're offered. Using $1,000 of available credit will give you a lower score than having $1,000 of available credit and using $100 of it. Occasionally opening new lines of credit can boost your available credit, which also affects your score positively.

7. Be patient

It can take time for your credit score to climb once you've begun working to improve it. Keep at it because the more distance you put between your spotty payment history and your current good payment record, the less damage you'll do to your credit score.

Other web resources

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who keeps a close eye on her credit scores. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+

Monday, November 9, 2015

Anchorage Pet Owners Guide

Anchorage Pet Owners Guide

New to Anchorage and need to find out what services and products are available for your pet(s)? Here is our guide on everything pet related I could find in Anchorage. There is everything from basic vaccination clinics to fun parks and fancy boutiques for your pet. I even found a few fun pet themed clubs and Facebook groups for you to check out. One thing Anchorage has a lot of, it's pets!

Anchorage Dog Parks

There are 6 off-leash dog parks in Anchorage. Here are links to the maps and information on park rules.

Want to buy a home within walking distance to one of Anchorage's dog parks? Here is my page for homes near dog parks in Anchorage: Anchorage Dog Park Homes

Anchorage Pet Supplies

Anchorage Pet Boutiques & Treats

Pet Photographers

Anchorage Veterinarians

For After Hours Emergencies:

Alaska VCA Veterinary Hospitals

There are over 80 VCA Animal Hospitals located in many cities in the US and Canada. They provide veterinary services, grooming, and boarding. For more information on what each branch offers, here are their links:

Anchorage Municipality Animal Care & Control

Animal Control finds lost or stray animals within the municipality. You can also adopt pets from it's shelter. There are more than dogs and cats at the shelter. You may be able to find such pets as reptiles, rodents, and birds there as well. Here are some links to their services

Alaska SPCA

This is the organization that helps pet owners with affordable spay /neuter and vaccination services. They also provide male rabbit neutering, pet microchipping, and pet licensing. The SPCA also adopts out pets and raises funds for animal care. Here are some links to some of their services.

Other Animal Shelters and Rescues

Pooper Scooper Services

Anchorage Pet Boarding & Day Cares

Here are links to services for boarding for more than one day, pet day care, and pet sitting, which is for the care of your pets in your own home. Services may vary from each provider.
Alaska Pet Nannies - Specializing in cats

Anchorage Pet Groomers

Monster Wash's Pet Wash Page - Self Serve pet wash

Anchorage Dog Walkers

For Aquatic Exercise:

Dog Training Services

Interesting Pet Ownership Pin Boards

Anchorage Pet Owners Facebook Pages & Groups

Other Pet Links for Anchorage Pet Owners

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+

5 Great Alaskan Thanksgiving Traditions

5 Great Alaskan Thanksgiving Traditions

1. Anchorage's Great Alaska Shootout
Credit: DOD News Features

Every Thanksgiving, UAA and Carrs/Safeway host a college basketball tournament in Anchorage called the Great Alaska Shootout. Alaska doesn't have a local college or NFL football team, so the live sport we get to watch is basketball. Staying warm inside an indoor basketball court is definitely preferred if you intend on watching live Alaskan sports in November. Playing games during winter gatherings is a longtime Alaskan tradition to prevent cabin fever and the Great Alaska Shootout has become a great Alaskan Thanksgiving tradition for sports fans. Go Seawolves!

Photo: Accretion Disc
2. Community Feasts

Many villages and towns across Alaska celebrate Thanksgiving by hosting communal feasts or potlucks in which everyone brings something to share. Gathering together as a community is a special tradition across all of Alaska. This age old tradition of communal feasting during winter dates back to time immemorial, for both Native and non-Natives alike. In order to pass the time, many gatherings are held over the winter to play games, tell stories, dance, and share food. Summers in Alaska are short, and most of the time is spent getting outdoors to soak up the sun and many families often disappear for the entire season, camping, fishing, and vacationing. Thanksgiving marks the first major holiday to gather back together as a larger community. Communal feasts offer each person a great variety of dishes, and it the opportunity to discover new recipes.

3. Berry Bragging!
Photo: Muffet

Berry-picking for hours and days while fighting off clouds of mosquitoes is worth it when it's time to brag about your harvest over the long winter. The culinary tradition of cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving can be expertly executed by making your own sauces and jellies out of your own Alaskan cranberries. The rest of us amateurs will continue the plain tradition of buying the canned stuff. All joking aside, homemade, wild, naturally grown, organic berries are a great thing to share with your family and friends. Since Alaska doesn't have fruit trees such as apple or peach, we celebrate by sharing our own wild berries. Blueberries, cranberries, salmonberries, ligonberries, crowberries, and other local wild berries are shared in new and traditional ways, such as in agutaq, a popular dish in many Alaska Native gatherings, and American style pies. You can find Alaskan berry recipes to share this Thanksgiving at the end of this post!

4. Birds Other Than Turkey
Photo: Tim Sackton

Alaska is blessed with a large amount of migrating birds. Ducks and geese are abundant and familiar, even for us urban Anchorage residents. However, there are many other birds species that would be a welcome replacement to turkey, such as puffin, ptarmagin, swan, or crane, with the last two being large enough to fully replace a turkey! (Please check Fish and Game regulations before hunting, as we've heard swan hunting may be frowned upon in certain regions!) Since rural Alaskans pay more for food, cooking local wild game would make better economic sense than cooking a turkey. In fact, the reason turkeys became Thanksgiving's bird of choice was because they were the locally abundant species where the holiday was established. The older English Thanksgiving tradition actually features a cooked goose. Wherever you are and whatever you are harvesting, the central theme is that you are sharing what you have with your family and friends. Around here, that Ugly Duckling may just grow to become a beautiful meal!

5. Harvests from the Sea

Photo: Roland

Alaska's coast is huge.....HUGE! Whether it is a whale, crab, or salmon, the ocean's bounty is definitely something to thankful for. The very essence of this holiday is to share the bounties of the land with each other and, here in Alaska, much of the land is coastal land.

Whalers up on Alaska's northern coast share their harvested whales with the entire village, especially during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Northern Inupiaq have always held community gatherings to celebrate the whale harvests and to share with each other. Alaskans from other parts of the state also gather foods to share such as: herring eggs, crabs, rockfish, clams, oysters, mussels, bird eggs, seals and walrus. Why not include these great Alaskan foods in our own Thanksgiving traditions like the Inupiaq have done?

Aside from the obvious bird, the most likely Alaskan food to invade the Thanksgiving table would be salmon. Many would agree that the most popular Alaskan food is salmon, due to its abundance and accessibility for all. (We can't all become heroic whalers!) Whether you are able to cast a big long net, hold a single dip net, or just rod and reel, salmon is available for everyone! Preparing an appetizer of salmon dip (or paté, if you're fancy), is becoming an Alaskan tradition for Turkey Day.

This brings us to our Alaskan Thanksgiving recipe collection for 2015. We hope you, your family, and friends enjoy this year's holiday feast and continue embracing positive Alaskan traditions that make our state unique and strong. - Happy Thanksgiving!

A Few Selected Thanksgiving Recipes for 2015 from Around the Internet

(Yes, we're including the gull egg pie! You never know when you'll get the chance to harvest some gull eggs!)

Alaska Tea Recipe


1 quart cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
3 quarts of water
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 can orange juice concentrate
sugar or honey to taste

Simmer cranberries, cinnamon, cloves and water until berries are tender (about 25 minutes), strain or may remove the spices and blend the cranberries and water for a thicker, richer drink (CAUTION do not blend while hot, it may, and by "may" I mean "likely will" blow the top off of your blender, spraying red cranberry goo all over you, your cabinets, counter, stove, and the springer spaniel who is always under foot, and I "may" over a year later, still find spots of it occasionally.  Just sayin).  Add lemon, orange juice concentrate, straight from the can, not mixed with water, and sugar or honey to taste.  Heat until warm and dissolved.  Serve warm.  For gatherings I keep this in my crock pot on warm.

Seagull Egg Pie

from Alaska Dispatch Thanksgiving food article below

2 seagull eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
Dash salt
Nutmeg to taste
Beat eggs, sugar salt vanilla together. Add milk and beat for 5 minutes.
Place in unbaked pie shell and sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake for 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees. 


from Brookelyn Bellinger article below
1 fresh or frozen 9-inch pie crust (top and bottom)
4 cups frozen Alaskan blueberries
1/3 cup tapioca
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Mix all ingredients. Let stand a few minutes. Fill pie crust and cover with top crust. Seal edges well and slit top. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly.
I cover the edges with aluminum foil for most of the baking to avoid overcooking. I uncover the edge for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Duck for Everyone

from Alaska Outdoor Council recipe page below

3 lg. Duck breasts
4 T bacon drippings or butter or olive oil
1 lg. Onion
4-5 garlic cloves minced
2 med. Carrots, chopped
1 bunch parsley, minced
1 can mushroom stems and pieces with liquid
salt & pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
2 C beef broth
2 C water
½ C flour with ½ C water
8oz. Jar currant jelly
2 C cooked rice

Cut duck into bite-sized pieces
Brown well in a large dutch oven using bacon or butter/oil mixture.
Remove and drain. Add onion,garlic, and carrots, saute till limp.
Add mushrooms, parsley, bay leaves, beef broth and 2 cups water.
Stir and add duck pieces. Simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until duck is tender.
Remove duck to serving platter over rice.
Thicken liquids in pot with flour and 1/2 cup water which has been blended to a paste.
Add current jelly and stir well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour some over duck and rice, serve rest as gravy in a bowl.

Classic Smoked Salmon Appetizer

from Salmon etc website link below

8 oz. Alaska smoked salmon
Herbed cream cheese*
12 slices cocktail-size rye or pumpernickel bread**
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 Tbsp. capers
Lemon slices
Fresh dill sprigs

Arrange smoked salmon, small bowl of Herbed Cream Cheese and bread on medium
-sized serving platter. Garnish with red onion, capers, lemon slices and dill.
Makes 6 servings.
* Herbed cream cheese Beat together until smooth 8 ounces softened cream cheese,
2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon each lemon juice and dill weed, and 4-5 drops bottled
hot pepper sauce.
** Six split mini-sized bagels can be substituted

Alaskan Oyster Stuffing Recipe

from Kasilof Seafoods Recipes

Recipe Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Oysters, chopped
  • 4 cups Seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Sage
  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Parsley, minced
1/2 cup Celery, minced

Recipe Preparation:
Fry chopped oysters for 5 minutes, drain. In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper, sage and oysters. Saute' onion, parsley and celery in butter. Once tender add to bread crumb mixture. Blend well. Can be used as a stuffing for halibut fillets or use to stuff up to a 4 1/2 lb. bird.

The Interior of Alaskan Life 2: Preparing Thanksgiving Moose Ribs

To see the photos – visit the link below

How to prepare moose or any game ribs:
  1. Cut the ribs up into whatever size you want
  2. Put them in a big pot with enough water to cover and boil them until they are tender (pre-heated water recommended). You can also put smaller quantities of ribs in covered baking dishes in  the oven.  Just put some water in the bottom to steam the meat until its tender.
3. Once the moose ribs are cooked I like to cut them into individual pieces. From here you can either marinade as per a given recipe or they can go straight on the grill.
    4. Cooking- I did a marinade in soy, ginger, garlic, etc and a typical sweet barbeque sauce. Here are the ribs marinading.5.Eat it.  If you would like to see where this moose came from take a look here at this fall's hunt.

So Seawolves Shootout information

UAA Shootout Captain's Program article

Skiing on Thanksgiving blog post with recipes for Alaskan Tea and Cranberry Sauce

Alaska Dispatch's Alaskan Thanksgiving recipes collection

Store Outside Your Door Facebook page

Article on other Alaskan food traditions

Why turkey on Thanksgiving?

Northern Thanksgiving Whaling Tradition article

Brookelyn Bellinger's article with berry pie recipe

Alaska Outdoor Journal's Bird recipes

Salmon Etc recipes

Kasilof Seafoods recipes page

Thanksgiving Moose Ribs blog post

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+

Year Round Farmers Markets in Anchorage

Year Round Farmers Markets in Anchorage - Winter 2015

Here's a short list of the local markets still available in the Anchorage area.

Here is the full Alaska DNR's Farmers Market PDF List for 2015.

Alaska Pacific University Farmers Market

Located on the APU Campus at 4101 University Drive. It operates year round on Wednesdays from 1:30pm to 6:30pm.

Center Market

The Center Market is held at the Sears Mall parking lot on the Benson side, located at 600 East Northern Lights Boulevard. The Center Market runs year round on Wednesdays from 10am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Produce vendors include A.D. Farm, Abeille Alaska & Earthworks Farm, Alaska Sprouts, Alaska Vegan and Gluten Free, Capriccio Specialties, Farm 779, Jonesers, and Rempel Family Farm.

...and if you feel like taking a drive out of town...

Peters Creek Farmers Market & Crafts

The Peters Creek Farmers Market & Crafts is held at The American Legion Post 33 which is located at 21643 Old Glenn Highway. This market runs from June to December on Thursdays from 3 to 8pm.

Depot Farm Market

The Depot Farm Market is held at the train depot in Palmer at 610 South Valley Way on Mondays from 12 noon to 6pm. It is a year round market with vendors both inside and outside of the depot building.

Well that does it for this list, if you know of any more locations and times for other markets, or if the schedule expands, drop a comment! 

Want to know more about Alaskan Farmer's markets? Here's a link to the Alaska Farmer's Market Association.

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A.AnchorageAK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+

Friday, November 6, 2015

Anchorage Emergencies Contact List

Anchorage Emergency Services Guide

Here is a handy list of emergency contact numbers and addresses for residents in Anchorage, AK. In many disasters, having emergency phone numbers for utility shut off, shelters, and more are important. Keep this guide in a handy place. A shortened free downloadable PDF is also available to download and print for when there may be no internet or electricity available. Be sure to write down your own emergency contact numbers for your own reference as well as those that live with you or who know you - and include your own cell phone number!

Emergency Services - Call 911

Anchorage Police Department
4501 Elmore Road
APD Crisis Intervention Team (907) 786-8900
APD Non-emergency Dispatch (907) 786-8500

Anchorage Fire Department
100 East 4th Avenue
AFD Non-emergency Dispatch (907) 522-1122

Alaska State Troopers
Dispatch (907) 428-7200

Anchorage Municipality's Emergency Management
Emergency Conditions Info Line (907) 343-4701
or tune into KFQD Radio 750 AM or 103.7 FM
or sign up for NIXLE text alerts by texting your zipcode to 888777

Anchorage Hospitals

Providence Hospital
3200 Providence Drive
Phone (907) 562-2211
Emergency Dept. (907) 212-3111
Psychiatric ER (907) 212-3200
Crisis Recovery Line (907) 563-3200

Alaska Native Medical Center
4315 Diplomacy Drive
Phone (907) 563-2662
Emergency Dept. (907) 729-1729

Alaska Regional Hospital
2801 DeBarr Road
Phone (907) 276-1131
Emergency Dept. (907) 264-1222

JBER Hospital
5955 Zeamer Avenue
Phone (907) 580-6280
Emergency Room (907) 580-5555

Defense Centers Outreach of Excellence
PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, Psychological Health)
Phone (866) 966-1020

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Mental Health Emergencies Line (907) 563-3200


For finding help in Alaska dial 211 or (877) 478-2221
Poison Control Helpline (800) 222-1222
Suicide Hotline (800) 273-TALK (8255)
Careline (877) 266-HELP (4357) or text "4help" to 839863
National Child Abuse Hotline (800) 422-A-CHILD (4453)
Vulnerable Adult Abuse Hotline (800) 478-9996
Standing Together Against Rape Crisis Line (907) 276-7273
STAR Statewide Crisis Line (800) 478-8999

Domestic Violence Help

Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC) - 24 hour shelter
100 West 13th Avenue
Phone (907) 279-9581
24 Hour Crisis Line (907) 272-0100
Willa's Way - Shelter for Alaska Native Women in Anchorage
Phone (907) 729-2500 or 6300

Homeless Shelters in Anchorage

Anchorage Rescue Mission
2823 Tudor Road
Phone (907) 563-5603
Alaska Youth & Parent Foundation
700 West 6th Avenue
Phone (907) 929-2633
Brother Francis Shelter
1021 East 3rd Avenue
Phone (907) 277-1731
Clare House
4110 Spenard Road
Phone (907) 563-4545
Covenant House
755 A Street
Phone (907) 272-1255
The Salvation Army McKinnell House
1700 A Street
Phone (907) 276-1609
Downtown Soup Kitchen
No shelter but provides lunch, showers and laundry
240 East 3rd Avenue
Phone (907) 277-4302
Beans Cafe
Provides meals and overflow shelter for other shelters during the winter
1101 East 3rd Avenue
Phone (907) 274-9595

Utility Companies

Call 811 before any digging/ground work for utility locates

Enstar Natural Gas
3000 Spenard Road
Report a gas leak 24 Hours - (907) 277-5551

Chugach Electric
5601 Electron Drive
Phone (907) 563-7494
Danger tree hotline (907) 762-7227
Street light hotline (907) 762-7676

Anchorage Municipal Light & Power
1120 East 1st Avenue
Phone (907) 263-5340
Power outage hotline (907) 279-7671
Dangerous tree hotline (907) 263-5463
Streetlight hotline (907) 263-5483

Anchorage Water &Wastewater Utility
3000 Arctic Boulevard
Phone (907) 564-2700
24 Hour emergencies (907) 564-2762

GCI Cable
Phone (907) 265-5400
Tech Support (907) 868-0316

Alaska Communications
600 Telephone Avenue
Phone (907) 563-8000

Road Conditions - Call 511

Weather/Storm Warnings

National Weather Service Alaska Region Headquarters
222 West 7th Avenue #23
Recorded Forecast: 1-800-472-0391

Emergency/Disaster Organizations

Find loved ones, register as safe, military support, find shelters
235 East 8th Avenue
Phone (907) 646-5400
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA Helplines
    1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
    TTY 1-800-462-7585
    711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362
The Salvation Army Disaster Relief
143 East 9th Avenue
Phone (907) 276-2515


Alaska Interagency Coordination Center
To report a wildfire (800) 237-3633

Alaska Wildland Fire Information
Information line (907) 356-5511

Outdoor Safety

Avalanche Recording Info (800) 478-7675
Avalanche & Mountain Weather Road Closure Info (907) 273-6037
Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center
24 Hour Anchorage Duty Officer (907) 271-6700
Alaska Dept. of Public Safety Info Line (907) 428-7200
Search and Rescue /Mountain Rescue services are coordinated through the Alaska State Troopers at (907) 428-7200


Anchorage Municipality Animal Control
4711 Elmore Road
Customer Service: 343-8122
Dispatch: (907) 343-8119

Pet Emergency Treatment - 24 Hour emergencies
2320 E. Dowling Rd.
Phone (907) 274-563

Diamond Animal Hospital - 24 Hour emergencies
2545 East Tudor Road
Phone (907) 563-8384

Alaska Department of Fish & Game
333 Raspberry Road
Phone (907) 267-2257

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Anchorage Fish and Wildlife Field Office
4700 BLM Road
Phone (907) 271-2888

Bird Treatment & Learning Center
7800 King Street
    Phone (907) 562-4852

© 2015 Dan Benton
Dan Benton - Realtor with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska
1577 C Street, Suite 101A., Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 727-5279

Join Great Alaskan Homes on:
Blogspot - Pinterest - Twitter - Facebook - Google+