How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale
This page isn't just about me. It's more about the beautiful state I live in.
I am a transplant from the lush, temperate rain forests of Southeast Alaska to the stunning and fertile Matanuska-Susitna Valley in South Central Alaska.
I live in a city encircled by majestic mountains, from the imposing Pioneer Peak along the Knik River, the Talkeetna Mountains to the north and the Chugach Mountains to the south and east. Almost daily I am taken aback by the breathtaking beauty of the Mat-Su Valley.
The Matanuska River divides my city, and though it looks deceptively calm, it is really quite dangerous. Many have perished in this silty, frigid water.
Incredible winds originating from surrounding glaciers often snatch up silt from the Matanuska or Knik Rivers and blow with a terrible force! These silt-laden winds funnel through town, affecting air quality, sandblasting cars, canceling baseball games...you get the picture.
The Mat-Su Valley is best known as the agricultural center of Alaska because of it's fertile soil and ideal growing conditions, resulting in some of the largest and sweetest vegetables in the world.
The long hours of daylight in the summer impart a special sweetness to carrots, kohlrabi, and other produce.
Every summer, gardeners partake in "giant produce" contests, where the winners are revealed at the Alaska State Fair. This fair takes place in Palmer and goes from mid-August to September.
The Matanuska-Susitna Valley holds the world records for giant kohlrabi, kale, rutabaga, turnips, broccoli and cabbage. The largest recorded cabbage was 138.24 pounds at the 2012 Palmer Fair.
We are blessed with an abundance of wildlife here in Alaska. I especially enjoy the moose coming by my yard to dine on birch, willow and cottonwood leaves, or just to nap in the sun.
In the spring, moose cows often birth and rest close to my house for days, until the calves are strong enough to run. I think they know that predators, (bears!) typically stay away from people.
I was charged by a moose once while walking around my property with my dogs. In a Jurassic Park-like moment, I heard a deep-belly roar, trees parted and bushes shook as heavy hooves stomped toward me, and the biggest cow moose I ever saw came straight at me!
Who knew that moose could roar?!! Ears plastered back and hair standing up indicated her rage. I thought it was all over, but luckily I was surrounded by huge cottonwood trees, so I ducked behind one. The cow followed me around the tree until she caught sight of my dogs and took off after them. Then something unexpected occurred. The moose cow backed away about 20 feet and watched us. I sensed immediately that she was giving us a chance to retreat. She knew I was not a threat.
The reason she charged me became clear days later when she emerged with twin calves. She had given birth on a corner of my property and thought I was a bear. It was a frightening moment and took me about 20 minutes to stop shaking.
So the moral of that story is, stay out of the woods, from the middle of May to the 2nd week in June. Once the moose calves reach a certain age, the cows are more relaxed.
My family and I enjoy the many hiking and biking trails in this area. Our favorite place is Hatcher Pass, a scenic mountain pass about 22 miles from Palmer.
My husband and son are more energetic hikers than me, enjoying mountain trails in the Chugach Range like, Matanuska Peak and Lazy Mountain, (don't let the name fool you-- it's not a lazy hike!) They have yet to climb Pioneer Peak, which rises over 6,000 feet.
I enjoy picking a variety of local berries to make jam and jelly; high-bush and low-bush blueberries, wild raspberries and cranberries.
I first became aware of home staging years ago when I was in the process of selling my own house. I was just hours away from expecting my first potential buyer when my sister, (who was visiting at the time) suggested that we "stage the house." "What's that?" I asked.
She explained that it was getting rid of clutter and hiding personal stuff to make the home more appealing to buyers. My sister rushed around the house, washing windows, clearing off kitchen counters, stashing appliances, even hiding things in the oven. My house sold that afternoon to the first person who viewed it!
Flushed with success and now a confirmed believer in the power of home staging, I wanted to learn more about it. With a background in art and a strong interest in interior design, it was a natural fit for me. I pursued the subject and enrolled in a home staging and redesign course.
My home staging interest led me to work as a Real Estate Agent for a short period of time, where I was able use some of that home staging knowledge. It was a valuable experience and an interesting anthropological study of human nature.
Working as a Realtor certainly provided me with plenty of useful information for this DIY home staging website.
My husband was a home builder for many years and eventually moved on to running larger construction projects. I like to think that I absorbed a bit of construction knowledge over the years simply by association.
Together we remodeled and sold three houses, two of them 100 years old, so I learned a bit about the problems you can run into when fixing an old home. It was fun to see the different home decor styles of past eras as we peeled away layers wallpaper, lath and plaster, and flooring during the demolition process.
We even found treasures hidden inside walls, window sills and attic crawl spaces. We found old coins, ancient newspapers, shopping lists, and old pictures from the 30's. We also came across a stash of empty whiskey bottles hidden between a wall in one home.
I've always been a do-it-yourself kind of person, so when I thought about the kind of website I wanted to create, a "one stop" home staging web site seemed like the perfect fit. And I just think it's really fun!
Perhaps you live in an area without access to a home staging professional? Or maybe you have a question about choosing paint colors, arranging furniture, or how to make a small kitchen look larger. Whatever your question, I hope you find the answer here. If not, just ask me and I’ll be glad to answer.
Above is a summertime photo of Snowy Mountain located on Admiralty Island. Admiralty Island is also known as, "Fortress of the Bears," home of the highest density of brown bears in North America!
The devil's club plant in the photo on the right is about 10 feet tall.
Devil's club is a beautiful, but treacherous plant that grows throughout Alaska. It's also known as the "devil's walking stick" for good reason!
The branches are covered with very sharp thorns that are quite painful and difficult to remove once imbedded in the skin. In late August, the berries turn a beautiful bright red.
Devil's club are highly prized by Native Alaskans for their medicinal value, and I find a cup of devil's club tea very energizing.
The devil's club that grow in S.E. Alaska are much taller than the ones in the Matanuska Valley, which are easily stepped over when tromping through the woods.
South Central Alaska, where I now live, has it's own deceitful shrubbery; the beautiful, yet thorny Alaska wild rose.
Hiking through South Central Alaska is much easier than S.E. Alaska, sort of like walking through a park, but watch out for those wild rose thorns.
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