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Iron Dog? What is an Iron Dog?

Iron Dog? What is an Iron Dog?

An iron dog, for those unfamiliar with the term is a snowmachine and THE Iron Dog is a grueling test of endurance for man and machine. This race is the ‘worlds longest snowmobile race‘ and it runs over 2000 miles. Crazy weather conditions, rugged and unforgiving terrain and some of the most beautiful territory in the world make up this a survival course on snowmachines.

Larry and I went to the start of the race this with my cousins and, although it was cold, we could not imagine what the racers would go through with the windchill factors. Wind chill from the normal weather conditions and also that of the created variety as they race man and machine in the harsh Alaska wilderness.


View the 2000 mile race route map HERE but remember-the state of Alaska is the size of Texas times TWO!

There are FAQ about the racers, machines and terrain in case you have questions. Pretty interesting information about everything from why duct tape is on the racers faces, how the trail is made and how cold it gets (OK, I have to spoil that one. It can get to MINUS 57 degrees F).


The race ends in Fairbanks and the first place finishers are expected to be at the finish line after noon on February 26. If you would like to track the racers by GPS, you can go to the Iron Dog website and check in.

Jacque & Larry


Prior to the race, the line up


The beginning of the race



Even the soda cans are heated so they do not FREEZE in the cold. Imagine what the racers go through!



Shout Out to Neils Lock and Safe, Thank You Neil!

Shout Out to Neils Lock and Safe, Thank You Neil!

I received a phone call from my mum a couple nights ago asking for some assistance. There have been some burglaries in businesses near her and pops home and she has been extra cautious when locking every door and window in the home.

Mum and pop have taken the garage door openers out of their vehicles and have a keypad on the garage door for key-less entry. Here is the issue. She locked all the inner screen/security doors as well as the interior door from the house to the garage. 

Yep, mum was locked out-able to get into the garage but not the home. Pop was out of town and she called me for help. Luckily, I was at the office but even I do not have a key to the home (I have the garage combo though but that was not going to get me in).

So I called Neil from Neils Lock and Safe and, even though he was closing in 10 minutes, he came to our rescue.

In a quick few minutes Neil had the door unlocked.

Neils Lock and Safe, Wasilla Alaska Locksmiths

Neil and his lovely wife Lindy are the ‘go to’ people for keys that work (we have had way too many issues at the box stores) and they offer safes, cameras, electronic security systems and locksmith services.

They also give so much back to the community with local sponsorship of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation and raising much needed funds for the Children’s Hospital in memory of their precious daughter (Brianna Gregory Foundation).

If you have a need for security systems, safes, or anything locksmith related, call Neils Lock and Safe. Or, if you would like to donate your time or monies to either of their close to the heart causes, please visit their websites or check them out on Facebook.

You may even see a couple pictures of Larry and I too (in costumes) at the some of the fundraisers…

Jacque & Larry

Information for Military Transfers to JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson)

Information for Military Transfers to JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson)

First of all, Larry and I want to say thank you for your service to us and our country.

As an Air Force brat myself and the youngest of five children to a career military dad and stay at home military mom, I appreciate everything you do.

I (Jacque, the one in yellow) was born on Elmendorf AFB when my parents were first stationed here. Shortly after, the family was moved to Rantoul Illinois (Chanute AFB) and then back to Elmendorf when I was five. We stayed in base housing until pop retired from 23.5 years of service in 1982 and we moved to Wasilla. The family has been in Wasilla ever since.

I remember going to the flight line to watch the planes, Green Lake to go fishing, Hillburg Ski Area and snow machining all over the back of the base. The shuttle bus to anywhere on base, the pool and gym, the bowling alley, meeting pop at the hospital for lunch (he is a PA-C) all have fond memories for me.

If you are new to our area, the main website for JBER info is here.

If you would like housing purchase information, it would be our pleasure to assist you in purchasing your new home. Our website has a direct link into the MLS and has the most current and up to date information available. Our website is here.

Some other sites to look at are as follows:

Elmendorf Officers’ Spouses’ Organization

Commissary hours and info

JBER Services and Recreation

Hillburg Ski Area

My pop, John B Henley II (AKA Skip) is an E-9 Commissioned, Purple Heart Decorated, stationed everywhere from AK, CA, OH, IL, TX and even Tripoli Libya, survivor of Vietnam and just an all around cool guy. He still works with veterans as a private contractor and he really enjoys being active within the military community.  Yeah, I am biased but what can I say?


When is it Appropriate to Call Clients After Midnight? When the Northern Lights are OUT in Wasilla Alaska!

When is it Appropriate to Call Clients After Midnight? When the Northern Lights are OUT in Wasilla Alaska!

Although I was born in Alaska, I always get excited to see natures paintbrush, the Northern Lights. Larry is more on the Cheechako side only being in state for only 20 years and he also runs outside when we see them. Last night was no exception!


While taking the poodle (Tana) out one last time, I looked up and saw the amazing and vivid lime green in the sky and immediately yelled for Larry. Then we started dialing the phone. Clients, friends, family, NO ONE is safe from that 1AM through 4AM call.

We woke up everyone from clients including this small sampling-

A wonderful family that just moved up from the lower 48, staying in Billeting at Elmendorf / Ft Richardson until their new home in Palmer closes. That was a fun call-imagine Larry calling saying “Don’t fire us over this, but the Northern Lights are out and we thought your family would want to see them.” You bet!

A dynamic couple that recently moved out from Anchorage. She had only been in Alaska about a year and has not seen the Northern Lights yet.

A seemingly reserved gentleman (only until you get to know him and realize you have the same wicked sense of humor) that is also moving to Wasilla from Eagle River.

My cousins that recently moved up to Alaska from LaGrange Indiana. They drove up into the mountains to see the Northern Lights shine and dance!

We also have some fantastic friends that we had on the Northern Lights phone tree tradition when they moved to Wasilla from Kansas. THEY texted us this time!

My parents started this phone tree tradition when I was little alerting out friends to ‘go outside’ and the tradition has not stopped. The simple rules were that if they do not answer, it is OK. They probably will answer your 3AM call next time because now they know what they are missing. Don’t apologize, the Northern Lights are beautiful and once they see them you will understand. It does not matter how old you get or what time of the morning it is, you BETTER call us when you see them!

It does not all have to be about helping people buy and sell property. For us, we very much enjoy sharing our Alaska with our clients, friends and family. This is one example of something silly we do to share our love of our area. If we missed you and you would like to be on our Northern Lights phone tree, just drop us a line and let us know!

When is it Appropriate to Call Clients After Midnight? When the Northern Lights are OUT in Wasilla Alaska!

Jacque & Larry

If you read our previous post, NO food coloring was used in these photos! If you missed it, here is a list of some you might take a look at.

Jacque & Larry


Springtime in Alaska, With Food Coloring   -or-   Cabin Fever in Alaska

Frostbite Footrace, Snowshoe Softball, Snow Sculptures and Dog Races, OH MY!

Good Morning Wasilla Alaska, Sunrise in February

Iron Dog, What is an Iron Dog?

Nearly 7000 SF Home with an Indoor Pool in Alaska. Really? $449,900

It is Not What You Buy but What is in Your Heart That Matters for Valentines

Home Inventory Checklist, an Easy Solution 

Spontaneous Combustion, It Could Happen to You or Your Clients

Offer Goes up in Smoke, Literally!

Alaska Foreclosures-How to Show an Igloo in Alaska  So, if Your Friends Jumped off a Bridge, Would You Too?

Homes for Sale in the Colony Middle School Boundary Map Palmer Alaska Area

Homes for Sale in the Colony High School Boundary Map Palmer Alaska Area 

Wasilla Alaska Population

International Order, How many Igloos Can I get?

Thank you for visiting and sharing ‘Our Alaska’ with us!

Jacque & Larry

Home Inventory Checklist-An EASY Solution

Home Inventory Checklist-an EASY Solution

This weeks theme is ON FIRE!

Do you have a proper home inventory checklist?

What would happen if your home were burglarized, caught fire or was in some other catastrophic even? In an earlier blog, Spontaneous Combustion, we wrote about some very good friends that lost their home to fire and another friend (with the client hat on) that, on the day after his offer was accepted, it burned down Accepted Offer Goes Up in Smoke-LITERALLY!

If you had proper warning, what would you save? What would you miss the most?Would you be able to list all the furniture, important documents, computers and electronic info all the way down to how many spatulas you would have to replace? Bath rugs? How many picture frames did you have on the wall. It may sound silly to think about these kind of things but it all adds up. If you have attended a wedding recently, think about the gift registries and how expensive it is to start a home!

Why not take this time and use this friendly reminder to hug your loved ones and then take an inventory of your home. At least that way if this ever happens to you or your loved ones, you will have an idea of what to expect.
Take the time to ‘save’ your possessions now. Make a home inventory checklist. Write down descriptions of your items and take photos.
Let the local police departments know the directions to your home all the way down to the color of home and the real directions of how to get there. Keep the driveway plowed and free of snow (an Alaska thing) and do not panic if you have to call. When in doubt call 911 and speak clearly. Every second counts and you have to give the dispatchers all the information possible so they can send help right away.

One option that we have run across is Know Your Stuff home inventory. This is a free service provided by the Insurance Information Institute. There is a video on the Know Your Stuffsite that explains a bit bore on the process on the site but, essentially, it walks you through a computerized home inventory process. You can add rooms, change and maintain your home inventory. There is even a maintenance calendar where you can set up reminders via text or email messages.When you go through the inventory checklist process, it allows you to go through your home room by room, piece by piece. You do not have to complete the task all at once. You can add items or skip through rooms with ease. It even allows you to print out your home inventory checklist.

The inventory information you save at Know Your Stuff is stored on remote servers and is accessible from any computer.

Don’t get caught in the emotions and grief in an emergency situation. With all the confusion of the fire trucks, the fire restoration folks, the insurance company, the neighbors and the scanner chasers, confusion and disbelief are the dominating emotions. Take the time now, even it it is one room at a time or one room a week, to invest in your home inventory checklist.

There are so many things to consider and a little planning and preparation WILL help.
Larry & Jacque

Wasilla Foreclosures on the Rise

Wasilla Foreclosures on the Rise

Now that we are at the end of the year it’s a great time to look at some trends in the Wasilla Real Estate market. Let’s take a look at what’s happening with Wasilla Foreclosures.The statistics shown here actually represent all of the Mat-Su Borough foreclosures.VIEW ALL MAT-SU FORECLOSURES

Currently there are 42 active foreclosure listings with approximately 4 months of inventory.There have been 9 foreclosures sales reported as of Dec 28th for the month of December 2010.The graph shown demonstrates what the Wasilla Foreclosure market has done since November 2007.

Wasilla Foreclosures on the Rise

To put this into perspective we need to compare the Wasilla Foreclosure inventoryto the rest ofthe real estate market.When comparing months of inventory on the market over the past 36 months we see that the average home in all price ranges usually falls between 7 to 10 months based on the rate of sales.

The Wasilla Foreclosure inventory often falls between 2 to 4 months.These homes are getting absorbed into the market place at a much higher rate.As the rate of new Wasilla foreclosures increase they become more of a threat to the normal home seller who has to compete with the foreclosure market.

The Wasilla area has not been hit with the decline of the real estate market like much of the country.However we certainly have not been immune to its effect.Since 2006 values have remained relatively stable in the lower price ranges.As price points increase so has the decline in values.

In the past 12 months there have been 1163 home sales.The foreclosures represented 143 of those sales or 12% of the Wasilla area Real Estate Market.The proceeding 12 months resulted in 1156 home sales with 121 or 10% of them being foreclosures.With foreclosure inventory climbing, the result will be an increased percentage of foreclosures making up the total volume of closes home sales in the Mat-Su Valley.

If you are in the market to purchase a home or need advice on how to get the most out of your existing home give Larry and Jacque Ficek a call.We can be reached at 907-373-8000 or toll free at 1-877-373-1020 ext 1

All Wasilla Area Homes Last 12 Months

Wasilla Population

Wasilla Population

We are often asked what the population of Wasilla is.  The question is more easily asked then explained.  The easy answer that you will get from the search engines is somewhere around 7,000 (for 2009).  This answer is specific to the number of people who live within the City Limits of Wasilla.

This answer might be technically correct, but our reality is a bit different.  We call Wasilla our home, along with thousands more that do not live within the boundary lines of the Wasilla City limits.  The real Wasilla population is spread over many miles.  If you were searching for Wasilla real estate , the search would cover an area that stretches from Trunk Road and over a dozen miles going up Knik Goose Bay Road.

A great resource for what’s going on in Alaska is the Alaska Trends Magazine produced by the state.  December’s issue discussed what is happening with the population in Alaska.  You can find information on the Wasilla population including the Mat Su Borough Data starting on page 12.  DECEMBER 2009 TRENDS MAGAZINE.  The total Mat-Su Borough population is over 80,000.

These populations numbers are estimates but the data comes from sources like who is getting their permanent fund check, (Alaska Dividend check paid to residents each year).  Since the incentive to get this check from the State is so great, the population estimates are better than most states.  The amount paid in 2010 was $1281 per resident.

The Wasilla population is expected to continue to grow.  The area has a several factors that contribute to its popularity.  Home prices are more affordable compared to other parts of Alaska.  There is still a large amount of undeveloped privately owned land for future home sites.  The local climate is tempered due its proximity to the salt waters of Cook Inlet.

Many chain stores have invested Millions of dollars into the local Wasilla economy.  In the last few years we’ve  seen stores like Target, Lowes, Home Depot and even more recently the Wasilla Red Robin open their doors.  In 2011 we are expecting completion of a new multi-plex movie theatre.    Although Wasilla doesn’t offer as many choices in dining and retail as Anchorage,  it has come a long way in the past few years. As the Wasilla Population continues to grow so will the choices we have come to see.

Wasilla Realtors


Did you know that not all real estate licensees in Alaska are not REALTORS®  ? If you are interviewing real estate licensees to assist you in the purchase of your next home the sale of your existing one you may want to ask them if they are a REALTOR® .

What’s the difference?  Well, probably the biggest differance between a REALTOR®  and someone that holds a real estate license that isn’t a REALTOR®  is the code of ethics set forth by the National Association of Realtors.

In the Wasilla Real Estate Market not all real estate licensees participate as a REALTOR®  member.  It is not necessary for a real estate licensee to be a REALTOR®  in order to sell real estate.  Those that choose not to be REALTOR®  are not governed by a strict code of ethics that REALTORS must use in dealings with one another and the public.

If you want a REALTOR®  to represent you on your next real estate transaction,  you can SEARCH for local Wasilla Realtors here.

Homes for Sale in the Colony High School Boundary Map Palmer Alaska Area


As Realtors in the Palmer and Wasilla area we are often asked to see what homes within the different school boundary lines.  This can be done in several different ways.  One way to search this is by using the school information in the listing detail, but this often not filled in by the listing licensee as it takes time to figure out what school a home is located in and it is not a required MLS data field.

Our intention here is to help make searching homes for sale within the Colony High School boundary easier.  The boundary lines for Colony High School are very irregular.  There are no set lines in which to search from.

Often the listing licensee uses BTV (buyer to verify) for the school district or simply assumes that the school is the nearest one. Due to the irregular lines of the map (for school population we were told) this is not necessarily the case.

Searching just by the MLS field of ‘Colony High’ often does not show all of the homes in the boundary and often had the wrong information. Before we created this searching tool, we would have to verify each home by hand.

We have created a map in which to search homes for sale in the Colony High School boundary area in Palmer.  These lines are approximate and should be verified with the school district and transportation department.  We followed the boundary lines from the 2010 to 2011 Colony High School boundary map.

Please note that the homes here are specific to Colony High School and may include or exclude homes located within the boundary lines of Colony Middle School.

For more information on homes for sale in the Colony Middle School boundary area, please visit our map of homes located within the Colony Middle School boundaries.

If you see an error in any property we would appreciate a call or an e-mail to help keep this information as accurate as possible.


*buyer to verify

Homes for Sale in the Colony Middle School Boundary Map Palmer Alaska


As Realtors in the Palmer Wasilla area we are often asked to see what homes are for sale within the different school boundary lines.  This can be done in several different ways.  One way to search this is by using the school school field in the search parameters.  This detail is often over looked by the listing licensee or the listing licensee feels there is too much liability involved in the event it is incorrect .  So what we commonly see in this field is “Buyer to Verify” instead of the school it is in.   This makes if very difficult in isolating the homes for sale in specific school districts.

Our intention here is to help make searching for a home for sale easier within the Colony Middle School boundary.  The boundary lines for Colony Middle  School are very irregular.  There is not set lines in which to search from.  We have taken the time to create a map search of homes for sale located within the boundary lines.

While we have done our best to trace the boundary area we realize there may be errors.  Here is the link to the boundary map from the school district. Please help us keep this information as accurate as possible in the event you notice a home that does not belong within the Colony Middle School boundary area.

Do not make a purchasing decision on the school information provided.  Our advice is to verify this information with the school district transportation department.  The boundary lines we used were from the 2010 to 2011 Colony Middle School boundary map.

Please note that the homes here are specific to Colony Middle School and may include or exclude homes located within the boundary lines of Colony High School.  Please visit our map of homes located within the Colony Middle School boundaries by clicking link located at the bottom or top of this page.


*buyer to verify

Larry and Jacque Ficek
Alaska Dream Makers

Direct: (907) 373-8000
Toll Free: (877) 291-0887
Fax: (888) 818-6183
[email protected]
[email protected]

Mailing Address
PO Box 870276
Wasilla AK 99687

3751 S Well Site Rd.
Wasilla, Alaska 99654