Alaska has a unique environment – both in its spectacularly untamed landscape and in real estate. The state economy is fueled by a burgeoning tourist trade and a booming oil industry, and though the national recession slowed many property sales in the last few years, the Alaska real estate market is seeing fewer foreclosures and is already showing signs of recovering.
How to Sell Residential Property in Alaska
For those looking to sell residential property in the state, the amount of time to anticipate a sale will vary depending on the city or region. Sellers can be prepared to wait longer than usual in larger cities such as Fairbanks and Juneau where the unemployment rate and mortgage crisis hit more homes. However, in smaller cities such as Sitka that did not experience a bubble, you can expect prices and conditions to remain relatively steady.
Regardless of what city you’re selling in, it’s important to remember the top three areas that most homebuyers are looking at:
Exterior Home Condition
Many homebuyers will walk away from a home if the exterior is shabby or uninviting. Home sellers should take a quick audit of the outside of the house. Are the sidewalks or driveway cracked? Is the exterior paint chipped or weathered? Is the roof leaky? Many of these flaws can be fixed easily and should be evaluated and fixed prior to putting your home on the market.
Interior Home Condition
The condition of your home during viewings or appraisals is a contributing factor to how fast it will sell. When anticipating a showing or other appointment, your home should be spotlessly clean and tidy with no visible flaws. Nail holes, carpet stains, and other defects must be patched, cleaned or corrected. Remember, homebuyers will shy away if they feel many rooms need to be remodeled or repaired. Therefore, the home seller must take an inventory of what needs to be replaced and determine the cost versus value.
Many agents also suggest “de-personalizing” your home by removing personal items such as photos, memorabilia, etc. If you own pets, they should be contained in a separate area of the house with no evidence they live on the premises. A buyer needs to be able to envision themselves living in the home and the less clutter or distraction, the more likely it will sell.
An asking price that is either too low or too high can dramatically reduce the chances of selling your home on a timely schedule. Your agent should be familiar with the local market and provide you with local comps (home comparisons) that have sold in order to determine your asking price. Whether you take or ignore this advice is a contributing factor to the length of time the house will remain on the market.
How to Sell Recreational Property in Alaska
Due its unique landscape and lack of urban development, recreational property accounts for a large majority of real estate in Alaska. Whether looking to develop or hold for play, buyers have their choice of “untamed” properties. Unfortunately, due to the inaccessibility of many areas in remote Alaska, they can be difficult properties to sell. Debra Leisek of Broker Bay Realty in Homer, Alaska offers sellers the following advice regarding how to sell remote property in interior Alaska:
- Work with a realtor® who knows the legal access to the land and can explain to buyers if there are any seasonal limitations for crossing property as well as their rights to the property should they purchase it.
- Arial maps are extremely important as are navigation skills beyond GPS. Compass, maps and knowledge of the area are important for potential buyers planning to look at the property.
- Be prepared. Prep buyers for weather factors and possible problems. Advise proper clothing, survival gear, food, water and first aid.
- Expect to see some wildlife. Know what to do in case you come across a bear or moose with potential buyers. Be cautious and bring a gun (if you know how to use it) and/or bear spray.
- Leave behind a travel plan and make smart choices in how you are going to see the property. Travel on snow machines in the winter and four-wheelers in the summer. Make sure vehicles are in proper working order with enough fuel to get there and get back.
Whether you’re dealing with a residential home or remote recreational property, Alaska can be a unique and challenging market for selling real estate. Luckily, with the right guidance and market knowledge, it can be a painless and rewarding experience for both new and seasoned sellers.