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How to Sell Your Home in Anchorage - FAQs
How do I sell my home in Anchorage, AK?
Here are the three steps you can take to sell your home in Anchorage, Alaska. I am a long time Alaskan Realtor® with experience in Anchorage real estate sales for over 12 years. You can read about me and my history in Alaska here on my Meet Realtor Dan Benton page.
Step 1 – Call or Text Me Today at (907) 727-5279
Make an appointment to list your home. I will prepare a CMA (Competitive Market Analysis) of your home's worth to help you decide the listing price. I will also write the listing agreement for you to sign at the listing appointment. Here is a link to the State of Alaska's Property Disclosure form. You are required to fill this form out when selling your home in Alaska. It must be filled out as completely as possible, and must be initialed and dated at the bottom of each page. You may want to save yourself time by filling it out before our listing appointment. During this time, you may also prepare your home for photos, if you are ready.
Step 2- Meet With Me
I will meet with you to review the results of the CMA I will have prepared for your home. You can make the decision on the listing price with the information I bring you. I can provide you with the current market conditions, what homes like yours are listed for and what homes like yours have sold for, in order to come to an agreed listing price.
At this time I can have your home photographed, or schedule a later time to come back to take photos. I will also give you several printouts that explain how I will market your home and get it shown to as many agents and buyers as possible.
Please be aware, that you may call, email, or text me any time you have any questions or concerns about your home sale. I am here to help!
Step 3 – Prepare Your Home for Listing
Whether you are ready for buyers right away, or need some extra time, you should keep in mind these general guideleines for home sellers. (These aren't requirements, but just suggestions that may help convince buyers to buy your home instead of someone else's)
De-clutter – Open clear spaces make rooms seem larger. Buyers also like to imagine what they would do with a room if it was theirs. Seeing your personal items may disrupt this process.
Reduce – Have less furniture and accessories. Avoid filling each room up. Again, less things in a room make it seem larger. This is a very important factor in selling homes with smaller rooms.
Clean, Clean, Clean – Even if you cannot afford fancy new features, a clean home is usually a sold home. Buyers do not want to see dirt or grease on anything. The best thing you can do to get your home sold faster is to clean it as if you are expecting very important guests.
Re-paint if needed – Buyers may not like the same colors as you, so it's safer to go with neutral coloring. Also, stay away from dark colors and stains, as they tend to make rooms look smaller.
Remove or restrain pets – If you are concerned with a pet getting loose or distracting the buyers, have them stay with family, friends or in an outdoor kennel during showing hours. Even the friendliest pets may distract the buyers from imagining themselves buying your home.
Remove or lock away valuables – Thieves have been known to steal things from both open houses and personal showings. It is impossible for any agent to know they may be bringing a potential thief into your home and your home may be shown my dozens of agents.
De-personalize - Buyers can more easily imagine themselves buying your home if they didn't have to see pictures of you and your family on the walls. Personal photos, cherished keepsakes, sports memorabilia, etc. need to be taken down. You can buy generic wall art from department stores or just leave the walls as a blank canvas for your buyers to imagine how they would like to decorate them.
Let It Be – If you cannot repair or replace any broken or missing things in your home, DO NOT EVER try to conceal it – State law requires complete honesty on the Property Disclosure Form. If you know about it you must disclose it. Damaged or missing items will most likley be found during the buyer's home inspection anyway. In the end, buyers are usually willing to negotiate needed repairs and may even be willing to buy a home as-is, as long as the needed repair doesn't affect their financing requirements.
How Much Will It Cost to Sell My Home?
In order to sell your home, you will need to pay for two things up-front: the repairs (if needed) and the appraisal. If your home has a septic tank instead of city sewer, you have the additional third cost of a new COSA certificate to pay for up-front.
A lot of repairs may be negotiated between you and the buyers within the sales contract or added addendums/amendments. However, certain repairs may be required by the bank in order for your home to qualify for a loan. This isn't just with the bank your buyers are getting a loan from. Many FHA, VA, Alaska Housing, or other loan programs require that ALL banks that use their programs finance only homes that meet their requirements. If you are unable or unwilling to make the repairs, it may leave your home only available to cash buyers, which usually pay pennies on the dollar because they are buying to “flip”.
The other up-front cost of selling a home is the home appraisal. In Alaska, sellers pay the appraisal fee. An appraiser is scheduled to look at your home and view it's condition and come up with a report which details what the appraiser thinks it's worth and how he or she arrived at that amount. The cost of the appraisal is paid before any sale closes. Basic appraisal fees go for about $400. Home appraisal fees vary.
For homes with septic tanks, sellers pay for a COSA (certificate of on-site systems approval) certificate. Old certificates expire after a year, so you cannot use an old certificate to sell a home with a septic tank. COSA certificates usually cost between $1200 and $2000 depending on the tanks condition, access to the tanks, etc. Actual cost varies from home to home.
Are there other costs to sell my home?
Other costs may include: Commissions for both the listing and selling agents, loan pre-payment fees if your mortgage has them, judgements or liens on your home, unpaid HOA dues, title insurance and more depending on the offer you accept.
Many costs are usually split between you and the buyer, such as: Statement and reconveyance fees, HOA document fee, HOA move-out fee, HOA move-in fee, Notary, courier, recording fees, escrow fee, and home warranty.
The costs the buyer pays include: Pre-sale inspection reports, inspection reports, loan points, loan fees, homeowner's insurance, and mortgage insurance.
On commissions, you pay both the listing agent (who lists your home for sale) and selling agent (who sells it to their buyer). In many places, the selling agent charges their own clients, but here in Alaska, both fees are paid by the seller. The standard commission percentage is 6% for a single family home, with the listing agent getting 3% and the selling agent getting 3%. Whatever percentage written in the listing agreement gets split between the two agents evenly.
What happens after I list my home for sale?
There are three things that happen once your home is listed for sale.
1 - Your home appears in the MLS. Other agents can see your home's listing and offer it to their buyers. To learn more about the Alaska MLS, visit my blog article here. Once a listing is activated on the MLS, other websites with MLS syndication permission also display your listing, usually the next day. What are MLS syndication websites? Sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo Homes are syndication websites, also known as IDX websites. They are not as timely and accurate as the actual MLS, but they are formatted in a simpler, more user friendly way that is popular with web and mobile browsers.
Once the MLS starts displaying your home, I can begin the rest of my marketing strategy. Often times, a selling agent will want the MLS number, so they can print out an information sheet to give potential buyers. All marketing materials I publish will have your home listing's MLS number.
2 - A lockbox, sign, and flyer box are placed on your property. As soon as the lockbox goes up, agents can use their passcard to gain entry to show your home to potential buyers. Flyers in front of the home may also gain buyers who don't yet have an agent. Good signage is essential in helping agents and buyers find your home. A stand alone sign or window signs can be used for homes without yards.
3 – Your home is shown by agents to their clients until an offer is accepted. Once an offer is accepted it goes into pending status with the MLS. Sometimes buyers will still ask to view your home and to possibly write an offer for you to hold as a back-up offer in case the accepted offer doesn't close. In today's market, it is common for a home to get multiple competiting offers. Once your home sells and the sale successfully closes, then the MLS will change it from a pending status to a closed status. If the deal falls through, then the MLS will return your listing to active status.
Since it's a seller's market, can I sell my home for whatever I want?
Don't let Anchorage's current housing shortage fool you. Even if buyers are willing to write above asking price offers, they still need to obtain financing if they are not paying cash. If a home's worth is not appraised to the full amount of the loan, buyers will need to make up the difference in cash at closing. Many buyers do not have enough money to buy a home this way and an appraisal that comes in too far under the sales price often causes the sale to flop. It IS a seller's market, but your home listing price must still accurately reflect the home's actual worth.
Once I accept an offer, is my home sold?
Many times, getting an offer to be accepted by both parties is the easy part. The real work of selling a home may actually begin with the accepted offer. Many times, negotiations, addendums, and amendments need to be made after an offer is accepted.
An offer is actually a legal contract consisting of many things that many people are responsible for performing in order for the final sale to record. Repairs, financing, rental issues, and other unseen obstacles can prevent the sale from closing if they are not resolved before the contract expires. The listing and selling agents work together on behalf of their clients to facilitate a successful sale.
The property actually changes hands upon recording, which comes after the closing. The closing is when the paperwork is signed and the monies are exchanged by both the selling side and buying side, and it usually takes place at the title company's office.
The recording is when the change of ownership is officially entered into government records. Recording usually happens the next business day after closing. The dates for both the closing and recording are agreed to by both parties in the initial sales contract and can be changed, if needed, by a signed addendum between both parties.
What is your marketing strategy for selling my home?
I have an itemized marketing plan that is implemented within the first 7 days your listing is active in the Alaska MLS. I believe that active marketing on both websites and social media allow the best internet exposure. I have social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linked In, Storify, Flickr, and many others. I regularly use a social media tool called Hoot Suite to post links to my listings and links to my websites. When you list you home with me, I will fully report on how your home is marketed on the internet.
Some of the marketing items I perform include:
- Initial entry into the Alaska MLS
- Financing option info sheet posted and/or emailed
- MLS email to every Alaska MLS user about your home
- Webpage featured on GreatAlaskanHomes.com
- A frontpage link to your listing on AnchorageHouseSales.com
- A featured link on your home's neighborhood page on GreatAlaskanHomes.com
- Email about your home to my current buyers list.
- An image link to your listing on my Anchorage Real Estate Pinterest board
- A blog post about your home on my real estate blog
- Craigslist ads and ads on other online classifieds
- Postlets and Oodle ads which are syndicated to several other online markets
- A link to your listing in a Storify story
About Postlets and Oodle: These are internet classifieds websites which syndicate their ads to other websites. Postlets is a Zillow owned website that syndicates to their main Zillow network as well as Backpage, Enormo, FrontDoor, HotPads, Local.com, Lycos, Oodle, Overstock, Trulia, Vast, and Yahoo Homes. Oodle Marketplace syndicates to Facebook Marketplace, military.com, Lycos classifieds, local.com, backpage.com, walmart.com, googlebase, and more.
Many agents sit back and expect other third party websites such as Trulia or Zillow to pick up their listings and re-broadcast them without making an extra effort to publish the listings themselves. I hire a full time marketer to manually post your home listing on sites such as Postlets and Oodle in order to reach out and grab web traffic rather than wait for the leftovers to trickle down from Trulia and Zillow.
Whenever possible, my marketer will post about your listing on many other new websites and social media networks as the opportunity arises. The internet is an ever changing marketplace, and having an actively engaged web-savy professional on your side can get your home sold faster.