Starting the Search for Your Alaska Home
Finally, we’ll run you through some must-knows for a smooth and simple home buying experience in Alaska. With these tips, you’ll have a solid understanding of how the process works so you can find, finance, and close on the perfect Alaska home.
Buying a Home in Alaska: The Process from Start to Finish
First, let’s start with an overview of the process, so you know what to expect along the way.
The Home Buying Process in Alaska
1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
2. Select an Alaska real estate agent and share what you’re looking for in your Alaska home
3. View properties, both online and in person
4. Pick a home you love
5. Work closely with your agent to put in an offer
6. Negotiate with the seller and the seller’s agent until you reach an agreement
7. Go through the final details, including a home inspection, appraisal, title search, and a final walkthrough
8. Finalize your financing
9. Come to your closing, and pay all your closing costs and fees
10. The sale is officially recorded (often the next business day)
11. The sale becomes official, and you get your keys
All that’s left is to settle into your new Alaska home!
Now that you’ve got an idea of how the overall process works, let’s dig into your options for a mortgage in Alaska.
Financing Your Alaska Home
If you’ve got the finances for an all-cash purchase, you can skip this section.
Otherwise, we’d recommend starting the search for financing early—before you start looking at homes or engaging a real estate agent. Your mortgage will ultimately dictate your budget. By getting your financing in order, you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford.
Additionally, getting pre-qualified for a mortgage shows that you’re a serious buyer, which will only position you well during the process.
In Alaska, you’ll find options for conventional loans, plus a few other options buyers will want to be aware of:
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans were created to help buyers who might not qualify for conventional loans. Because these loans are insured by the federal government, lenders are able to offer perks like lower down payments, lower closing costs, and easier ways to qualify. These loans also have specific requirements and rules, including lending limits.
To learn more, talk to an FHA lender.
Alaska has the highest population of veterans in the U.S. by percentage—10%, meaning that one in 10 Alaska residents is a veteran. Both veterans and active servicemembers with 90+ days of service can qualify for VA loans.
Because these loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, lenders can offer advantages like no down payment, lower interest rates, and no need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).
For more information, visit the Veterans Affairs website.
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Options
The AHFC offers a few different programs to assist Alaska homebuyers. First-time homebuyers, owners of mobile homes or nonconforming homes, and others who don’t qualify for conventional financing may find options with the help of AHFC. (Loans are ultimately secured through an approved lender.)
Check out all of their loan programs on the AHFC website.
Next, let’s talk about a key person who’s going to guide you through much of the home buying experience.
Choosing a Local Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent has a huge impact on your sales process. While the DIY spirit is always alive and well in Alaska, this is one of those areas that we recommend leaving to a pro.
A good real estate agent can help with things like:
- Narrowing your search quickly so you don’t waste time looking at the wrong properties
- Negotiating skillfully with the seller and seller’s agent
- Offering professional guidance, based on their experience in the Alaska real estate market
- Connecting you with other professionals, like home inspectors, to assist with other aspects of your buying journey
Ideally, you’ll want to find someone with experience in the specific area in which you’re searching. That kind of hyper-local knowledge can pay off significantly.
You might also consider going with a REALTOR®. These professionals belong to a national association that requires continuing education and adherence to a specific code of ethics. Not all real estate agents choose to become REALTORS, but the designation can help an agent stand out in the crowd.
Alaska Seller’s Disclosures
Like many of the states in the lower 48, Alaska requires every seller to make a written disclosure. As you can see in this sample form from the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, each seller is asked to list property defects, repairs completed in the last five years, zoning code issues, and more.
As the buyer, you should also order your own, independent home inspection to either confirm the information in the seller’s disclosure or catch anything it missed.
If you don’t have the name of a trusted home inspector, your Alaska real estate agent can offer a recommendation.
Be Aware: Radon Risks in the Last Frontier
The Alaska Division of Public Health has identified radon as an under-recognized health risk in the state. Sellers are required to disclose known environmental hazards like radon. However, if no radon risk is indicated, it might be worth doing a test, just to make sure.
You can find out more about radon risks and testing on the Department of Natural Resources Geological & Geophysical Surveys website.
Making Your Home in Alaska
Alaska has so much to offer: pristine wilderness, breathtaking landscapes, fascinating Native culture and traditions, and interesting people with a dizzying array of experiences and stories to share. When you make your home in Alaska, you’ll enjoy all of this—and more. All that’s left is to get started—and take the first step toward finding the perfect home in Alaska.
Need help getting your belongings to your new Alaska home? We do moves to, from, and within Alaska, and we can help you get anywhere in the state. Just reach out to our team for a complimentary quote to get started.