Selling a home is rewarding as well as complex. With state and local regulations governing the sale, along with potential legal issues, there are a number of things you need to know before selling your home.
Why a Real Estate Agent?
Selling a home on your own means an overwhelming amount of work and attention to details. A real estate agent can determine your home’s true market value by comparing similar homes in your immediate area. An agent can effectively market your home to willing and able buyers.
Finding a Real Estate Agent
Locate a licensed Alaska real estate agent at IQRealEstate.com or by asking for referrals from other professionals. Look for a resourceful and dedicated agent with a proven record of success.
Your Listing Agreement
There are three kinds of real estate listings agreements.
- Open listing: The owner retains the right to sell the home and pays no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: Used for a sale by owner. The owner executes a listing agreement with a broker if he or she is the cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
How to Set the Price
Your agent generally determines your selling price by comparing the sales prices of similar homes within a quarter mile or half mile of your home. Other factors such as proximity to schools, markets, freeways and neighborhood dividing lines are also considerations.
Contents of Your Listing Agreement
Listing agreements involve many details, including:
- Duration of the agreement
- Marketing the home
- Preparation of the purchase agreement
- Presenting and showing the house
- Representation at closing
What Disclosures are Required
State law requires that the seller provide certain disclosures, including defects in the home’s structure. Defects include information regarding issues such as:
- Environmental concerns
- Utility costs
- Setbacks and restrictions
- Lead-based paint
- Sewer-waste water treatment
Failure to disclose known defects or to make other required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. Home sellers are required to use the Alaska Residential Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement.
An offer is an agreement to pay a specified price based on certain terms and conditions, and it has a time limit. It's not a legally binding contract until the seller accepts the offer and all its material terms, then notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents different terms or conditions.
After an offer is agreed on, the buyer deposits funds into an escrow account, secures mortgage approval, arranges a home inspection, and follows state and local regulations regarding the property transfer.
Preparing a Purchase Agreement
A real estate purchase agreement is a legally binding contract. It includes terms and conditions such as:
- The identities of the parties
- A description of the property
- Price and financing terms
- Items included in the sale
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
Post-Contract Issues and Negotiations
If an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you pay to remedy the defect or lower the purchase price so the transaction can still go forward.
The close of escrow involves various events, such as:
- The buyer signs a promissory note.
- Seller and buyer split escrow costs.
- Seller signs the deed over to the buyer.
- Mortgage balance and closing costs are paid.
- The deed is recorded on the day escrow closes.
As the seller, you don't have to be present at the closing, as long as all costs and fees are paid and all documents are signed in advance. You will typically have to turn the keys over to the buyer the same day if the deed is recorded that day.
Get Legal Help
This is only an introduction to selling a house in Alaska. State real estate laws are complex, and laws and regulations differ in each state, so sellers should consult with an attorney familiar with state real estate laws and regulations.