Buying a home in Alaska. What happens when I make an offer on a property? How long does it take before its mine? When can I move in? Or if you are selling a property, when am I supposed to move out? How long until I have the money? Oh so many questions! Here is the process with abbreviated descriptions.
How to move forward when buying a home in Alaska.
Make an offer or if you are selling your property, Receive an offer – now what?
Once an offer is made/received, there needs to be agreement. This is the purchase price, timing, financing, and can be certain particulars about the offer. This is not the time to discuss repairs, however we do outline the time frame the Buyer has to have the home inspected and request repairs. Once agreement here at this level has been accepted, and all parties have signed, we are officially under contract – PENDING sale!
Your due diligence
Buyer’s Due Diligence – this begins immediately after the signed purchase and sale agreement. IF the Buyer is going to have a home inspection, the home inspector is approved by the Seller, a date is made asap for whatever home inspections the Buyer chooses to have. The cost of the inspections are generally up to the Buyer to cover and again generally at the time services are rendered. If the inspection produces a report, that report is shared with the Sellers. Out of the inspection activity may come a repair request. This could be as simple as installing a GFCI in the kitchen, to having the frame of the home bolted to the pillars on the foundation and anything in between. Sometimes price adjustment are made as a result of the inspections and repairs requests. Also this is usually in the first two weeks after the purchase and sale agreement has been signed. As the Buyer’s Due Diligence, this is the time to really investigate anything in the area or subdivision as well as specifically this property there is to find out that could be a deal breaker. If it’s out there, you as the Buyer need to find out during this time frame.
The Appraisal for buying a home in Alaska
Once this time frame has passed (the dates are outlined in the original purchase and sale agreement) and all parties are still willing and able to move forward, we do that. The appraisal is ordered as well as the title company engaged to research the title of the property. These activities are pretty dull compared to the previous due diligence period. This is also the time frame when repairs that have been agreed upon completed and can take about 3-5 weeks. (Pre-covid 3 weeks – during covid 5 weeks+) This is also the time for Sellers to get packed up and get ready to move.
Generally speaking, the title research and the appraisal come out about the same time. Once the appraisal report is in the hands of the lender, the lender gets all final approvals. If there is any thing that comes up with the appraisal, such as a condition that needs to be met (hand railing that isn’t to code), that work and negotiation take place pretty quickly. Once everything is completed, the loan officer send everything in the file to the final unwriting process for final approvals. This can take 5 days to 4 weeks. If the loan has anything to do with RD (Rural Development) or if any of the parties are not local for signing, there can be some added time.
After the Lender receives the final approvals, the buyer will receive the final “Closing Disclosures” from the lender. When the Buyer receives this last disclosure, we are on the very tail end and its only a matter of days. Title company and lender connect for settlement statements for both the Buyers and then also for the Sellers. Your Realtor looks over the statement to make sure nothing is missed. Often the well & septic inspection is paid through the closing process, there can be other items that are paid at closing as well. Title company then reaches out to your Realtor and in some cases directly with you to schedule a time for you to sign all final documents at the Title company as your signature must be notarized on several of the forms. IN Alaska, the day after all the docs are signed by BOTH the Buyers and the Sellers, and all the funds from the Lender and the Buyer are with the title company, we record! This is when the property legal becomes the Buyers and is no longer the Sellers. This is when the Buyers can begin moving in, as in have the uhaul at the end of the driveway – get the call we’ve recorded and pull into your new home!
The Final Walkthrough
The Buyers will usually have and take opportunity to do a final walkthrough. This happens a day before signing at the title company, sometimes 2 days before and sometimes the day of signing. By this time the Sellers have completely moved out of the house and have the house exactly as it will be handed over to the Buyers when it has recorded. All final items moved out of the house and off the property and all final cleaning, garbage removal, etc. completed. This is also the time frame when you connect with your utilities to put them in your name if you are buying and out of your name if you are selling, same with land line, internet services, garbage pickup, snow removal, etc. ALSO if you are selling, you will need to contact your home owners insurance. There is nothing in the system that tells the insurance company the home will no longer be yours. I also tell my clients to tell the insurance company a day after we are suppose to record. Just in case there is a hiccup in the system, you don’t want to be uninsured at this stage of the game.
As I’m sure you can imagine there are a myriad of circumstances that come up through the process. However, the process still is generally the same. The biggest factor is the time we are now seeing for getting everything completed. Figure 6-8 weeks to get everything completed. That being said, if you want to be done with the process by the end of May, you need to be under contract by the end March. If you are selling and using just statistics, that means you need to be actively listed by February! Holy cow batman! Yep! Sooooo. What are you waiting for? Contact me! I help my clients figure out how to stage or if they should hire one, what things to fix, what things to update, to be sure your property gets picked and an offer is written sooner than later.
If you are a Buyer, to make an offer, you need to be pre-approved or pre-qualified, or very very close to that. Contact me, I can help you all the way through the process.