***Disclaimer- All FAQ advice is specific to transactions in the state of Alaska.
First and foremost, it's important to understand that different offices and even different licensees within an organization offer different levels of representation. Your level of representation matters! During your very first meeting, your licensee should explain how/if they are currently representing you, what duties they owe you, and have you sign an Alaska Real Estate Disclosure. Typically, most home sellers, at initial listing, are working with their licensee as a Designated License. Throughout the listing process your degree of representation has potential to change, be sure to understand what duties are owed to you throughout the evolving real estate transaction.
1.Specific Assistance- YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED
The beginning of each real estate encounter begins with Specific Assistance until you choose representation. This is typically the licensee responding to your request for information. Just like representation, there are important facts about Specific Assistance which are also outlined on the AREC Disclosure. A critical fact to remember is that information you provide the licensee is not confidential.
2.Neutral License- YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED
A neutral licensee is working for consumers on both sides of the transaction, but not representing either consumer. However, if the consumers authorize, the licensee may offer professional advice and assist both parties in reaching agreements.
In this situation, there are 10 specific duties the licensee owes the consumer. These duties are explained in detail on the AREC Disclosure, but be sure to note that #10 is the only duty that differs from the duties as a Representative.
3.Designated License- YOU ARE REPRESENTED
In this situation, the licensee represents you and you alone in the transaction. You receive all duties owed through representation, as shown on the AREC Disclosure. Remember: There may be a licensee from the same office as your designated licensee assisting the other side of the transaction, but this may differ from office to office.
Refer to this helpful blog post to always understand your level of representation.
The simple answer: Real estate agents, called licensees in Alaska, are experts in all aspects of the housing market for the area. We speak the language of real estate, know the area, understand the contracts, and know the typical expenses associated with each transaction. Our knowledge could help you save money, not just in negotiation, but in all aspects of the transaction. Don’t pay for or stress over things unnecessarily, use a real estate licensee and be in the know!
If you’re looking to sell your home, a real estate licensee can help you find the right price point (hint: it’s not by looking at Zillow) by completing a market analysis. Not sure what that is? Learn more here. We also know the best ways to market your home in the area and have access to marketing platforms that you don’t. When it comes to negotiation, your real estate licensee will use their knowledge and experiences to get you the best deal possible for the situation. They are also contract experts, and will supply appropriate contracts to make sure the sale is completed with the guidelines of the state in mind, because all states have different rules. This is a common area where many overpay, because they don’t understand the typical costs associated with the area. You can also expect them to guide you through all the road blocks along the way. Even if you’ve had success selling on your own in the past, each sale is different, and a great real estate licensee can use their experiences and expertise to guide you through.
Looking to buy a home? You’ll absolutely want to have a real estate licensee. In a typical transaction, you won’t even pay for the services you receive. Your licensee can give you access to the MLS, so you’ll see information that others don’t, and even get alerts when something new comes on the market that you may have interest in. Often, in the Kodiak area, licensees are sometimes aware of other properties that may be coming on the market in the future. After you find the right fit, your licensee will help you write an offer and use their negotiation and area knowledge to get you the best deal possible for your situation. After you have an accepted offer, they can guide you through the next steps, and will work directly with your lender and the title company to get your new home closed. Their goal is to always make your home buying process as stress free as possible.
The MLS is short for “Multiple Listing Service”. A home on the MLS is listed with a real estate company, and often the best way to reach potential buyers. The MLS can be found nation-wide and offer thorough information about properties listed, including documents such as seller disclosures, which are not available on other sites. Only real estate licensees paying fees and participating in the MLS system have access to all property details, but they are often able to share limited access with interested individuals. If you have interest in searching the MLS for properties available in the state of Alaska, start here!
A listing licensee is the term given to the real estate licensee that has a home listed for sale. A selling licensee is the real estate licensee that procures a buyer for a home. In many transactions the real estate licensee will only be either the selling licensee or listing licensee, but in some cases, they can be both. It’s also important to remember that licensees can switch roles in each new transaction, so if they were the selling licensee for one, they may be the listing licensee for the next.
However, the most important point to remember is that a listing licensee and selling licensee are not the indicator in how you are being represented in the transaction. In the state of Alaska, you will be asked to sign a disclosure any time you are working with a real estate licensee, which discloses how you are being represented. Have questions about representation? Learn more here.
FSBO stands for “For Sale By Owner”. These are home owners attempting to sell their home without a REALTOR®. It is important to note that some sellers are willing to work with a REALTOR® in some capacity. Typically, we see this when a buyer wishes to be represented in a FSBO transaction. However, from time to time, a FSBO seller will find a buyer and ask a REALTOR® to step in and facilitate the transaction.
Don’t worry, there is a simple explanation for this, and no, it’s not that the licensee is lying to you. Some licensees work with Zillow to find clients interested in properties; these are called premier agents. Sometimes those properties are not listed by real estate companies but are FSBOs instead. Zillow will typically first list the contact information for the listing company, then the premier agent or other licensees are listed next. In cases where there is no listing company, just the licensee(s) working with Zillow are listed, followed by the seller’s information. The contact information for the owners will be in a less obvious area of the website. However, licensees can still help you when they are not the listing licensee, so don’t be afraid to contact them!
Imagine you are looking for a great restaurant recommendation. Would you consult someone who lives in the area and has been to the restaurant, or someone who has never been to your area, or the restaurant? Unfortunately, Zillow does not always provide accurate information. Zillow has never been to the area, never set foot in a home, and has no idea how to quantify the features of each unique home, particularly in Alaska (a non-disclosure state).
Pricing your home properly requires the touch of an expert. Real estate licensees have the most access to real sale values of homes. Real estate licensees know the area, can walk through your home and provide comparable sales data and advice on what you can do to best market your home. This offers a much more comprehensive value analysis for your home. Your real estate licensee can also guide you in pricing strategies throughout the process of selling your home.
Bottom line, the best way to price your home is to contact a real estate licensee in the area, they’ll do the rest!
An appraisal is an assessment, performed by a licensed appraiser, stating the value of a property. It should be noted, that the value of a home assigned by an appraiser may be different than the anticipated sale value of a home given by a real estate licensee. Appraisers use similar tools as licensed real estate licensees, such as comparable properties, property location, and function to determine the value, but their assessment is for current value, not the value a ready, willing, and able buyer is willing to pay. The current value offered by an appraiser can be used a few different ways:
The best time to put your home on the market depends on your personal situation. For instance, if you’re relocating for a new job in three months, the best time is immediately. A typical transaction in the Kodiak Island area takes around two months to close, from the offer to the closing. Therefore, you’ll want to leave enough time for buyers to find your home and make an offer. Perhaps you don’t have a specific timeline to, then the best time to put your home on the market is when your home is ready. That means both interior and exterior are in great condition and ready for showings. For those who are unable to spruce up their home, the question then becomes not, “what the best time is” but, “what the best price is”.
Typically, in the Kodiak Market, most homes sell in the summer months. Part of this is due to the influx of new arrivals onto the island, part is due to the number of homes ready in the summer months (remember, sprucing tends to be easier when it’s warmer), and there are fewer holidays and school functions in the summer (holidays and the beginning/ end of school tend to slow buyers down).
Don’t forget, you want the star of the showing to be your home, not your pets! If you’re not able to remove the pet(s) for the showing, be sure to keep them in a secured area, and let the licensee know where they are. Additionally, all pets can be unpredictable, be certain you have pet liability insurance in case any mishaps do occur during a showing.
***Disclaimer- All FAQ advice is specific to transactions in the state of Alaska.