How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Alaska?

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How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Alaska?

Bart Waldon

Selling land in Alaska can happen quickly or take several months depending on the location, demand, and market conditions. According to the Alaska Association of Realtors, the average time on the market for vacant land is 109 days as of 2022. However, parcels in more desirable areas like Anchorage generally sell faster in around 84 days while remote rural plots take longer at 146 days on average. Land that is developed, accessible by road, and has utilities connected tends to sell most rapidly. 

Recent data shows that 53% of land listings in Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna region are snapped up in less than 3 months due to high buyer demand. Yet, for remote recreation lands, the sales process can exceed 6 months, especially with larger adjoining acreage plots of over $100k. No matter what type of land you are looking to offload, having the price appropriately aligned with market value and working with an experienced real estate agent are key to selling land quicker in Alaska’s diverse marketplace.

Key Factors That Impact Time to Sell Land in Alaska

Location and Accessibility

Given Alaska's massive size and varied terrain, location and accessibility are major determinants for how quickly land sells. Property near populated cities and boroughs tend to sell faster while remote parcels with minimal infrastructure require much longer timeframes. Difficult access whether by road, air or sea also decreases marketability.

Land Use and Natural Resources

The natural resources on and underneath the land impact value dramatically. For example, parcels suitable for hunting, fishing, mining or drilling will garner high demand especially among commercial buyers. However, land preservation and ownership disputes around public lands can slow sales.

Permitting and Regulation

Alaska has complex regulations around land use permits, mineral rights, native corporation lands and more. Ensuring correct titling and disclosures is mandatory before selling land or risk major fines. Permit approval times can range from 90 days to over a year.

Weather and Development Costs

Harsh weather with long winters and short summers makes land development expensive in Alaska which must be incorporated into listing price. Furthermore, winter freeze over of transport routes complicates showings and closings.

Local Economy and Demographics

Alaska has major industries like oil, fishing, tourism and mining that inflate land prices during boom times but crash values when declining. Changes in state population and tax revenue also impact real estate markets, especially in Anchorage.

How Long Does it Typically Take to Sell Land in Alaska?

Given these unique conditions, it typically takes 1-2 years to sell most vacant land in Alaska. However, with the right pricing, positioning and effective marketing, parcels located near major cities or with rich natural resources may sell in as little as 6 months.

Conversely, remote wilderness tracts or lands with restrictions or usability issues may take over 3-5 years to find buyers unless sold at a steep discount.

Factors That Speed Up Sales

Desirable Location

Parcels within 1 hour drive of Anchorage or other boroughs sell fastest, some in just weeks with competitive bidding. Being on road system is a huge plus.

Valuable Natural Resources

Oil, gas, mineral or timber rights attract commercial buyers quickly even in remote areas through niche channels.

Flexibility in Price

The willingness to lower prices below regional comps incentivizes buyers and realtors to act quickly, securing sales within six months.

Aggressive Multi Channel Marketing

Utilizing digital ads and targeted outreach campaigns brings in buyers nationally, helping sell in under a year.

Factors That Slow Down Sales

No Road Access

Inability to drive or transport equipment/structures to land drastically reduces pool of buyers unless air/water transport options.

Use Restrictions

Conservation easements, deed restrictions, zoning barriers limit land uses, diminishing interest unless priced very low.

Back Taxes or Legal Issues

Any liens, title problems, boundary disputes, unpaid taxes must be resolved before selling which delays process by 6 months+.

Overpricing Based on Emotion

Owners often over-value land based on what they invested vs. actual market value, keeping it unsold for years.

Limited Local Economy

In remote areas with declining economies, few businesses exist to support development, slowing sales over 2-3 years.

Tips to Sell Land Faster in Alaska

Price Aggressively 

Get recent comps from title companies and reduce price 10-20% below other comparable lots in the area. Be flexible on offers.

Highlight Valuable Attributes 

Tout features like lake frontage, mountain views, drilling potential, etc. Get surveys proving assets to demand premium price.

Market Locally and Nationally 

Use digital ads targeted regionally and nationally combined with trade publications and industry events.

Be Responsive 

Follow up on all inquiries within 1-2 days. Be flexible on showings given remote access issues. Provide detailed disclosures.

Consider Land Buyers

Sell for cash to trusted land buying companies like Land Boss to save time and fees selling traditionally.

By following these best practices on valuation, listing visibility and buyer engagement, land can sell in Alaska potentially in under a year. However, owners need to properly set expectations given potential development costs and market fluctuations.

Working with a company like Land Boss can provide fair cash offers, allowing faster sales so land owners can move on to their next chapter rather than waiting years to sell on the traditional market. With over 100 land transactions over 5 years, Land Boss has the knowledge and resources to buy properties as-is and handle all closing costs for a simplified, faster process vs selling through agents.

Final Thoughts

Selling vacant land in Alaska poses unique timing considerations compared to other states given its remote location, weather, lack of infrastructure in areas, and complex regulations. While parcels in boroughs and with rich natural resources may sell in under a year, most properties will languish 1-2+ years on market unless priced aggressively and marketed locally and nationally. Land owners must set pricing and expectations accordingly, utilizing best practices around land improvements, multi-channel outreach campaigns and consistent buyer engagement. Alternatively, those seeking to sell land quickly can fetch fair cash offers from trusted land buying companies like Land Boss, avoiding longer traditional sale timeframes. With flexibility and persistence, land eventually sells in Alaska but typically not overnight. Assessing options for faster sale through pricing adjustments or guaranteed cash offers allows owners to weigh tradeoffs around time vs money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to sell land in Alaska?

The costs to sell land in Alaska often add up to 10-15% of the total sales price. Key expenses include:

  • Realtor commissions: 5-7% of the final sale price
  • Title transfer fees and closing costs: 1-3%
  • Appraisals: $300-$500 for vacant land
  • Minor land improvements like grading access roads or clearing brush: $2,000-$5,000
  • Legal fees if resolving title issues or back taxes: $1000 - $5000+

To save on fees, selling directly to a land buying company brings cash offers without commissions or closing costs.

What information do I need to provide to list land for sale?

Crucial details to have ready include:

  • Legal description, plot maps, boundary surveys
  • Disclosure on any easements, title issues, liens
  • Mineral, water, timber rights documentation
  • Permits for sewage, utilities, zoning permissions
  • Access details like frontage roads, trail infrastructure
  • Recent appraisal or nearby comparable sales
  • List of property assets like waterfront, views, natural resources

Providing these details upfront ensures a smooth sale process.

How do I determine an asking price for remote land in Alaska?

Since most remote parcels have few direct comps, expanding your comparable search to properties with similar topography, resources and barriers within the region provides a good price gauge. Reduce pricing 5-15% below other listings that have been on market over 6 months without offers to attract buyer interest. Being flexible to negotiate even lower is key.

What marketing strategies help sell Alaskan land faster?

Visibly marketing the listing in local and regional MLS databases coupled with print advertising in Alaska Dispatch News, The Anchorage Press or publications in the nearest city drives in-state interest. For out-of-state reach, online listings on Zillow, Trulia and combined with targeted digital ads focused on land buyers help gain more visibility to sell faster.

Should I consider offers from land buying companies?

Cash offers from local land buying companies often make the most sense for those prioritizing convenience, speed and cost savings over maximum sale price. Reputable buyers like Land Boss provide fair market value offers at closing without waiting months or years for private buyers. After paying liens, back taxes and fees, the net proceeds benefit land owners seeking an easier exit strategy.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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