How to Sell Land by Owner in Alaska?

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How to Sell Land by Owner in Alaska?

Bart Waldon

With over 100 million acres of land, much of it untouched wilderness, Alaska presents major potential for landowners selling raw, undeveloped property on their own. Land prices ride high as demand rises faster than available private land inventory can keep pace. The state's Department of Natural Resources confirms more than a million acres currently open to new buyers. And values exceed national averages, with Department of Revenue data tagging typical pricing at $3,000 an acre in 2022. Of course, depending on amenities like road access or natural resources, prices swing wildly for different parcels. For current owners scouting the open frontier’s property markets, ample opportunities await those investing some legwork. Learning the lay of the local land, then preparing one’s acreage properly for sale, independent deals can readily deliver profits on par with the Last Frontier’s legends.

Understanding the Alaska Land Market

The state of Alaska is unique in that over 60% of its land is owned by the state and federal government, with only around 30 million acres in private ownership. Much of this privately held land is concentrated near major cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau or in remote regions accessible only by bush plane.

Demand for private land parcels in Alaska remains strong due to limited inventory, but sales volume fluctuates with the state’s economy which relies heavily on oil and gas, fishing, mining, and tourism industries. Sales peaked between 2006-2008 before declining during the recession. The market has since recovered modestly, but lack of affordable land and high building costs can deter buyers.

Factors like location, access, resources, views and permitting play a significant role in valuations of Alaska land parcels. Undeveloped remote properties tend to sell for around $1,500-$2,000 per acre. Parcels near major road access or cities sell for two or three times as much per acre depending on location.

Preparing Your Land for Sale

Before listing your Alaska property, take time to make sure it is prepared to show in its best light to prospective buyers:

  • Check parcel boundaries and confirm total acreage - Review property survey maps, plat maps, and deeds to verify boundaries, total acreage, easements or right of ways. Check for discrepancies or encroachments.
  • Improve or maintain road access - Many remote Alaskan properties are only accessible by small plane, boat or ATV. If possible, create or improve road access to increase interest.
  • Clear brush and debris - Trim overgrown trees and brush to open up views and access if needed. Remove any trash or unused equipment.
  • List resources or features - Make note of any water resources, mineral deposits, timber, wildlife presence or unique features like mountain views.
  • Check permitting and zoning - Research and confirm if the property permits building of a residential structure or needs rezoned.

Taking time to prepare your land shows buyers you have cared for it and allows its value to shine through.

Determining a Fair Asking Price

Pricing land appropriately is key to selling it successfully on your own. With Alaska’s diverse landscape, there are many factors that influence value. Here are tips for setting an accurate price:

  • Research recent sales of comparable land in the area - Look for parcels of similar acreage, access, resources and permitting. Adjust for variations.
  • Factor in development costs - Remote, undeveloped land will sell for less than a parcel with road access and utilities nearby.
  • Consider potential uses - Recreational land often sells for less than parcels suitable for residential or commercial development.
  • Weigh benefits of location - Land near major roads, cities or waterfront will demand a higher price per acre.
  • Get an appraisal - For larger, higher value parcels, hiring an appraiser can ensure accurate pricing.
  • Set your minimum acceptable price - Determine the lowest price you are willing to accept to reach a sale.

Periodically reevaluate your asking price against the current market. Price drops can spur buyer interest, but stay above your minimum acceptable level.

Marketing Your Alaska Land for Sale

With limited private land available, marketing is crucial to connecting with qualified buyers when selling your property on your own. Strategic advertising and listings can help generate interest:

  • Create print ads - Place classified ads in local Alaska newspapers and magazines frequented by real estate investors, hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • List online - Post the land for sale on popular sites like Zillow, Trulia, LandWatch and Lands of America to gain broader exposure.
  • Make a website - Develop a basic website showcasing the property with photos, descriptions and contact forms.
  • Install signage - Place professional "For Sale by Owner" signs along main access roads to the property and at entrance.
  • Network locally - Talk to nearby landowners, outdoor clubs, logging companies and developers who may know interested buyers.
  • Promote it - Spread the word about your land sale on social media networks and community bulletin boards.
  • Offer agent co-broke - Offering 2%-3% commission can incentive agents to bring buyers while still selling direct.

Casting a wide marketing net and staying persistent are key to finding the right buyer.

Negotiating Effectively with Buyers

When fielding inquiries and showing your Alaska land parcel, keep these tips in mind to negotiate efficiently towards a sale:

  • Prequalify buyers - Ask about their background, experience with land purchases and intended use for the property. Prioritize serious, qualified buyers.
  • Be upfront about details - Disclose any known easements, restrictions, access limitations or development costs. Transparency builds trust.
  • Understand motivations - Listen to determine if the buyer is searching for recreation, development, resources or investment. This can help negotiation.
  • Be flexible but firm - Indicate openness to terms like closing dates and possession timeline. But hold price firm until an offer meets your minimum.
  • Make use of contingencies - Insert inspection, zoning, financing or appraisal clauses to protect interests if accepting an offer below asking price.
  • Don't take delays personally - Extended negotiations or deals that fall through are common. Stay professional.

With preparation and patience, you can negotiate favorable terms, protect your interests and work toward a sale of your Alaska land.

Handling Paperwork and Closing the Sale

Once you’ve negotiated and accepted an offer, there are still key steps left to finalize the Alaska land sale:

  • Collect earnest money deposit - Deposit provides motivation for buyers to close and compensation if they default.
  • Help arrange financing - Offer to share appraisal and estimates of development costs to help with financing if needed.
  • Be responsive - Promptly provide any additional documentation needed by buyer's lender, insurance company or attorney.
  • Review title insurance - Check for any unclear mining deeds, liens or leases that need to be resolved before closing.
  • Confirm closing details - Verify method of payment, closing location, date, documents and deed transfer.
  • Complete final walkthrough - Accompany buyers on final property tour shortly before closing to ensure all is still satisfactory.
  • Close the deal - Sign deed over to buyer and collect payment. Congratulations on a successful private land sale!

With attention to details throughout the Alaska land sale process, you can navigate negotiations all the way to a smooth closing.

Final Thoughts

Selling land without a real estate professional takes research, preparation and persistence, but the payoff of keeping the full sale price makes it worthwhile. By understanding Alaska land valuations, creatively marketing to ideal buyers, negotiating strategically and diligently handling closing paperwork, landowners can successfully sell properties on their own. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be equipped to handle your Alaska land sale from listing to closing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What paperwork do I need to complete a private land sale in Alaska?

Typical documents include the purchase and sale agreement, property disclosures, deed or title transfer, bill of sale if including personal property, and closing statement outlines costs for both parties.

How can I confirm the property boundaries for my Alaska land parcel?

Review the legal description, plat map, survey and your property deed, and physically walk the perimeter boundaries. Hire a surveyor if lines are unclear or disputed by neighbors.

Should I offer owner financing when selling my Alaska land myself?

Owner financing allows buyers with insufficient funds to purchase over time, but also incurs risks like nonpayment. Require a sizable down payment, perfect lien position, and legal advice beforehand.

What are closing costs for a land sale by owner in Alaska?

Typical fees paid by the seller include legal fees, taxes and liens prorated to closing date, any unpaid property taxes, and mortgage payoffs. The buyer usually covers title fees and recording fees.

How can I advertise my Alaska land for sale without a real estate agent?

Effective low-cost options include yard signs, classified ads in local papers, community bulletin boards, and free online sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and any Alaska-focused land listing sites.

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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