Many homeowners start the selling process by looking at online real estate sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. to see what similar properties have recently sold for in their neighborhood. It makes sense that this should give you a good idea about what your home should be worth but, click here to find out why some sites are better than others.
Really the best way to get started is to interview 2-3 Realtors and select the Realtor that works best for you. Then, let them do all the homework for you, allow you to avoid the steep learning curves, and hold your hand during decision-making moments. During your transition, it is best to let someone else manage all the details of selling your home, while you take care of all the logistics of leaving, moving forward to your future, and finding your next home.
How Real Estate Works
Becoming a real estate licensee takes a great deal of perseverance, dedication, and passion. Real estate licensees operate as independent contractors and contract out to their brokerages. As such we are all our own business owners relying on commissions as our income. We do not receive salary or benefits and to compete in today’s marketing world, expenses are high. Knowing this is important, as after many people who get licensed and learn how challenging it is, are forced to find other sources of income. As a result, many real estate licensees work part time and others work in a referral status; only able to refer clients to other real estate licensees but unable to market themselves. It is good to know if your real estate licensee is acting in a part-time status and only somewhat in-the-know on the current inventory and local economy with lukewarm connections or acting in a full-time status completely in-the-know and up to date.
In Alaska, once someone has completed the pre-licensing instruction, passed the State of Alaska Real Estate Commission real estate exam, and contracted with a brokerage, they become licensed and can then refer to themselves as a real estate licensee. Continuing education is required to maintain licenses. Under Alaska terminology it is inaccurate to call licensees agents. A Realtor is a real estate licensee that is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and has committed to adhere to the Code of Ethics that you, the consumer, should require. You can ensure that a licensee is a Realtor by looking for the NAR logo on their marketing. Real estate licensees in Anchorage are also members of the Alaska Association of REALTORS and the Anchorage Board of REALTORS. Nearly all real estate licensees in Alaska use the Alaska Multiple Listing Service as their primary real estate listing platform.
Anchorage has a small-town feel and has a tight-knit, well-connected community. If you don’t already have a real estate licensee from past transactions or know any, ask around. Most people know one or two. It is recommended that you identify a few and research them thoroughly. You can tell a lot from their online presence such as their marketing style, how they communicate and educate their clients, and how actively engaged they are. We recommend that you start with 2-3 licensees. Even if you have used a local licensee in the past it is smart to interview them again and compare them to others who may currently be more active.
Initial Phone Screening
When you first reach out to a Realtor to make an initial meeting appointment, some Realtors, like us, will want to come fully prepared and provide you with meaningful information. To do that we will ask questions about your home, how much you owe on your mortgage, and if any repairs are needed. We may also prepare a comparative market analysis prior to arriving at your home. Be sure to tidy up your home prior to the appointment, so that all the rooms are accessible and easy to see.
At the first meeting, at a minimum, the Realtor should discuss the following with you:
Walk through to identify condition and note any repairs that are needed
An initial comparative market analysis
Current housing market
Their marketing strategies and plan
Initial documents and compensation
Selecting a Real Estate Licensee
First impressions are important. Your real estate licensee should be someone that you like, trust, and inspires confidence from the start. Look for timeliness, professionalism, and organization. Ensure that your Realtor works full-time and is in the know of current property inventory and the real estate industry, has a grasp on the local economy, and has lived in the area for several years.
Beyond these basics you should find someone who is not only great at their job, but someone you can spend a lot of time within person, on the phone, or by email and text. It is important to find someone with experience, customer service and a solid understanding of real estate but also a communication style that is comfortable for you. Your Realtor should be adept at listening, approachable, and responsive within 24 hours. If not, that’s a sign that they are too busy for you.
At an initial meeting, any Realtor you meet with should present you with initial documents. These are not binding documents in that they do not bind you contractually. You should not be nervous to see them. They are provided by the Alaska State Real Estate Commission and are meant to protect you, the consumer. In fact, you should expect them. If your Realtor does not offer these at your initial meeting, you may want to consider other Realtors to interview.
In Alaska, the most common commission for a real estate licensee is 3%. That is 3% to the buyer’s licensee and 3% to the seller’s licensee. These costs are paid by the seller. While they are negotiable, it is important to remember that buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions you can make. You will want to know that your real estate licensee is 100% committed to providing you their best expertise and service for the duration of the whole process. In addition, take confidence in knowing too that licensees only get paid when your contract closes. This creates a win-win incentive as licensees want to sell your home just as much as you do, but know that the process can take 3-6 months. Click here for the benefits of working with a Realtor and click here for the best reason to hire a real estate licensee versus doing it yourself. During your transition, its best to let someone else manage the details of selling your home, while you take care of all the logistics of leaving and moving forward to your future.
Once you’ve picked a Realtor, expect to sign an Authorization and Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement authorizing that Realtor to represent you for a designated amount of time, typically six months. This timeframe can be extended or shortened, if necessary, as this is only an agreement and not a contract. With a Realtor under agreement, you are now ready to move on to the next steps.