Military Homebuyers FAQ

moving to alaska

 

Should I Buy a Home?

It depends. If you’re anticipating being stationed in Alaska for at least three years, investing in a home could be a fantastic decision. You must consider how you want to spend your Alaskan tour since living on post or base may or may not appeal to all servicemembers. Check your housing allowance rates and a Northern Edge Buyer Specialist can help show you what the allowance can afford you in the marketplace. Lastly, check with delays on the housing list. Due to rank and housing availability, waitlists can be well over six months long, so consider this in your decision as well.

What Are The Best Ways to Invest in Alaskan Real Estate?

Utilizing your VA loan benefit to purchase a home, then paying the mortgage using your tax-free housing allowance is tough to beat. However, you can use the VA loan benefit to purchase 1-4 unit residences as well.  If you’re really looking to make a smart investment and don’t mind living in a multi-family home, occupying a 2-4 unit home as the owner is a wonderful option.

How Long Should it Take Me to Buy a Home?

Your real estate agent should be able to show you anywhere from 3 to 5 houses, over one or two days because they should only show you houses that fit your needs.  If you have a pre-approval from the lender before you shop you will save yourself valuable time.  This way you will know your budget and be prepared to make a move when you find the perfect property.  Sometimes buyers are disappointed when the home they love sells to a buyer more ready for the situation.  It can take one to two weeks in some cases to receive a pre-approval letter from the lender, and you must have one to be able to put in a solid offer. Also consider from March through September houses here generally move quicker and the market is faster than other months.

Once I’ve Found My Home, How Long Before I Can Move In?

You should expect the offer to occupancy process to take approximately 60 days, depending upon a few factors. Your Northern Edge Buyer Specialist can help negotiate terms that most fit your needs and our expert transaction coordinators can ensure your purchase is expedited to meet your goals. If you are ready to buy please share the details of your home search here and we can help get the ball rolling.

What Can I Do to Prepare for My Home Search?

The first and best thing you can do is contact your Northern Edge Real Estate Buyer Specialist and have them help you get pre-approved with a local lender.  To make your home buying process more enjoyable, we also advise you to take a house hunting trip before you PCS to Alaska.  If that is not possible, work with your NERE buyer specialist and they can make sure you’re prepared to see homes the moment you arrive in Alaska.  Based on your unit reporting instructions, it may be advisable to delay in-processing until after you have performed your home search and found the home you wish to purchase.

Should I Purchase a Home “Sight Unseen” to Save Time?

If possible, we always recommend a house hunting trip in order to view homes in person. If this is not possible, we can facilitate a sight unseen purchase, but again we do not recommend it.

What Can I Expect For My Money In Terms of Housing?

Using your BAH as a guideline is a good rule of thumb.  For example:  A typical 3 bed/ 2bath/ 2 car garage home in good shape will run between $230K-$275K depending on the features and exact location.  This home will range between $1,400 to $1,900 per month depending on property taxes.  You want to purchase a property which is financeable using your VA entitlement, and a property which is marketable in the future since you may need to sell in the future when you PCS. Some VA buyers choose to purchase a fixer upper in order to garner a higher return in a shorter period of time.  Sometimes it works well, and other times they find that they just don’t have the time and extra funds to complete the job so make sure to think this through before making any quick decisions.

Will My Significant Other Be Able to Find a Job?

The employment market is growing rapidly here. Alaskan businesses value military families and their contributions to the communities here and most are welcome and willing to have military spouses incorporated into their companies.

What Perks Does Living in Alaska Provide?

Many!  No sales or income tax to begin with, along with the Permanent Fund Dividend, an annual dividend provided to residents of Alaska for living in the state. For more information about the PFD, click here. There are also many property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and senior citizens as well.

How Do I Get My Personally Owned Firearms to Alaska?

If you are driving through Canada, you will want to reference the U.S. Customs website here for current customs laws.  Otherwise you can ship them to a local dealer with an FFL, or ship them with your moving company.

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