• Thursday, May 12th, 2011
At one time homesteading was a major part of getting permanent settlers to Alaska, and often worked hand in hand with the rush for gold and other valuable minerals in the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s. Homesteading is the awarding of land to individuals for free who stay on the land for a set amount of time and develop the property. That’s why they get the land for free. While this was used as an attempt to settle the west and far away areas in need of development like Alaska, there is a common misconception that homesteading is still a wide spread practice. I hate to be the one to burst the bubble, but as I explained in the blog post about Alaska land offerings, that practice has long since passed.
While once in a while a local town might try to entice more people to move in by offering a local homestead program, as far as a homesteading goes, the Federal policy ended in 1976 while Alaska followed suit a decade later and ended their homestead program in 1986, grandfathering in the individuals who had moved into the state under the old program but who had not stayed the required number of years yet or still had time to develop the land.
Some people have fallen for rumors of squatter’s claims in Alaska, and stories abound of squatters managing to take land from the state by some form of adverse possession, but these are myths. Staying on land 10 or 20 years doesn’t allow someone to officially own the land that belongs to the state of Alaska.
• Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Since so many people want to know about Alaska, and many have dreams of moving there, I thought it would be a good idea to start off with the topic of getting land in Alaska. Many people hope to find a homestead or free land based on old stories or rumors. One thing I need to set straight right off the bat, to the heartbreak of many of you I’m sure, is that there is no more homesteading in Alaska. Trust me, I looked into it a lot because I had every interest in buying some land outside of Fairbanks, setting up some cabins, and enjoying the benefits of living in a place that really can be called God’s Country. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find cheap or inexpensive land up in AK, but you do have to do more homework and be a little bit more creative because the days of homesteading are over.
Ever hear about land offerings?
While homesteading might be long gone, one of the best ways to purchase inexpensive land for development in Alaska is to look for a DNR land offering. A land offering is when the Alaska Department of Natural Resources puts land up for auction in lots. A sealed minimum bid is required for the land to be sold, and then the land goes up for auction. Assuming the highest bid is larger than the minimum amount required, then the land is sold to the highest bidder. If the highest bid doesn’t meet the minimum standard set, then the auction is off and the land moves from a land offering to being available for across counter purchase, officially referred to as “over the counter offerings.” Those, and the land offerings, remain the cheapest method for obtaining large acres or lots of land in Alaska to develop.
What about over the counter offerings?
Over the counter offerings kind of have their own section, but they are directly related to the original land offerings which were put up for sale. In Alaska, you can buy the land which was not sold at a land offering auction, with lots ranging from a measly 1 acre to a full 40 acres, and average costs ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. Like land offerings, these are offered to Alaska residents, meaning if you’re planning to move to Alaska it might be worth it to rent for a year, get your state ID, and then take advantage of these programs at that point.
Strangely the same
While many people might think of Alaska as really different, it’s not if you’re looking for a house as opposed to developmental land. Houses are put on sale all the time, and their is a Realtor system up there just like any other state in the Union. Use those resources to find a good deal, or buy some land just outside a city to build some cabins. Really, there is a lot of land up in Alaska and there are many ways to get your share – just not from homesteading.