Four Steps to Buying a House for the First Time

There is a certain excitement to buying a house or condo for the first time and we love to help first time homebuyers! In our experience, it is usually our first timers that truly trust their gut and are confident in their decisions. We enjoy the chance to teach and explain the process as the first time home buyer progresses through each step.  A great real estate transaction happens with four main professionals who help you through the process.

Phase One: Get Pre-qualified

A lender will determine what purchase price you are approved for based on the information you provide, however, ultimately you determine what you can afford :).  They will go over a cost sheet so you can be prepared with your down payment and estimated monthly payment amounts. These will vary depending on the loan option you choose. You will get a pre-approval letter so you can start making offers once you begin house shopping.

Prepare for the lender

The following documents will help the lender to determine your ability to purchase:

  • Most recent 2 years of tax returns
  • W-2
  • Most recent 3 months of bank statements
  • Most recent pay stub
  • List of of monthly expenses – car, rent, phone, etc.

We work with some really amazing lenders in Anchorage. A good place to start is at your bank or credit union. Remember, rates are competitive and it doesn’t hurt to shop around. Please call us if you would like a referral for a lender. We know of some in Anchorage who offer reduced down payment options for first time home buyers and others who offer Buyer Financial Fitness classes.

Phase Two: Select your REALTOR!

We are the Real Estate professionals that help you find a home. We first meet to discuss your dream home. As REALTORS, we have access to up to date information as well as properties that have not yet hit the market. After you have visited your lender and have obtained a pre-approval letter, you are then ready to start shopping. We work hard to advocate and negotiate on your behalf throughout the transaction.

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Pro Tip: When interviewing REALTORS, test the water with a few questions about the process to see if they are a good fit. Each one will have a different communication style, and you want to make sure your realtor takes time to explain things in a way that makes sense to you.

Phase Three: the Home Inspector Verifies the Condition of the Home

inspector

Inspections in the Anchorage, Eagle River and Mat-Su Valley area can run anywhere between $350 and $500 depending on the size of the property etc. Your inspector is the person you enlist to go through the property once you have written an offer and it has been accepted. An inspector will evaluate the condition of the electrical, plumbing, decks, doors, attics, basements, ceilings, windows, and roofs (if accessible). If there is anything outside of their expertise they may refer you to a specialist in that field.

Pro-tip: if possible, plan to attend your home inspection. This is your opportunity to learn all about your home!

Phase Four: Getting the Keys

In the State of Alaska, buyers and sellers sign one day and the property records the following business day. This is the day you as the buyer receive keys to the property! You will complete this final signing process with the Title Officer at the title company. The title company is the place that facilitates the closing and recording. They ensure the title of your new home is free of any encumbrances, liens or judgments from any past owners. They provide the buyer with title insurance. 

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Pro-tip: be in touch with your Title Officer a day or two before your closing date to determine what you will need to bring by way of identification and if a cashiers check will be necessary. This appointment will often take about an hour.

Bonus Step: Move In!

As first time home buyers, it is important to have a team that works well with one another as the buying process goes through its various phases. We work to get you to the closing table and through the front door with as few hiccups as possible.

Each of these professionals should have the heart of a teacher – educating you about the process each step of the way.

Ready to get started? Call us to talk about your wishes for your new home. 

Interested in more information on the steps to buying a house? Check out Houselogic.com.