First Time Home Buyer Guide: Steps to Buying a House

So, you've been thinking about it and decided to take the leap and buy your first house! You're wondering what to do and how much everything is going to cost. Whether you're looking for a first home in Anchorage or elsewhere, this guide provides a step-by-step overview of the process of buying a home that will lead you from creating a strategy through to the point you get your keys. Look for notes about what you can expect to pay along each step. (Price estimates are based on our experience in Anchorage.)

Meet First Time Home Buyer Dustin!

We recently helped first time home-buyer, Dustin, purchase his first home here in Anchorage, and we made some notes along the way to help you with your journey. Here he is going through his final walk through. Sure, the process took time, work, and money—but notice that smile on his face. It was worth it!

Step 1: Identify Your Strategy

Cost: $0

You will want to dream up what is most important to you about your home. This will help you know what to look for when perusing listings and tracking “for sale” signs around your preferred neighborhood. It may also help to consider what your longer term strategy will be: Is this a short-term investment? Do you plan eventually to rent the house out? Or, is this the only home you plan to buy?

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved

Cost: 0$

Getting started with a loan officer doesn’t cost anything and is relatively easy! Most lenders have online applications to get you started while you collect your tax returns, W2s and bank statements. It is recommended to sit down with your lender and get pre-approved prior to shopping for homes. Sellers will expect a pre-approval letter to accompany your offer. The sooner you meet with a lender the quicker you can start shopping!

Step 3: Work with a REALTOR to Find Your Dream Home and Make an Offer


  • Inspection $300-$500

  • Earnest money (1-3% of home price)

As your real estate agents, we get to pick up where the fun begins: home shopping! We help write up the offer and get through the negotiations process. This includes going with you on the walk through and helping to set up an inspection.

Step 4: Closing Period (Getting the Keys!)


  • Appraisal $800 (generally paid for by the seller)

  • Closing Costs (1.5-2% of purchase price*)

  • Down payment 0-20% of purchase price

*depending on loan program

Once your offer is accepted and negotiations are complete, there are just a few items left before you get the keys. A professional will appraise the price of the house and you will do a final walk through of the home. If all goes well, you will bring in your down payment and remaining closing costs to the title company where you’ll sign final closing papers and seal the deal so you can get your keys!

Get Started Today!

Ready for find your dream home? Call us at (907) 242-9282 to get started! We also have an app to search and view available homes in your area. Download it now!