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Tips for Buying Your First Property

By: Shannon Ingram

Listing Licensee | Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group

I remember buying my first home at age 20. I knew it was a great investment for my future. Plus, I was eager to make that little place my home. While the buying process from start to finish was incredibly smooth, due to the hard work of my realtor and lender, it felt scary and nerve-wracking at the same time. Anytime my phone rang, I was expecting a laugh on the other end telling me I had no business buying and I’d be stuck renting forever.

Fortunately, my fears were just that. With happy tears, I closed on my first condo. I remodeled the place and eventually sold it for a much larger profit. That was the start of 20 years of successful real estate investment. Whether it’s land, a condo or single-family home, here are some tips for purchasing your very first property,

1. Have a solid view of your finances. Know your debts, budget and credit score. This will determine how much of a mortgage payment you can afford, and are comfortable with.

2. Know your buying power. Get prequalified by a mortgage lender before looking at homes. Your buying power for a single-family home with no dues will look different than a townhouse or condominium with dues. If you’re unable to purchase a first home now, lenders will give you financial direction on how to get there and reach that goal. Keep in mind that not all lenders will loan money to purchase land.

3. Make a list of your must-haves, wants and negotiables. This is useful to reference to keep in mind what’s most important for you. Are there specific areas you’d like to stay in due to schools, workplace, shopping convenience, bus route etc? Maybe you’re open to location as long as it's the right property. These are important things your realtor or real estate licensee will want to know.

4. Find a realtor or real estate licensee you trust. They should be knowledgeable about the city and area that you’re interested in. Find someone who is knowledgeable about the type of property you want like land, condo, remodel or new construction. Never be afraid to ask questions.

5. New construction is an option for some first time homebuyers. This is a great way to get everything you want in a home. The process will take longer, about 8 to 12 months, compared to buying a pre-existing property, which is about 30 to 90 days from start to close. Building is a lengthy but fun process. Having a knowledgeable real estate professional on your side is key.

Shannon Ingram started in the real estate industry in 2001 in new construction. She has extensive knowledge of the homebuilding process, remodeling and has a passion for working with new home buyers.


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