Working Together Toward Homeownership

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As a mortgage loan originator at Residential Mortgage, part of Mark Gust’s work is to find solutions for Alaskans facing obstacles to homeownership. It’s a process that can require flexibility and creativity. Mark said that in his experience, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has been a go-to option for finding answers for his customers. 

“Throughout my 30-year career in financial services I’ve worked with many companies and some seem to find reasons not to do a deal,” he said. “Alaska Housing has a mindset of ‘how can we make this happen for your customer?’ You don’t have to fight upstream with them.”

Partnerships are critical when helping customers achieve their homeownership goals and Alaska Housing’s mortgage department provides Mark with clear information for homebuyers. 

“If I email the mortgage department at AHFC, someone picks up my question and runs with it,” he said.

An Example of Tenacity

When he thinks about working together to overcome challenges to homeownership, one young homebuyer stands out in his mind.

“When they first met with me to consider loan options, this individual’s life was complicated,” Mark said. “But nobody’s life is cookie-cutter perfect and I thought, ‘If they are willing to work for it, then I am too.’” 

Mark’s customer had saved up a solid down payment when unexpected life circumstances dwindled their savings. It took about a year of working together to get the prospective homebuyer’s credit score back up, but just then rates and prices skyrocketed and it felt like they were back to square one. 

“Affordability was critical,” he said. “We looked into every option that would bring costs down. They took Alaska Housing’s HomeChoice™ class and we layered a Federal Housing Administration loan with an AHFC loan, which can be layered without giving up credit quality. Suddenly we were back in the game.”

Finding Flexible Solutions

In the end, AHFC’s flexible loan options and affordable rates, as well as obtaining down payment assistance, made it possible for Mark’s customer to purchase their own condo. 

“I don’t think there was any other combination of loan programs that would have worked,” Mark said. “The flexibility of AHFC’s programs was key.”

“I found out later that this homebuyer was working tenaciously toward their goal in order to provide a home for their young daughter. I give them credit for starting down that path of building wealth and providing stability, despite being so young. It speaks volumes about character.”

Take the Next Step

To other Alaskans considering homeownership, Mark said his advice would be to put fear aside and take the process one step at a time

“Some people fear that they won’t qualify for a loan or feel embarrassed about their credit, but pretty much everyone has been where you are – there’s no judgment,” he said. “There are people in this industry who want to be part of someone else’s success.”

Looking to buy a home but not sure where to start? Visit AHFC’s Alaska homebuyer checklist to find the resources you’ll need on your path to homeownership.

Alaska Housing does not endorse lenders or real estate licensees, but we are pleased to highlight individual experiences of partnership. Thank you to Mark Gust (NMLS #1895500) of Residential Mortgage (NMLS #167729)  for participating in this blog post.