Kyle and Drew are among the Flyhomes clients who are buying a home during this uncharted time of social distancing. See the end of their story for a note on their experience.
For Kyle and Drew, the idea of buying a home started as the idea to buy land. They were planning to move away from Tacoma, Washington, with their two-year-old and five-month-old daughters. They dreamed of a place with plenty of space where they could do what they love.
“We started looking into buying property in Nevada City, California. We were trying to limit how much we were spending per month. Tacoma is pretty expensive,” Kyle says. “So we started looking elsewhere to see if we could make this dream a reality.”
Owning their own space was the heart of their dream. Kyle’s a musician and wants to build a home recording studio. Drew wants to garden and do personal creative projects around the house that aren’t easy or even possible in a rental.
Kyle says they were looking in New Mexico as well as northern California, but the goal of buying land ended up being a bigger challenge than they’d expected for two reasons: this is their first time buying any property and buying land has its own hurdles.
He explains, “There are so many different things in the ether around buying a property in the middle of nowhere. Land and water rights, getting water and sewage set up. Even if you’re buying a house, with acreage it means you have to learn about the land. It just became way trickier than we thought it would be.”
Focusing on Tacoma
The family enjoys their Tacoma rental house and, once they realized that buying land might be too tricky, they warmed up to the idea of staying in the city.
“Drew is really into motherhood and empowered womanhood and she has a close knit group of friends here,” Kyle says. “Because of that and the age of our girls, we thought we should stay.”
Now, the reason to buy shifted slightly. Rather than looking for land, they were motivated to stop paying rent and start building equity in a home, while still prioritizing finding one where they can do their projects.
Kyle says, “The rental is a pretty sweet house but with rent plus utilities, it ends up being a ton of money that we’re basically throwing away every month.”
In the end, they not only met the goal of building equity, their mortgage payment is actually $300 per month less than their old rent, and utilities are likely to be lower because the home is smaller.
Getting the ducks in a row
Back when they were looking for land, Kyle started looking for lenders and researching if there were people or companies that would help facilitate a land purchase.
“One of the things I found out was it’s hard to do without all cash,” he says. “It’s hard to finance a land purchase.”
While researching, he remembered hearing about Flyhomes and got in touch. At that point, the conversation about buying land made him realize he still had too many ducks to get in a row before taking action.
Financing became the focus and stayed a focus once their goal shifted to a house in Tacoma rather than a piece of land. The couple were pre-approved for more than they expected.
“We started entertaining the idea of whether we wanted to make something ours or get something that’s already renovated, but then we have a higher payment,” Kyle says.
With these options in mind, they toured a number of homes.
“It became really clear that everything was selling really, really fast, and we were just kind of trying to figure out why,” Kyle says. “Our friends were saying so many people were cash buyers and we were like … we’ll never be able to come up with the money.”
Kyle and Drew looked at the home they ended up buying and when the subject of a cash offer came up, Kyle remembered talking to Flyhomes and learning about the Cash Offers program.
So they reached out and got connected with their Client Advisor, Andy, who agreed that a cash offer would be the best strategy to win the home.
“Especially for first-time buyers who didn’t know where to start, Flyhomes made a big difference,” Kyle says. “I wish I’d known about this sooner, even as a concept … somebody who buys in place of you.”
“I was pretty much Instagram polling friends to see how people did it,” he continues. “Everyone’s route was different but a good chunk of people had financial help from family or their parents, either a huge down payment or a full cash offer and then they pay their parents instead of a mortgage.”
“Now,” he says, “It’s like Flyhomes is my parents and I pay you guys back.”
Winning the home
Things moved quickly once Kyle and Drew were connected with Andy.
Kyle says, “We had our financing set up through another company but they kept changing the interest rate and it didn’t feel right.”
So he talked to Ami at Flyhomes Mortgage and locked in an interest rate and approval the same night.
To make their offer stand out, Drew wrote a “love letter” to the seller. In it, she introduced the family and told the sellers how much they wanted the home:
While we’ve been on the hunt for our first home, we’ve seen some beautiful ones, some with potential, but none that gave us the feeling we got when we stood in this house. We can truly see ourselves and our babies creating many incredible moments here.
With everything ready to go, Andy submitted the offer.
“We definitely wouldn’t have been in the running if we weren’t doing a cash offer,” Kyle says. “We submitted with an escalation. It was between us and one other buyer with a way higher escalation. We weren’t going to go that high, but we did up our offer. With the cash offer, we ended up getting it.”
Kyle will get his home recording studio. Their new house, a 1920 craftsman, has a shed in the backyard. He’s been going deep on learning how to transform it into a sound-proof room himself, a process that involves building a room within a room.
As for whether to get a fixer or a renovated home, they landed somewhere in the middle.
“It’s not a house that’s in need of being fixed up,” Kyle says, “but it does need enough updating that it will be our own in time.”
The girls will also have their own special space: a nook with a tiny door that’s sized just right for small kids to use as a hideout. They call it “the ninja room.”
The family is also excited for an existing doggie door that will come in handy for the dog they plan to get.
It’s a place they’ll get to grow in, be creative in, and have fun in … just the right decision, even if it’s not exactly what they imagined at the start.
Special note on buying in March 2020
The greater Seattle area and Tacoma started seeing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in early March. The Flyhomes HQ is headquartered in Seattle; we started working remotely on Monday, March 9.
Kyle and Drew’s offer was made and accepted after people in the area started practicing social distancing.
We asked Kyle how buying at this time changed things. Here’s what he said:
I personally felt a huge sense of urgency to buy as soon as we could because you’re watching the market day over day and it’s getting harder.
Right now, we really wish that we were already in the house. It would be great to take this time to do things that are productive in the house. I do think about it … do we still want to hire movers? Now there are a lot of questions about how we should navigate moving to our home.
We at Flyhomes are here to help navigate with our clients, and our recommendation is to follow the CDC steps to protect yourself and to keep updated locally via the Washington state response site. We’re posting updates to our own operations, including the availability of virtual home tours, here on our blog.
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