For first-time homebuyer Megan, the second time was the charm. When she looked for a classic Portland house in 2018, she had no luck.
“The market was so competitive and insane,” she says.
She put two offers on homes that she didn’t get and eventually decided to continue renting instead of trying to buy.
Fast forward to March 2020 when she decided to start looking again … at the start of the pandemic.
Turns out that good things can happen even during times of unprecedented uncertainty: Megan found and bought a home she loves!
Megan, who works in footwear, notes that Portland is a mecca for the industry. She grew up there and after spending 10 years in Seattle at a children’s footwear company, moved back.
Four of her six siblings plus extended family including nieces and nephews live in Portland, so putting down roots there made sense.
“I was also looking to buy something I could rent out someday if I move into a house with a partner,” she says. “I wanted to make these investments and know that, as a single woman, I could do that for myself and start setting myself up for the future.”
She started thinking about buying again in February and says that her mom was one reason she decided to try again.
She says, “My mom was always sending me links.”
Her early search involved looking at listings online, a habit she has even when she’s not seriously looking, as someone who loves projects and has a passion for interior design.
Even when the pandemic started affecting daily lives, Megan decided to go for it.
“I thought, hey, let’s take advantage of this situation. Not a lot of people are buying right now and rates are low,” she says.
“At that point, we didn’t know how long quarantine would last or what was going on,” she continues. “Personally, I’d been setting myself up and saving, making sure I was ready to dig in. I’d built up my security net outside of what I had for the home, so I was ready.”
Megan was aware of Flyhomes because a friend’s husband is a leader on the Flyhomes team, one of the company’s first employees who’s helped grow the business doing just about every role possible.
She turned to Flyhomes immediately and soon met Natalie, her Portland-based Client Advisor.
“Immediately, we had this amazing connection,” Megan says. “We’re a similar age and have similar style. We’d visualize decorating when we toured someplace.”
She was looking at stand-alone houses, thinking she wanted to build out an ADU or mother-in-law unit.
Megan didn’t tour many homes in person before finding the one. The pandemic was making touring a bit more difficult, but she also looks at listings so much that she can trust her gut and rule out most options just by looking at photos.
Finding the one
When a condo with gorgeous wood beams came up in her online search, Megan liked it but it definitely wasn’t the house she’d been picturing.
Then Natalie sent her the same listing, saying it looked like Megan.
“The photos were great so I could tell it looked nice,” Megan says. “At first, I thought it was out of my price range. I didn’t leap but decided to check it out when Natalie brought it up, too.”
The pair met at the condo after scrambling to find face masks to wear. This was early in the pandemic, when masks weren’t yet being recommended for daily use.
“When I walked in, I was like, ‘Oh, boy!’,” Megan says. “You can walk in and immediately get the vibe. You’ll feel it. I was like, ‘I love it and I can see myself in it.’ My gut said yes.”
The previous owner had used their own furniture and decor for staging, which piqued Megan’s love of design. She fell in love with the owner’s big green velvet couch.
Megan’s parents, whose opinion she trusts and values, toured the home separately because of social distancing guidelines. They agreed it was a great pick, but emphasized that the decision was Megan’s.
“Initially, I was biting off more than I could chew with wanting a big project,” Megan says. “The condo didn’t have a ton to do, but I made sure it had the rental potential. It’s in a great location with a good price value, and I researched what rent I could get. I’m looking forward to holding onto it and diving into a new project a few years from now.”
Next, it was time for Megan and Natalie to decide on an offer strategy.
Making it official
“Once you find it, it’s like OK let’s go. I remember we were standing on the curb far apart from each other and hand sanitizing, saying ‘OK what’s our offer going to be,’” Megan says. “It felt really good taking the leap with Natalie. Being a new homeowner, I felt like she held my hand in the best possible way.”
They discussed using a Flyhomes Cash Offer, but Natalie suggested trying a traditional financed offer first because she suspected there weren’t competing offers.
The experience was opposite to what Megan had found two years prior, looking at single family homes with so much competition that she put the search on pause.
“Since it’s a condo, we did a lot of digging on the HOA,” Megan says. “Natalie was like a bulldog, getting all the info. That gave me confidence, especially buying by myself. She covered the bases 10 times over.”
Things moved quickly and working from home rather than her routine of going to an office became a bonus.
“A weird plus side of buying in a pandemic was that everyone started working from home,” Megan says. “I had the flexibility to be off and on the phone with Natalie, able to jump when I had to address things.”
“Things were so uncertain for the seller,” she continues. “I think they wanted to just get through the process because no one knew what would happen. So we got in contract really quickly.”
Megan says that the most stressful part of the process was contacting multiple mortgage companies to get quotes.
“I didn’t know I’d feel so overwhelmed by the mortgage side of things,” she says. “It’s a short time period of trying to get all that information, and how fast you have to act on it, and then locking your rate.”
When she contacted Flyhomes Mortgage, Megan says the vibe was different.
“I appreciated the personable nature and the quick response. Also, I was working with Flyhomes to buy, so this makes sense. It was really smooth,” she says. “For sure it was still stressful because it has to be super quick, but everyone was open to questions.”
Megan ended up thankful that the two houses she’d offered on previously didn’t work out.
“I didn’t think I’d buy a condo but it was serendipitous at the end,” she says. “You have to trust the process a little bit.”
Soon, it was time for Megan and Natalie to do their final walkthrough—with masks, of course.
The flexibility of working from home while moving was also a boon for Megan. She called around to find movers who were working during the pandemic and made sure that they had protocols in place. Then she rented Readi-Box moving boxes and got packed.
While the condo wasn’t the project she initially wanted, Megan is making improvements, like a new faucet for the kitchen sink and fresh outlet covers.
“I’m changing small details to elevate it, make it feel a little more modern,” she says. “A lot of the money I saved by working with Natalie, I’m using on a green velvet sectional similar to the one the previous owner had. Natalie actually dug around on the internet and found the exact couch, but I chose to customize one. I’m enjoying making it a space I love.”
Still working from home, Megan says her coworkers compliment her home during Zoom meetings.
“It’s oddly validating!” she says.
Another unexpected side effect of buying right now is that Megan, as a woman buying on her own, has inspired her friends.
“Working with Flyhomes allowed me the confidence to realize I could do it,” she says. “In my friend group, not a lot of us have purchased, so me doing it ignited a fire in my friends to buy, too.”
We’ll be here to help when they’re ready to leap!
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