Ep 91: Interview With Chris And Emily – Their Wild Ride To Home Ownership 

 May 2, 2022

HBH 91 | First Time Home Buyers

Is it even possible to go from thinking about buying a home, to getting the keys in just 60 days? Yes it is! And these first-time home buyers weren’t cash buyers. Chris and Emily had to scrape and plan and realize they could buy instead of sign another lease. At first, it was not even in their plan to buy a house. It was a wild ride, and you’ll love their enthusiasm as they tell the tale of how they made their dreams happen! They also share how listening to podcasts helped them with their home buying. This might also be the case for you by listening here in this episode. Tune in!

Interview With Chris And Emily – Their Wild Ride To Home Ownership

Real First Time Home Buyers Tell Their Story Of Planning And Buying A Home In Just 60 Days!

This is an interview with Chris and Emily. They were looking for a home in Florida, and they were not getting the answers they were looking for when they first asked some folks in the real estate industry about their potential to be first-time homebuyers. They felt the usual things, fear, confusion, irrelevance, and overall cluelessness mixed in with their enthusiasm to make this dream happen for them. Let’s learn how they’ve got the answers and got it done.

It is another exciting episode. It’s your favorite type of episode, the one where I don’t talk so much. This is Chris and Emily, and they bought their first house. Tell everybody, where did you buy your home? 

We purchased a home in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Home of Dodgers Spring Training. For everyone out there who is going through the home buying process now, tell us when did you close on the home? People say 2021 and 2022 is the craziest time to ever buy a house.

It’s December 23rd, 2021.

It was right before Christmas. Did you guys move in right away? 

We did not move right in but we did sleep in the house as soon as we possibly could. We shuffled in and got a good night’s rest. We’ve got to digest what happened.

Some of my clients weren’t sure of another closing date because I tell everyone to make sure that the closing date was fluid. They ended up meeting me there when I gave them the keys. They brought blankets with their four-year-old and had a slumber party, and got pizza delivered in an empty house.

That is what we did. It was similar. We did it a few different times when we were working here. We had a whole little sleeping bag set up that we would lounge on when we were over here working because the rest of the house was empty. We did not fully move in for 3 to 4 weeks after. We had a nice little overlap with our rent.

We are going to jump all around because every time you say something I think, “This can help people.” You had an overlap. I have done a bunch of episodes where I say the closing date is fluid. You guys closed like you must have been the last thing they did before they bailed. That overlap was crucial for you.

They closed their office at 2:00 PM. Our closing assigning was at 11:00 in the morning. It was intense but we did it and everybody on our team made it happen. They wanted to make it happen before Christmas before the end of the year. We picked the 23rd, and they stuck with it.

HBH 91 | First Time Home Buyers
First Time Home Buyers: There were a lot of things that felt more real versus just trying to dive into the deep end and trying to consume and digest everything that was going on.

Having the 3 or 4 weeks even though you are in a situation where you own a home, and you are paying for it, and you are renting your place where you are at unless you are living at home but that overlap was something that you would recommend.

Yes, because it allows you to get in and do a couple of small renovations before you are in the house. You still treat it like a project until you can fully live in it, and then it is a lot more comfortable once you get in.

It is so much easier to paint when there is nothing in the house. It is so much easier to rip up the carpet and lay down the flooring when you are not trying to shuffle furniture all around. We were able to do some baseline things. I almost wish we had a little bit more overlap. The 3 or 4 weeks went by fast but it was definitely a nice breathing room for us.

Let’s go back to the beginning here. When did you start planning and thinking about what you are potentially buying?

There was absolutely no plan.

We had a discussion one day where we were like, “It is October. Our lease is up in January. They are going to raise our rent a little bit,” It was a decent amount, nothing wild but enough. We were like, “Should we buy a house?” Three days later, we were pre-approved, and a week after we were pre-approved, we had an offer on the house, and it was accepted. We were under contract. It happened fast for us.

I tell people, “Share the show to your friends the day after they sign their new lease.” That gives us time to set up. I find people that find me with three months left like for you, guys, and I am like, “I will try. I hope.” How did the show come into the mix for you?

We decided that we were seriously going to explore this because we had to give 60 days’ notice on our lease. We only had four weeks. We are like, “If we are going to do this, let’s dive in. How do we find out as much as we can about buying a house from other sources other than our parents, who are wonderful but how do we dig more in?” We love podcasts.

We did a simple search on the podcast app, found you, read 3 or 4 hours of it straight on a Sunday, went to 1 open house, and then 2 days later, on Tuesday, we were pre-approved for a mortgage. We were reading episodes throughout the whole process, even if it was stuff and we had already done or been through because we are like, “Knowledge is power, so let’s listen to any of them that we can that relate to us or don’t.” Here we are.

The timeframe is blowing me away. When did you reach out to me?

That was after two episodes. You would have thought the Pope wrote back to her. We were in the parking lot, going to get our glasses tightened, and she was like, “He wrote back.” It was ecstatic, and it was then real. There were a lot of things that felt more real versus us trying to dive into the deep end and trying to consume and digest everything that was going on. You gave us this nice trail to follow. We couldn’t be happier with it.

Explore, because knowledge is power.

We reached out to you to find a realtor. We were like, “We want to be as educated, organized, and pushing the process forward as much as we can.” On a Sunday that we read the episode, I reached out not that day but we went to an open house and met a realtor. We had read your episode, and we realized like, “It was good to go to the open house but this realtor would not be one that we would want to work with and didn’t seem like wanted to work with us. This is exactly what he is talking about.” However, she did give us our mortgage broker’s information, who we adore.

That is where I was like, “Let’s get pre-approved first.” It happened so fast. We knew our budget, and then we are like, “Now we need a realtor.” That is when I am like, “I am going to reach out to him. We only started reading two days ago but I am going to see what happens. The worst-case scenario is if he doesn’t answer but what if he does?” You did.

It is cool because the people I have known out there in Florida, I have known for years. That was easy for me. I was like, “Here you go.” People always say to me, “David, how can you tell people like, ‘Don’t go to an open house and think that is a great person,’ because then they would be like, “Dummy, don’t you do open houses?” I am like, “Yes.” What I am saying is, “What are the odds?” It is like when people say, “I absolutely a million percent want to buy only foreclosures.” I am like, “That is 0.3% of the market now. What are the odds that the 0.3% house that shows up is exactly the one that is going to work for all your criteria? What are the odds of that one realtor is exactly the right one for you?”

For us, it was that validity of what you were saying in the show where we were like, “This is what he is talking about.” Without saying anything negative necessarily about that realtor, we saw when we said like, “We are first-time homebuyers. We are just looking.”

It was funny because as soon as we’ve got pre-approved, the email follow-up from that original realtor and she was ready to go and it is like, “Now we already started this process.”

It was not even right after we got pre-approved. It was a week later when we were like, “We are already under contract.”

Chris and Emily are showing you the insider on how it works. People at an open house are waiting to talk to people who are pre-approved. That is what they are thinking about instead of understanding, “I started this Sunday. Can you help me figure out how this whole process works?” Their mindset is this, “Come on in,” and shove them off to the lender. If the lender comes back and says, “These people have money,” then I will bother wasting my time with you.

This is great. I appreciate it. I hope everyone got the most about the unicorn part about that. Now tell us about the whole process because you went monster fast. Was there anything that surprised you? Were there pitfalls? Was there anything that you thought was easier than you thought it could have been or that you were scared of that was not that scary?

It felt like when you are walking up a mountain for your first time buying a home. When you are navigating, things fall into place. Having good support is the biggest thing. Having a good realtor, having a good lender, and having them tell you what to look out for and how to get through this process. It had almost given us mini-milestones to keep the thing going. We were so eager to do it because we had a very small window to do it if we were going to do it with the 60-day notice in terminating our lease.

We were like, “We got to do this quick.” There’s a lot that you should take on yourself. Emily put together a list of all the houses. I was bombarded with notifications on my phone because she kept adding through Zillow. We handed it off to our realtor. She arranged everything, and we would go through and each night check off what we liked and what we didn’t.

We were seeing 3, 4 houses a day bare minimum, and were going every single day through the weekend. Everything that we looked at originally was pending a day later. It was like, “We have to figure this out. We have to hit it as soon as it comes on the market because the inventory is a little lopsided now.” It was exhilarating, to say the least. That’s the only I can put that into words.

HBH 91 | First Time Home Buyers
First Time Home Buyers: Have a good support. The biggest thing is having a good realtor, good lender and just having them tell you what to look out for and how to get through this process.

It was a wild ride. For me, I was surprised how fast and, for us, easy of a process it was to get pre-approved. I wasn’t very surprised. I was trying to be realistic and think, “They are only going to approve us for X. Let’s look on that end and be conservative.” When we got the pre-approval, I expected there to be a catch where it was like, “You are pre-approved for this but then when push comes to shove, we are not going to give you that.” It was never like that. There was a lot of paperwork and a lot of gathering of information but we were not expected to know it. If you can answer a question that someone asks you, you are good. The mortgage broker was sending over what they needed, and then we would provide it.

As long as you follow along with what they were saying, I thought that was way easier than I expected, which is personally, why I did not buy a house before. I thought getting pre-approved was this massive thing. I could never have enough in the bank for anyone to be willing to lend me money. I was so scared of that, and for me, that was so much easier than I ever expected.

We reached out on a Monday morning, and he came back to us on Tuesday morning when we were pre-approved, and there was no catch. We were like, “Are you sure you dug? You found everything that you wanted to look at?” We were afraid that he was going to come back at some point and be like, “Kidding, we are giving you $150,000 less than what we originally said.” That process was way easier than I expected.

I always say this in my interviews. I want to bottle that last part and put it up and have that be a mini show that goes out and falls into people’s ears when they are walking down the street. That whole concept of getting into it, understanding, and then realizing, “If someone had told me about this earlier,” but it is what it is. We find each other when we find each other. You are people of action. Quickly, you worked. Not to mention the fact that I finished an episode on Practical Positivity because it is hard in 2022 to buy a home. You did not say hectic or you said, “It was exhilarating.”

Most of the people I talked to is like, “What the hell is going on?” You were like, “It is exhilarating. It was fun.” It is that positive attitude. You brought on a couple of great points. Number one, everyone out there, if you go to an open house, a realtor is going to talk to you but they are not going to give you the breakdown. Fortunately, this realtor, St. Joe Mortgage Broker, who had helped you understand. I tell people all the time I feel the 800 credit score that won’t get their credit checked when they are about to sign another lease of $3,000 a month because, “I do not want the hard pull on my credit.” It is 3 points, and 760 is the top credit score for the thing.

If you did that with a mortgage broker, he might go, “With 5% down, I can get you a house at $2,800 a month instead of $3,000 a month.” That lesson is huge but the way you talked about the teamwork is awesome. That is what you have to do as couples, “You look here, you look there.” I tell them all the time, it is like, “How much Netflix do you watch? For the next three months, your Netflix is the MLS. When you come home, that is what you do.”

I was not scrolling through Instagram. I was scrolling through Zillow.

I have said it before on the show. If you have not gone to YouTube and looked at SNL during the pandemic, instead of people looking at porn sites, they would get home and were like, “Zillow.” You seem organized. I do not recommend everyone try the way that they did it. I do not recommend putting in your 60-day notice. It is tough out there but you pulled up.

It was certainly methodical. We would go through and that she is, “Go, go, go.” I am like, “I want to say yes, let me think about it.” She drags me and that is fine and it works for us. Take a full assessment. It is a full inventory but what is going on? That is what we did. We sat down one night, and it was a two-hour conversation. It was like, “I am committed. Let’s do this.” From there, it was a blur.

It is almost like everything on the side of me or I couldn’t even observe. We were laser-focused on trying to achieve this goal, and we weren’t going to let anything stop us. It was one of those things where everything fell into place. There are bumps in the roads. When we looked at some of the inventory, it was like, “Oh, boy.” I am optimistic about things that I can help and fix but I was like, “I don’t know about that.”

I almost wish we had brought a GoPro. We had some interesting things in the way that we both approach situations that our realtor is sitting back assessing and then afterwards, have the comments. She observed what we would do sometimes at the house. We had a good laugh.

Be laser-focused on trying to achieve your goal. Don’t let anything stop you.

It is something I have learned a long time ago because I am not handy at all. I walk in, and the person that I am bringing in is like, “I can fix up. It will be great.” I am like, “Really? Okay, cool.”

That was us and our realtor. She is like, “I want move-in ready. I do not see anything if it is not move-in ready.” We are the opposite. We would walk into these terrible things, and I am extremely positive. Everything I said was like, “This is clean. We could do this. We could do that.” It was always with multiple steps of knocking down a wall, or this or that but she is like, “You see the potential in every house.” I am like, “We are going to make it work no matter what.” Nothing scares us or is going to slow us down but there were a few where we are like, “No.”

I have a vision. I don’t have the bulldozer. Are there any tips or tricks or things that you learned? Was there anything super scary or anything that freaked you out? If it was not, that is great. It is a nice happy ending but I want to be able to see if there is anything that the people out there, who know nothing about the process, you gave some great information already that getting approved for a loan was a lot easier than you thought. Was there anything else?

As a team, everybody has to chip in and do something. When your realtor is trying to go to buffer you, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer, do your due diligence, put together your list, and provide that list to them, so they are not trying to guess in the dark. They can bring you to where you need to be. You would be surprised how much more efficient that is and how much more motivated they stay when they are able to hop in the car or buzz around.

Also, hit 4 or 5 houses and knock it down and be like, “We’ve got those off our list. These are promising. Let’s take the night to assess it.” The next morning, we are back looking at more houses while we are still processing the ones from days prior. Move quick but you cannot lean into your realtor and help them do everything. There is a lot you have to do on your end.

We drove the ship without stepping on anyone’s toes but it is a partnership. We are buying the house. They have the expertise, the knowledge, and the connections with those people but at the same time, we weren’t looking to relinquish.

The basics we read are the exciting things. That is all we need to know. They did it. I tell you all the time that you can do this. The craziest thing is they pulled it off in 60 days, and they didn’t go homeless or have to put their things in storage and couch surf at their friend’s places. That is unbelievable, especially in this impossible market. That’s crazy. Do I recommend this strategy? No, I do not. Only if you are as crazy, and I say that in a good way. My wife gets mad at me all the time because I say weird and crazy, and I mean that in a good way.

The only way you can pull this off is if you are as wonderfully methodical, as psycho-organized, and enthusiastic as Chris and Emily were. You heard how they handled when they were confronted with the turmoil that can be a part of any first-time homebuyer process. There were a ton of great things in there but the biggest one that I heard was their understanding of the process and that they knew that they needed a plan. They were doing it without a plan and not getting the right results. When they’ve got their unicorn team and a plan, they pulled off this 60-day miracle 2 days before Christmas.

It was a 48-hour pre-Christmas miracle. It is not an easy time to have all the stars align when you want to close on a home. You’ve got good luck finding title and county clerk people to be excited about working late on the 23rd. They mentioned having the overlap between the last day of their rental and the closing of the home. I explained the finances of this in episode 87 on closings.

I want you to check that out if you do not understand because I highly recommend that you do this. All the math is explained in the closing of episode 87. If you can avoid trying to move on the same day, this is not like an apartment, you are out on the 31st and then in at the other place, and you do not have anything in between. These will cross over.

Financially, it is cool to do. Especially if you are trying to do this around the holiday or any time, I recommend that you do what they do with the overlap. Closings are fluid, and those extra days or even weeks, they take this stressful life moment and make it much easier. Moving is considered to be the third most stressful thing in your life, only behind weddings and kids. I am still unsure if they mean the pregnancy, the childbirth or having teenage kids.

HBH 91 | First Time Home Buyers
First Time Home Buyers: You can’t just lean into your realtor and let them do everything. There’s a lot you have to do on your end.

Another cool thing that Emily said was that the ride was wild. Did you notice then Chris said that it was exhilarating? If you are lucky enough to be buying a home with a partner, this can be a great lesson for you. Lean into your partner’s strengths. Figure out the things that they do well and how do they handle things well. Lean into that, and then they will lean into you for the things that you do.

Whatever it is, if one of you handles the math and the other one handles the wants and the needs for the home, if one of you manages the stress, the other of you handles the meditation and relaxation exercises that you need to do, get together, lean into your superpowers. Get organized and prepared for whatever the market can throw at you.

I know what you are thinking. There are single people out there that are mad at me. I am not saying you need a partner for that. Trust me. I love the single people buying homes. Single ladies are the fastest-growing sector of first-time home buyers. If you are out there and thinking about doing it, kudos to you, first of all, “I don’t need a man. I don’t need a ring.” I feel you, ladies. That is what your unicorn is for. The unicorn is the yin to your yang. They can ask as your advisor, your guide, and quite often, your therapist. It happens. I have been the therapist to many single buyers.

You always have the podcast to drop the truth problems and give you a dose of reality or a pep talk backed with facts and math to make you feel confident in your decisions. Take a lesson from Chris and Emily. Substitute your social media scrolling time with real estate app scrolling. It is not quite as sexy but you never know. Do not forget to look at the sold homes when you are looking at those apps. That is going to give you a real gauge on pricing. Not just the active list prices, solds give you the real data.

You will be happy to know that after this episode, they are settled and happy in their new home. We had an hour-long conversation about what to do next. Like many of you, with housing being so expensive these days, once you figure it out and get it done, you immediately start thinking about the future because you do not want to have to figure out how to do that all again. You want to use your house to leverage into the next things of your life.

In our discussion, they were so inspired by the ease of the process. Remember, it was easy because they were prepared and because they were expecting to be bad. They were so inspired by the ease of the process that they realized with the proper guides in place in the future, they are thinking about trying to own more than one home at a time. They want to do that at some point in their lifetime. They want a place to live, and then they want to have a rental property for security.

We discussed their options for pulling that off while keeping an eye on how to afford their forever home, which is their big goal. This is not it. This was a step up. It is a tricky balance but by already planning with trusted resources, we found them numerous options. My girl, Madison, is a show-famous here from episode 53. She is all over me to do an episode about what to do the year after you buy a home because she figured a bunch of stuff about her home warrantee, which she didn’t know, which means she wasn’t listening to me at one point.

Right before, she went, “I have had a microwave for two months, and I could have gotten this done?” It is called your warrantee. I will put that on me. I should have told her about it. Don’t worry, I will take this stuff from Chris and Emily, Madison, and a whole bunch of my buyers who have closed, and we will put together an episode of what to do after you buy a home. Once again, practicing my practical positivity that you will do this.

What we learned in this episode is it takes a team, it takes a realtor with a split personality to be able to do multiple different things for you, and it takes the right attitude from you in planning and organization to make this wild ride and in an interview with me from your own home. Follow @HowToBuyAHome on TikTok, @DavidSidoni on Instagram, How to Buy A Home podcast on YouTube, and keep getting tips and hacks for your plan.

The sooner you start the plan, the better options you will have to make this happen for you. I do not recommend that you try to do it as they did in 60 days. That is nuts but the good news is that for some of you, if you are ready, it could work out, and you could end up being another success story like Chris and Emily. Plan to work and then work the plan. You can do this. If you want to know more stories like this, hit the like, subscribe, and bang that notification bell and you will find out when the next one comes up.

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This podcast was started for YOU, to demystify things for first time home buyers, and help crush the confusion. After helping first timers for over 13 years, I knew there wasn’t t a lot of clear, tangible, useable information out there on the internet, so I started this podcast. Help me spread the word to other people just like you, dying for answers. Tell your friends, family, and perhaps that random neighbor you REALLY want to move out about How to Buy a Home! A really easy way is to hit the share button and text it to your friends. Go for it, help someone out. And if you’re not already a regular listener, subscribe and get constant updates on the market. If you are a regular and learned something, help me help others – give the show a quick review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or write a review on Spotify. Let’s change the way the real estate industry treats you first time buyers, one buyer at a time, starting with you – and make sure your favorite people don’t get screwed by going into this HUGE step blind and confused. Viva la Unicorn Revolution!

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