Chloe and Daniel Li in front of their first home. Courtesy of Chloe and Daniel Li

Chloe and Daniel Li in front of their first home. Courtesy of Chloe and Daniel Li

First time homebuyers: A whirlwind journey that was ‘totally worth it’ in the end

One Eastside couple shares their experience with buying their first home.

  • Monday, March 19, 2018 9:38am
  • Life

By Annie Gustafson

Special to the Reporter

Eager to become first-time homebuyers, Daniel Li and Chloe Li started their search for a home on the Eastside with a mixture of hope, trepidation about the current market and a sense of urgency.

The Lis welcomed their first child, a girl, in May and while they had been casually been looking for a home for a while, they decided to step it up a few notches in August. Aware of the local headlines referring to the local market as “frenzied” and “red hot,” they knew they needed to find the right person to be their guide and advocate.

Enter local broker, Angelina Wallent of the John L. Scott office in Redmond.

With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Daniel said a mutual friend who had worked with Angelina introduced them.

“We intended to interview a few different people but we hit it off from the start with Angelina and we knew she would do everything she could to help us get the house we wanted,” he said.

Chloe and Daniel had a clear idea of what they wanted in terms of house size, lot size, the neighborhood and the school district. What they discovered during the process, however, was that there were a number of nuances they were unable to anticipate until they were in the middle of their search.

“Angelina helped us consider things like how much light would be in a room during various parts of the day, the size of the basement in relation to the rest of the house, and walk-up garages,” Chloe explained.

And, as new parents, they were also mindful of how their daughter would grow up in each house they considered. As they toured more homes, Chloe said their thinking started to shift.

“By the time we got to our house, we had already trained ourselves to temper our excitement on what we liked,” she said, “and focus more on questioning our ability to live with the things that we didn’t like. What made our house ‘the one’ is that we had to nitpick to think of things we didn’t like. It was clear this was the best house we had seen.”

Wallent said a past client described her role in the process as part coach and part fairy godmother.

“The coach in me is focused on setting realistic expectations such as what constitutes a good offer on a house in this competitive market,” she said. “The fairy godmother in me goes the extra mile for my clients to make things as easy as I can.”

For Daniel, Wallent’s magic was evident in two forms: gathering critical information and timing.

“The house was listed on a Thursday morning and Angelina offered to meet us at the house that same day to do a walk-through,” he said, “And this was two days before the scheduled open house.”

As soon as they saw the home, Daniel said they knew they wouldn’t be the only ones who wanted to call it home. Wallent scheduled an inspection for the next day and also reached out to the seller’s agent to get some insight on what they were hoping for.

These two pieces of information — the assurance from the inspection and the conversation with the seller’s agent — helped shape the details of the Lis’ offer on the home. Additionally, they used their previous experiencing of bidding and losing on a home (something they now see as a blessing in disguise) to give them extra confidence.

“We knew we had a limited time to make an impression so we went for it,” Daniel said. “Paying for the inspection up front was risky, but we knew it’d be worth it for peace of mind.”

Wallent concurred: “In this market, you don’t get a second chance and submitting an early offer before the review date doesn’t always work.”

The details of the offer included waiving financing, making an offer above asking price and a nonrefundable deposit. Upon receipt of the offer, the seller accepted within a few hours. Daniel believes that if they had waited one day, they wouldn’t have gotten the house.

For those still on the hunt for their home, Daniel offered this advice: “You have to be willing to make tough choices or else you won’t be competitive. It doesn’t always feel fair but you can take steps to make as many reasonable decisions as possible.”

Chloe added that working with Wallent was a bright spot and said, “She has a way of being supportive while also being really direct about what will get you the house.”

The Lis continue to keep in touch with Wallent.

The Lis were thrilled to become first-time parents and first-time homeowners in the same six-month period.

“We honestly talk bout how much we love the house at least once a day,” Daniel said. “We still see what pops up on the market but we have yet to see one house that even close to our home. It was a whirlwind journey, but totally worth it in the end.”

Wallent is based in the John L. Scott office in Redmond, which is led by branch leader Mona Spencer and is dedicated to focusing on transactional excellence and creating clients for life. Wallent’s email is: angelinaw@johnlscott.com.

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