The dream of home ownership is still alive – even in this market.
It’s always comforting to hear from someone who’s walked the path you want to take. Below are three stories about homeowners who overcame obstacles to have their piece of the American dream.
The Cusick Family.
Alex and Jenny Cusick wanted to start a family. To the Cusicks, that meant kids and a house. Finding a home in the surging Seattle housing market proved to be too much, so they started looking in their hometown of Spokane.
Being close to family was also a big selling point. Parents on both sides were eagerly awaiting their kids, and potential grandkids to come home.
As they looked at the Spokane market, they saw great homes in neighborhoods they like. But every month they noticed home prices ticking up.
“We'd be looking at houses and every like two weeks or so prices would jump up $10,000, jump up another $5,000 and we're sitting here like, man, time's ticking. It was a race against the clock,” said Alex.
Needing to act fast, they hired a Spokane Realtor and had their parents send video walk-throughs of potential homes.
“We bought our house sight-unseen.”
Being members of STCU, they had a familiar partner they could trust. Having to buy a home totally remote was scary, but loan officer Trina Murphy held their hand the whole way.
Jenny is so happy they found a home for their family, close to family. “It's an amazing feeling having your house that you can decorate, where you can raise your family,” she said. “This is where our family's making our memories and we're building our life. It's a pretty great feeling.”
The Lewton Family.
In early 2021, the Lewtons were looking for a home for their growing family. Evan is a pilot for a regional airline and Laura left her nursing job to be a full-time mom of Evelyn and Leo.
To Evan, looking for a home in a sellers’ market was frustrating. “Getting rejected was just so rough, so hard and really a letdown,” he said. “But we kept looking and kept trying and tweaked our offers and eventually switched lenders to STCU. That really changed the situation and made a big difference.”
The Lewtons and their Realtor looked at 40 homes and made eight offers. Every offer got rejected. “Some of the language that was conveyed in our pre-approval from our previous lender wasn't clear to sellers,” Evan said. “It wasn't long after we switched to STCU that we were able to actually get an offer accepted.”
The Lewtons switched to STCU and made a ninth offer on a different home – and got rejected, again. The tenth time was a charm.
“When you look back to a lot of your memories as a child, most of them happen in your home,” Evan said. “It's neat to have our own place to make memories with our kids.”
Even adults need hand-holding sometimes.
The Lewtons were first-time buyers in a market that is tough for even the most seasoned buyer. Many find themselves making offers above asking price, adding addendums, and even waiving inspection.
The online portal and accessible service provided by STCU made them feel they had support every step of the way.
“We looked at 40 homes and made 10 offers before finally getting accepted.STCU made the difference.”
“You could have the best interest rate in the world and not have a home,” Evan said. “Our loan officer’s willingness to be an advocate for us was probably the biggest deal because she called the listing agent and was an advocate for our financing.”
Home sweet home.
Having their own home has made life easier for Evan, Laura, Evelyn, and Leo. There’s space for guests, a playroom for the kids, and a park close by where they can see airplanes from the local airfield. Evelyn loves airplanes, maybe more than Daddy.
“She has 12 airplanes in her room,” Evan said. “She wants to be a pilot when she grows up. Imagine that.”
The Guenther Family.
Andrew Guenther grew up in the real estate business. His Realtor is also his mother, Marianne Bornhoft. She encouraged Andrew to think about home ownership early on and sent him down path toward generational wealth.
Andrew bought his first home at 19, with a home loan through STCU.
A budding family and a side business.
After his first home, Andrew and Caitlin married and they purchased a second home together when Andrew was 21. They kept their first home and are using it as a rental property to generate income.
“Our realtor recommended STCU over every other lender.”
“It started off with getting preapproved,” Andrew said. “It was a very smooth transaction, and STCU was able to increase how much we could afford which made it possible to purchase this second home.”
Anyone can do it.
A lot of people out there want to own a home but are discouraged by higher prices and competition for the small supply of homes. Caitlin and Andrew want others to know it’s possible. “People think there's no way I could afford it,” Andrew said. “The down payments don't need to be this big number. Take your time and save up, anyone can do it. Even at the age of 25 and 23.”
Now Andrew and Caitlin are getting ready to buy their third home - and plan on using STCU.
All loans subject to approval.