The Loftium team is connecting with recent buyers to showcase all the different reasons and ways people end up buying their homes.
Casey, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Seattle, wanted to buy in the Pacific Northwest after living in LA for 5 years. Here’s her story.
Miranda: Casey, tell us about yourself and why you bought this adorable condo.
Casey: I was born and raised in Bellingham. I was living in LA for five years first for nursing school, and then I worked there as a nurse, too. I loved it, but couldn’t picture buying a home and settling there. So I moved back to Seattle, and wow, I was so surprised by the rental market. I was going to rent on my own but it was so expensive.
M: So you were going to rent by yourself, but ended up buying instead? How’d that happen?
C: Yes, I rented with a couple of friends for a while when I first moved back, but I still wanted to live on my own. So I started looking for my own apartment again, and realized it made no sense for me to pay $2000-2200 for rent. That triggered me to look into buying, plus my best friend just bought a home and she pushed me to talk to a realtor and get pre-approved. You have no choice but to hit the ground running and I realized “oh this might be do-able!”
M: When did you buy?
C: I closed on April 12th!
M: So how does your new mortgage relate to your rent before buying?
C: I was living in a house 2 blocks away with 3 other roommates. My mortgage is double the monthly payment now, but I was living with 3 people and my rent was super cheap before.
M: Why’d you choose to buy in Greenwood, were you looking elsewhere?
C: I’m single and I want to walk places, I don’t want to live in the suburbs. I want to immerse myself in Seattle. I was looking to rent in Greenlake, Greenwood and Wallingford, and ended up buying in Greenwood.
M: What % down did you put towards your home? Can I ask how long you saved? Did you have help?
C: I put 5% down and I gave earnest money, which is what made me competitive. I thoughtfully saved for a year, but was passively saving before. When I last resigned my lease at my apartment I knew that was a marker for either buying or renting alone – either way I was saving for the next step for a year.
M: Was it the smartest financial decision you ever made?
C: I think so, there’s a little bit of fear that goes into it because the market is so high, but I don’t think rent rates will crash if something does happen, so it’s similar enough for me financially as renting. Buying didn’t kill me, financially. The nice part about Seattle is that worse comes to worst, I can always Airbnb or rent it out. (Promise we didn’t pay Casey to say that!) There are options. I would rather put money towards something that I can be excited about.
M: Do you feel like you “got in early” … Seattle market is very “hot”
C: I don’t know… I feel like I got in during the middle of it. I wasn’t ready to jump on it, and feel a little behind the game because I watched my friends who bought a year ago.
M: Do you feel like you have flexibility? If you wanted to move, what would you do?
C: My friends in California and Nashville, were like “oh, you’re really staying in Seattle now. But I don’t consider myself stuck because I bought, I can rent it out or Airbnb. There’s flexibility depending on the location.
But honestly, I’m not worried about that, I feel settled: I don’t have to or want to move out, I don’t have to find roommates – I feel settled, which is so nice.
M: What’s your favorite part about your condo?
My kitchen, easily. Easily!
M: What advice did you get during your home search?
C: I got a lot of advice to live outside the city so that I can buy “more.” When I thought about what I really wanted, the advice to more to the suburbs, made me realize it was important for me to get into a place where I could enjoy my life. It means a lot more to me to be in an urban setting.
M: What advice do you have for someone
C: Start looking, actually go and see things! Square footage looks very different in person and in different layouts. I also really got lucky with my realtors, they were really available and that’s so important. They ended up getting me my home. If I hadn’t looked in advance, put offers on other places that I like, they wouldn’t have known that this home really fit what I wanted. They were so on top of it, so I got it!