Carla Clark and Kale Corey of The Results Team at KW went from skeptical to true fans after helping first-time homebuyers Mike and Kacie get in the Seattle market using Loftium’s down payment. Now they’re working with multiple buyers who see Loftium as the leverage they need beyond a wait and save approach to home-buying. Here’s how Loftium went from being “mysterious” to actually simplify the financing process.
Loftium CEO Yifan Zhang spoke with The Results Team to get the full story.
Yifan (YZ): Your team has extensive experience in real estate. Can you share a bit more about your background and approach?
The Results Team (RT): The Results Team is made up of 7 of us at the moment. What we believe is that purchasing a home is one of the most stressful decisions you’ll make. But it doesn’t have to be. We work toward understanding what our clients need and being able to walk them through the process, and that takes away the apprehension.
Our team has represented over 1000 families, practicing real estate for over 20 years.
YZ: How did you hear about Loftium initially?
RT: We heard about it through Mike and Kacie, who said they saw [Loftium] scrolling through Instagram. So we were super skeptical!
YZ: I bet! What were some of those concerns, besides the Instagram part?
RT: With many down payment programs, everybody’s first thought is: “What’s the catch?” A lot of lenders offer down payment assistance but they raise the interest rate or just hide the cost in fees the consumer doesn’t understand. We often say, “If it seems too good to be true, I’d be nervous.”
The biggest concerns were a) How transparent will this process be, and 2) How will any lenders wrap their minds around this.
Kacie and Mike and everyone on our team involved with Loftium and Dulcie felt like you were additional team members. We were extending ourselves with the same goal of benefiting Mike and Kacie.
YZ: What alleviated these concerns for you about Loftium?
RT: The transparency concern was immediately gone – Mike was able to go in and talk with a human being, which was very helpful in alleviating fears. The other piece was solved because you already had the relationship with the lender [Umpqua Bank].
I honestly expected that we were going to have to have two lenders going through this. Two different parties with different agendas, asking different questions, different documentation. But it did not turn out to be a problem at all. Loftium and Dulcie [Patner of Umpqua] were so in sync, it actually simplified the financing process.
Everything [Dulcie] said she would do she did, and all timelines were met. A couple of instances we thought “this is where it’s going to get tricky”, and it never did.
YZ: What was that tricky moment and what was the process like working with Loftium and Umpqua?
RT: There was a term in our contract that was not a standard term. Mike and Kacie needed to be able to prove that they had the funds 10 days before closing. This was a relatively new process for Loftium but it wasn’t a problem at all. Mike made a call, [Loftium] made it happen, within a day we had funds sitting in title and escrow. It turned out to be easy.
YZ: What was your favorite part of working with Loftium?
From the consumer perspective, [real estate] is a business that people forget the end result is always the satisfaction of the client. Kacie and Mike and everyone on our team involved with Loftium and Dulcie felt like you were additional team members. We were extending ourselves with the same goal of benefiting [Mike and Kacie]. That doesn’t happen as often as it should.
We’d all like to believe that if we just practice discipline and save, we’ll make a better investment. The truth is over time it is almost impossible for an average person to save at a level that puts them ahead of the increasing market.
YZ: Why do you think your clients wanted to use Loftium, and how are they feeling now?
RT: For Mike and Kacie, trying to maximize their buying potentials given interest rates and in geographic area and trying to make numbers work, they either have to pay significantly more or get less house. [Loftium] enabled them to take current rates and get exactly what they were looking for in their desired area. For them as an amazing byproduct, they’re only a month in but every conversation we have with them, Kacie tells us how much she’s enjoying the process of being a host and a homeowner.
YZ: Do you think Loftium would apply for other clients too?
RT: We often have conversations with buyers, especially younger ones, who because of prices of homes going up, it’s hard to have a conversation when they don’t have a down payment but understand that time is of the essence. It’s hard to not have a good option for them.
We’d all like to believe that if we just practice discipline and save, we’ll make a better investment. The truth is over time it is almost impossible for an average person to save at a level that puts them ahead of the increasing market. We’ve run the numbers over and over but where and what they want to buy is often out of reach. Saving does not give them enough leverage.
It’s a net zero at best, wait for 3 years and end up at the same spot. Most of the time you have less buying power after waiting.
Loftium for Mike and Kacie provided that leverage. It made them feel like the deck was stacked in their favor this time.
YZ: How are you using Loftium now for your clients?
RT: We’re talking about it a lot right now. It’s an opportunity to touch point, and very early on in the conversation there doesn’t exist other opportunities to do so. This is a real opportunity for people who don’t see Airbnb as a burden – This is free money to them. It’s a very different conversation than trading off rates vs down payments. Everyone is very interested in the idea because it feels very different, fresh, hip.
There a generation that has the desire to live in the city and it’s getting expensive. A lot of people buy a house and don’t use half of it so why not just use it. We’re working with 2 other buyers using Loftium now.