First-time homeowners find stability in a hectic market
After a decade of renting, Jessica and her fiancé Sam grew tired of the volatility that came with the increasing costs of living in Los Angeles.
So, as median monthly rents creeped up ~5.5% each year, the couple looked to home ownership for greater financial security and peace of mind.
"I mainly wanted to get out of renting because I was scared of getting pushed out [of my place]," says Jessica. "I just wanted something we could lock in."
Finding their first home & real estate agent
On Jessica's and Sam's list of must-haves? A condo within the Downtown Long Beach area, all in a modest price range where they, their two cats, and their dog Ryu could call home. "We didn't want anything big that we'd have to mow the lawn for."
Their plan was to find a starter condo that would fit their needs right now, wouldn't break the bank, and could make for a great future income property when the time came to upgrade. "We live in a college community, so we knew that when we outgrew our new place, renting it out would be a no-brainer," says Jessica.
Jessica, Sam, and Ryu enjoying their new condo
At first, Jessica and Sam started their house hunt with a traditional real estate agent they met at an open house. "She was wonderful. But, she was spread thin with her other clients, doing showings, and representing sellers as well. She wasn't as fast to communicate with us."
While working with their first agent, the couple quickly experienced the competitiveness of Southern California's homebuying market firsthand. "It was brutal," Jessica says. "We got outbid four times and were often up against investors."
Then, after seeing an Open Listings ad on Facebook and reading up on buyer reviews, Jessica decided to give the service a shot.
"I love how Open Listings operates like the internet exists."
With homes selling so quickly, Jessica, who led her and her fiance's house hunt, knew speed was crucial. When they were ready to make their first offer, the couple was paired with their Open Listings buying agent, Beatrice. "She was so great. I loved how quickly the team got back to me and kept me in the loop. It was a night & day difference with OL & a traditional agent."
"I owe Beatrice our life in this new place."
After 6 months of serious house hunting, Sam and Jessica eventually landed their spot: a one bedroom condo in a super walkable area of Downtown Long Beach.
But, it wasn't without a major hiccup. Three weeks into the escrow & closing process, an issue came up with Jessica and Sam's lender that almost prevented them from receiving their loan.
"We were ready to lose this place and move on," says Jessica. "But, then Beatrice jumped in and gave me alternate options. She was also working behind the scenes, which I didn't know at the time."
With some hard work and planning, Jessica and Sam's Open Listings buying agent was able to help ensure that the couple's loan would get funded.
"It felt like magic that day," Jessica says.
Sam, Ryu, & Jessica, comfy in their new bedroom
As the couple and their fur babies settle in to their new home, they're using their Open Listings refund to make a few minor updates, such as upgrading their light fixtures and saving up to make small paint and flooring upgrades.
But, Jessica's relationship with Open Listings hasn't ended. "I'm still using the feed to look at homes," she admitted. "I've gotta stop eventually, but it's fun to look."