OL buyer story: Trinity & Justin

Patience makes the hunt grow stronger

How a layoff & falling out of escrow on their dream bungalow led Trinity & Justin to ‘the one’

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Since getting married in 2015, Justin and Trinity spent most weekends working the open house tour route in Northeast Los Angeles. Their home goal? Find a charming place with character and aesthetic appeal that would inspire them creatively, all while fitting in their price range — which was no small task in a hot market like Los Angeles.

Hitting the reset button

After a few months of disappointing home tours with their first real estate agent, the couple decided to put their house hunt on hold. At first, the couple focused on looking for homes at the low-end of their budget. “We were feeling discouraged and weren’t really happy with our options,” said Trinity.

At that time, Justin got laid off from his previous job. So, they put their house search on hold until they were financially stable again.

For them, waiting paid off. During that time, Trinity and Justin were able to save more money to put towards a down payment on a home that could check the boxes on their list of must-haves.

“Meanwhile, the housing prices kept climbing.”

New year, new real estate agent

Once the couple was ready to re-start their house hunt, they also looked for a new real estate agent. “I thought there would be someone with expertise and they would gauge the market for us and tell us if a place was good deal. That was our main focus.”

“We met with an agent and got along with him really well. We thought he got us,” says Trinity. “But then he handed us to somebody else.”

That’s when Justin and Trinity looked for other options and found Sarah, their Open Listings buying agent.

“The refund was the icing on top.”

The couple first met Sarah at a homebuying class and were surprised to learn about Open Listings’ model & commission refund of up to 50%.

“I didn’t know there were any other options in homebuying,” said Justin. “We thought this was it. Like, these are your closing costs, and this is how you have to do things. Just accept it.”

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Trinity & Justin with their Open Listings agent, Sarah, on closing day

Finding their new home

After a fresh start and regretfully backing away from “the most charming bungalow,” Trinity and Justin found a new contemporary architectural gem only 6 minutes away from their old place, bordering the artsy Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“We didn’t think we would be able to buy in this central part of town,” says Justin. “We weren’t initially looking in this area because everything was either too expensive or needed so much work. Then this just popped up.”

Buying with Open Listings

“Making an offer was a lot more intense with a traditional agent.”

Having been through the offer process with a traditional real estate agent, Trinity and Justin were surprised by how easy it was to submit offers through Open Listings.

“It was so fast and basically instant. In LA, you have to make multiple offers. It was easy and didn’t feel as stressful as the traditional way. It’s more stressful when you can’t see everything perfectly laid out on a screen.”

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Modern meets ‘jungalow’ in Justin & Trinity’s new home

“There’s not just one home for you.”

Homebuying, in hindsight

Thanks to patience, planning, and the ability to act quickly, Justin and Trinity landed a home that exceeded any of their expectations.

When asked what parting words they had for other first-time homebuyers looking in a seller’s market, the couple shared some sound advice:

  • Set a realistic budget: “Don’t always start so low,” cautions Justin. “We started by looking at the cheapest houses, and that’s a totally different game.”
  • Get pre-approved for as much as you can: “In LA, it’s so competitive. If you find that perfect house, how much more are you willing to go? Have a good range just to be safe.”
  • Have extra cash on hand beyond your budgeted amount: “Inspections really do add up. Have wiggle room.” “If you don’t have the money, just wait a little bit,” Trinity suggests. “We did, and I’m glad because if we didn’t, we probably would’ve had to compromise too much.”
  • There’s always another cute house: “My friend is just starting to look for homes and will be like, ‘Oh my god, this is my dream house.’ That’s how I felt originally in the first home we were in escrow for, but now we’re in a better situation. Don’t buy into the myth of the perfect home.”

“Just be persistent, and always be ready.”

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Trinity & Justin open their new home for the first time

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Buyer stories are based on interviews with Open Listings customers. Participants in Open Listings buyer stories have been compensated with a $100 gift card for their time. Their quotes have not been altered, except for brevity or grammar.

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