Homeowner Geetha Sivanandam and her family were living in a two-bedroom condominium in downtown Denver when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Despite spending more time at home than ever, the Sivanandams were comfortable in their convenient location.
For a while, at least.
“My daughter had just turned 11, and I think she was starting to outgrow the space,” says Sivanandam.
Aside from the family’s close quarters growing increasingly closer, their homeowner’s association fees were steadily rising with the cost of special assessments.
“It was an old building and we noticed a lot of other residents selling, so we started to think maybe we should go also,” she explains. “Interest rates were low, so we thought, ‘Well, let’s start looking.’”
But like so many homeowners in her position, Sivanandam was nervous about the prospect of selling one home while buying another. How would they come up with a down payment with their funds still tied up in their existing home? Where would the family go if their condo sold before they had a chance to close on their next property? And never mind the hassles of trying to maintain a tidy home while simultaneously packing, accommodating the walkthroughs of potential buyers, and living daily life.
Reluctant to commit to a decision one way or the other, Sivanandam started looking for a possible solution. A friend who had recently purchased a house told her about a company that makes it possible for any qualified buyer to become a cash buyer, and Sivanandam, curious, signed up. But instead of receiving immediate assistance, she found herself on a waiting list.
“I thought, well, they can’t be the only company out there doing this, so I started Googling,” Sivanandam says. “That’s how I found HomeLight.”
HomeLight Trade-In: no waiting required
As soon as Sivanandam read about HomeLight Trade-In, she took the idea to her real estate agent. With Trade-In, HomeLight makes a guaranteed offer to buy the existing home. This allows sellers to become buyers first, frees up equity in the home, and removes the sales contingency.
“It worked out great because HomeLight Trade-In had just gotten into the Colorado market,” recalls Sivanandam. “I got approved for the program quickly and we found a house almost immediately, like within a couple of weeks.”
The Sivanandams looked at five or six houses, and when they found the one they wanted, their agent encouraged them to make an offer at the asking price — a risky move in Denver’s ultra-competitive market, where many offers are made above list price.
“Because of HomeLight Trade-In, our offer was so strong — we were putting over $300,000 down and didn’t have a sales contingency — the seller took it.”
This meant that the family successfully upsized to a four-bedroom home with a basement, a garage, and a spacious backyard.
“All the things you didn’t realize you miss when you’re living in a city!,” laughs Sivanandam.
Selling made easy
Since HomeLight Trade-In lets sellers remain in their existing homes until they’ve closed on the new one, moving out is as stress-free as possible. All the cleaning, repairing, or updating of a home comes after vacancy — making the process more comfortable for sellers and increasing the likelihood of a higher sales price. And if the home sells for more than the agreed-upon price? That money goes right back to the seller.
Though the Sivanandams’ condo took longer to sell than they’d hoped — about 60 days due to their unit competing with others in the building that had been lavishly renovated — they still pocketed some extra cash at the end of the process.
“HomeLight just made it so easy,” says Sivanandam. “We didn’t have to worry about contingencies and everything was out of our hands, which was nice. Since we put a ton of money down on the new house, we had a whole bunch of equity going into it; and we got $15,000 or $20,000 back after the condo sold. It was great.”
Sivanandam says she doesn’t think her family’s new home would have been possible without the help of HomeLight Trade-In.
“We probably still could have found and bought a place, but things would be so different,” Sivanandam reflects. “We’d have a higher mortgage because we couldn’t have put a lot of money down, we might have had to pay for mortgage insurance, maybe pay on both houses and HOA expenses until the old one sold…
“Life is easy now because I was able to get everything done with HomeLight.”
Header Image Source: (JDI Investments)