Chloe Li (left) and Daniel Li in front of their first home. Courtesy of Chloe and Daniel Li

Chloe Li (left) and Daniel Li in front of their first home. Courtesy of Chloe and Daniel Li

First time home-buyers: A whirlwind journey that was ‘totally worth it’ in the end

One Eastside couple shares their experience with buying their first home.

  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 11:28am
  • Life

By Annie Gustafson

Special to the Reporter

Eager to become first-time home buyers, Daniel Li and Chloe Li started their search for a home on the Eastside with a mixture of hope, trepidation about the current market and a sense of urgency.

The Lis welcomed their first child, a girl, in May and while they had been casually been looking for a home for a while, they decided to step it up a few notches in August. Aware of the local headlines referring to the local market as “frenzied” and “red hot,” they knew they needed to find the right person to be their guide and advocate.

Enter local broker, Angelina Wallent of the John L. Scott office in Redmond.

With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Daniel said a mutual friend who had worked with Angelina introduced them.

“We intended to interview a few different people but we hit it off from the start with Angelina and we knew she would do everything she could to help us get the house we wanted,” he said.

Chloe and Daniel had a clear idea of what they wanted in terms of house size, lot size, the neighborhood and the school district. What they discovered during the process, however, was that there were a number of nuances they were unable to anticipate until they were in the middle of their search.

“Angelina helped us consider things like how much light would be in a room during various parts of the day, the size of the basement in relation to the rest of the house, and walk-up garages,” Chloe explained.

And, as new parents, they were also mindful of how their daughter would grow up in each house they considered. As they toured more homes, Chloe said their thinking started to shift.

“By the time we got to our house, we had already trained ourselves to temper our excitement on what we liked,” she said, “and focus more on questioning our ability to live with the things that we didn’t like. What made our house ‘the one’ is that we had to nitpick to think of things we didn’t like. It was clear this was the best house we had seen.”

Wallent said a past client described her role in the process as part coach and part fairy godmother.

“The coach in me is focused on setting realistic expectations such as what constitutes a good offer on a house in this competitive market,” she said. “The fairy godmother in me goes the extra mile for my clients to make things as easy as I can.”

For Daniel, Wallent’s magic was evident in two forms: gathering critical information and timing.

“The house was listed on a Thursday morning and Angelina offered to meet us at the house that same day to do a walk-through,” he said, “And this was two days before the scheduled open house.”

As soon as they saw the home, Daniel said they knew they wouldn’t be the only ones who wanted to call it home. Wallent scheduled an inspection for the next day and also reached out to the seller’s agent to get some insight on what they were hoping for.

These two pieces of information — the assurance from the inspection and the conversation with the seller’s agent — helped shape the details of the Lis’ offer on the home. Additionally, they used their previous experiencing of bidding and losing on a home (something they now see as a blessing in disguise) to give them extra confidence.

“We knew we had a limited time to make an impression so we went for it,” Daniel said. “Paying for the inspection up front was risky, but we knew it’d be worth it for peace of mind.”

Wallent concurred: “In this market, you don’t get a second chance and submitting an early offer before the review date doesn’t always work.”

The details of the offer included waiving financing, making an offer above asking price and a nonrefundable deposit. Upon receipt of the offer, the seller accepted within a few hours. Daniel believes that if they had waited one day, they wouldn’t have gotten the house.

For those still on the hunt for their home, Daniel offered this advice: “You have to be willing to make tough choices or else you won’t be competitive. It doesn’t always feel fair but you can take steps to make as many reasonable decisions as possible.”

Chloe added that working with Wallent was a bright spot and said, “She has a way of being supportive while also being really direct about what will get you the house.”

The Lis continue to keep in touch with Wallent.

The Lis were thrilled to become first-time parents and first-time homeowners in the same six-month period.

“We honestly talk bout how much we love the house at least once a day,” Daniel said. “We still see what pops up on the market but we have yet to see one house that even close to our home. It was a whirlwind journey, but totally worth it in the end.”

Mona Spencer, the leader of the Redmond John L. Scott office where Wallent is based, said Wallent is a true “people person” and excels at providing best-in-class representation.

Wallent is dedicated to focusing on transactional excellence and creating clients for life. Her email is angelinaw@johnlscott.com.

More in Life

Members of the Bothell Police Department and Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr pose with Beca Nistrian and Will Tinkham after the city made its proclamation for “Cup of Kindness Day” on May 1. Photo via Twitter
Bothell nominated as a top 10 nicest place in America

Reader’s Digest held its second annual search for the nicest place in America. Bothell is a finalist.

Members of the King County Council join retiring executive director of ARCH Arthur Sullivan after the council recognized Sullivan as a voice for affordable housing in East King County. Photo courtesy of King County.
King County Council recognizes ARCH’S Arthur Sullivan

Executive director of A Regional Coalition for Housing retires after three decades.

Courtesy photo
Entering the winter real estate market – what to expect

Over the last five months, there has been more inventory than in previous years previously.

Bothell seeks art for display in City Hall lobby

The deadline to apply is Saturday, Nov. 10.

Jack Crawford ‘Courtesy is Contagious in Kenmore’ Day set for Oct. 20

Crawford served as Kenmore’s first mayor from August 1998 through 1999 and served on City Council until December 2005.

Allison Apfelbaum
Fall into wellness

Simple tips for staying healthy this season

Allison Apfelbaum
Fall into wellness

Simple tips for staying healthy this season

Snohomish County seeking applicants for housing and community development projects

People can apply for for about $1.9 million in federal funds for affordable housing, public facilities, infrastructure and first-time homebuyer purchase assistance.

Cirque du Soleil dazzles audience with new ‘VOLTA’ show

‘VOLTA’ introduces electronic music and BMX biking to tell story with universal theme.

Orlay to host North Creek tours

Attendees will learn about local salmon varieties in addition to the area’s watershed.

Rain gardens: Nature’s sponge

A seminar will teach you how to create this natural way to control runoff in your yard

Community comes out to share their love for Kenmore

The annual #WhyILoveKenmore event included various activities for the whole family.