Growing up as a military kid often means moving around a lot.
For Kyle Donald—the youngest of three boys—military life meant bouncing around between Virginia and Tennessee for most of his childhood. As he grew older, these regular moves gave Kyle a strong desire to buy a home of his own one day. He dreamt of a place to call his own.
Kyle relocated from Tennessee to Atlanta in the summer of 2020. Even with a stable career in healthcare, moving in the middle of a pandemic was scary. “I’d wanted to buy a house in Tennessee, but I decided to move to Atlanta for work and started out by renting. COVID has slowed everything down, and it just seemed best to stay put for awhile.”
After renting for six months, Kyle recognized that he wasn’t doing himself any favors. He wasn’t building any equity, but even more importantly, he wasn’t being honest with himself. “I eventually realized I needed to follow my heart and start looking for a home,” he remembers. “The stressful part was that it seemed like everyone else had the same dream I did.”
An unreal market
Kyle was new to the Atlanta area and a first-time homebuyer, so he knew he needed help. He connected with his realtor, Jezell Griffin, through mutual friends. Jezell was also a transplant from Tennessee and a military kid. It felt like a perfect match.
“Sellers here are literally overwhelmed with offers.”
What wasn’t so perfect was the real estate market in Atlanta. Markets were heating up across the country, but Atlanta was in a league of its own. “Sellers here are literally overwhelmed with offers,” says Jezell. “I remember a house going on the market on Monday. We scheduled a showing for Tuesday morning, but it was canceled late Monday night because the sellers already had 30 offers and couldn’t handle any more.”
Part of the challenge was COVID’s impact on supply chains. New homes weren’t being built as quickly as normal, which meant existing homes were going fast. The other challenge was Kyle’s budget. “I was approved for a high number,” Kyle remembers. “That sounded great, but I didn’t want to spend that much money. I didn’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck.”
Houses in Kyle’s ideal price range were relatively rare and very competitive. “One house I put an offer in on had 60 total offers. How do you compete with that?”
Changing up the approach
They kept up the hunt for nearly nine months. It was a grind, but Kyle describes himself as an eternal optimist. He knew he’d eventually find the right fit. “I just knew I needed this for myself. Rent was going up on my apartment, and I just couldn’t keep living there and be happy.”
“It was obvious the traditional mortgage wasn’t working. I realized I couldn’t be too scared to try something new. Most of the time when we weren’t winning our offers, it was because a cash buyer had swooped in.”
After a number of rejected offers, Jezell suggested changing up their approach. Nearly 70% of homes purchased in the market were cash offers, and she thought that a conventional mortgage might be the reason they were losing out. Her mentor had worked with a number of clients who used Homeward, and she thought it might be a good fit for Kyle.
He was initially skeptical, but eventually agreed that they needed to try something different. “It was obvious the traditional mortgage wasn’t working. I realized I couldn’t be too scared to try something new. Most of the time when we weren’t winning our offers, it was because a cash buyer had swooped in.”
Working with Homeward was a new experience for both Kyle and Jezell, but they found plenty of support. “Having a Homeward advisor was really helpful,” says Jezell. “We were learning the process together, and they were always available for questions.”
Kyle agrees: “My Homeward rep had a real estate background, so she could speak to Jezell and I about what she thought would work best for me not just as a Homeward rep, but as a realtor.”
Testing the waters
Armed with The Homeward Cash Offer, Kyle and Jezell got back out there.
Nothing had changed in the market, but at least the playing field felt a bit more level. In October 2021, Kyle put in his first Homeward cash offer on a house. Two other agents were touring the house with clients at the same time, so they knew speed was important. After submitting the offer, Jezell immediately followed up by calling the listing agent to introduce herself and to discuss the cash offer Kyle was bringing to the table.
It was their very first cash offer, and to their shock, it was accepted.
“Afterwards, the listing agent told me it was the easiest transaction she’d ever done,” says Jezell. “Cash really is king, but the other part that was important was how fast we were able to close. Closing within 14 days is a huge deal.”
After the quick closing, Kyle moved into his new home in early November. He used Homeward Mortgage to secure his financing, and then bought the home back from Homeward in December. It was the best Christmas gift he could have hoped for.
Reaping the rewards
Reflecting back on her first experience using Homeward as a realtor, Jezell says, “It’s a really great tool. I mainly work with first-time homebuyers, and it helps to have Homeward available. It builds a lot of trust when I can say, ‘I’ve got this option that I guarantee can give you better odds of getting the home you want.’”
“I’ve got this option that I guarantee can give you better odds of getting the home you want.”
Kyle moved into his new home a few months ago. He still can’t get over the impact being a homeowner has had on him. “It’s very rewarding waking up and realizing this place belongs to me. It makes me value myself a lot more. I’d say it’s even had an impact on my job—I’m more motivated and driven to do even more. It’s given me a new level of confidence and responsibility.”
Owning a home comes with responsibility, but it also brings a lot of fun. “My family is so excited for me. My older brothers are ecstatic. They bought me a new washer and dryer when I moved in, and just last week they bought me a new grill for the summer.”
Kyle’s looking forward to many, many years of family parties and entertaining in his beautiful home.