Finding Home: Sandra

Published February 14, 2022
Bret Lawrence
by Bret Lawrence


Homebuyer highlights

Sandra, a recently divorced single mom, needed to find a new home in less than 60 days

She connected with a Better Real Estate agent who helped navigate the extreme market

She used the Better Cash Offer to make a winning bid and closed in 3 weeks

Finding and buying a home can be a lot of work. Most people spend months planning their journey—researching neighborhoods, building a budget, finding a lender, scrolling through online listings like it’s their job, and daydreaming about light fixtures and paint colors in their free time. But for Sandra, buying a house was the last thing she expected to have on her to-do list.

When her marriage ended last summer, the experience turned her world upside down. Suddenly, she had to find a new place to live—and fast. As she puts it, “I needed a house yesterday.”

Sandra is a mom and a teacher. She’s used to thinking on her feet, adapting, and problem-solving. (Please see: a year of figuring out how to host her high school Spanish classes over Zoom.) So naturally, when she realized she needed to find a new place to live, she sprang into action. First order of business? Finding a home for her and her 2 children.

She looked at a few apartments, but renting didn’t feel right. She wanted someplace in the suburbs, preferably with a big yard for her kids to play in. The only problem was that she had never bought a home before. She wasn’t quite sure where to begin. “I was feeling very discouraged and alone,” she remembers.

A quick Google search for “online mortgage” led her to Better Mortgage and Better Real Estate. After sharing some basic information, she received a call from an agent named Renee. “Right away, she set up an appointment to see the first house,” says Sandra. “And I took the kids with me because I wanted them to see it too.”

Renee and Sandra shared an instant connection. As a single mom herself, Renee knew that finding a home could provide stability, peace of mind, and security. So they hit the ground running, seeing houses every day of the week. But they weren’t alone…many properties at this time were getting 15–20 offers as soon as they were listed. It was a super crowded seller’s market and buyers like Sandra (who had a modest down payment and a mid-range buying budget) were at a disadvantage. She needed a leg up to win against the competition.

After chatting more about her timeline and budget, Renee thought that Sandra might be a perfect candidate for the Better Cash Offer. With this program, Better Real Estate makes an all-cash offer on the buyer’s behalf and purchases the home from the seller once the offer is accepted. From there, the buyer can finalize their mortgage and purchase the home from Better Real Estate.

Not only would this program allow Sandra to make a stand-out impression (buyers who make all-cash offers are 4x more likely to win their bids) it would also make it possible to close on her home faster. So Sandra started the pre-approval process and kicked the house hunt into high gear. “I would send Renee an online listing I wanted to see, and I would have a scheduled tour 24 hours later.”

Pull Quote: I Would Send Renee An Online Listing I Wanted To See, And I Would Have a Scheduled Tour 24 Hours Later.

Pretty soon Sandra found the home she knew she wanted. Originally built in the 1870s, the house had been completely renovated but still retained much of its original character. There was a huge porch with glass windows, an open concept floor plan, plenty of natural light, and a big yard for her children to play in. “You can feel there’s a history in the house,” says Sandra. “It feels like we were meant to be here.”

There was an Open House scheduled for an upcoming weekend…but it never happened. Renee was able to get Sandra a private tour beforehand, and she decided to leverage this early access by putting in a bid immediately with the Better Cash Offer. As soon as her offer was accepted, Better Real Estate paid cash to buy the home in full and the property was taken off the market.

From there, Sandra coordinated with Renee to pick a closing date a few weeks later. Unlike a traditional closing transaction, Sandra wasn’t pressured to work to any urgent deadlines—she could take things at her own pace, working with Better Real Estate rather than an antsy seller.

When a home is purchased using the Better Cash Offer, the buyer can move in right away if they sign a temporary rental agreement. This was another game changer for Sandra, who was able to start getting her children settled in while her mortgage was still being finalized. “Once we were moved in, I could finally breathe again,” she says.

When closing day rolled around, it was a seamless process to finalize her mortgage and buy back the home from Better Real Estate. “They came here, I signed the contract, the house was mine,” she says. “I didn’t have to do anything.”

Sandra credits the Better Cash Offer for helping her finance the property, but says it was her agent Renee’s hard work that helped her navigate the home search. “There is hope in the world. There are good people.”

Now that she and her children are fully moved in, she gets to enjoy the little things that make home feel like home. Cracking open a bottle of champagne, hosting family for the holidays, maybe even changing a light fixture or painting an accent wall? She also gets to begin a new chapter. “Every time I walk through the door, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come,” says Sandra. “I gave Better a hard task but they came through.”

Bret Lawrence is a senior copywriter at Better, where she writes about the ins and outs of home financing. Her work also explores the human side of homeownership—the people, places, and perspectives beyond the paperwork. She lives in Queens, NY with her wife and their dog, Banjo.

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