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From Commute to Community: How HomeLight Trade-In and Cash Offer Helped One Family Buy Their Dream Home in Point Loma

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Before moving to their new neighborhood, weeknights weren’t exactly a thrilling time for the Halbert family.

“My girls and I were spending about an hour and a half in the car driving to and from school every day,” says Stacy Halbert, a high school Spanish teacher and homeowner in Point Loma, California. “When we got home, it was just homework, dinnertime, then bedtime.”

Stacy and her husband, Justin Halbert, a real estate agent and culinary instructor, had known for a long time that Point Loma was the ideal location for their family of four. They were drawn to the walkable neighborhoods, great proximity to beaches, and the chance to live near friends.

Though more than ready to eliminate the daily grind of commuting and sell their existing home to fund a relocation to Point Loma, the Halberts quickly ran into challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and a chaotic real estate market.

“There just weren’t a lot of properties available in our price range in the area we wanted,” Stacy recalls. “The market is so crazy right now and so many people are trying to buy a home — we felt like if we didn’t have cash in hand, our offer wasn’t even going to be looked at.”

A house that has used HomeLight Trade-In.
Source: Justin Halbert of PorchLightRealty Team

An inconvenient contingency

As an agent himself, Justin was keenly aware that he and his wife would need a competitive edge to make their offer stand out. Having to include a sales contingency in their purchase offer wasn’t going to cut it.

Beyond that, the Halberts needed a way to transition smoothly between homes. With an eight-year-old and a two-year-old in tow, selling their home too quickly could add another layer of complication. Finding temporary housing between the sale of their existing home and closing on a new one was simply not practical.

“We didn’t have anywhere to go, and we were almost ready to just wait longer with the whole deal,” says Justin, recalling how daunted he and Stacy felt with the prospect of needing to sell one home to fund the purchase of another. Putting off the move to their dream neighborhood began to feel like the only option.

The Halberts needed the flexibility to act quickly — especially with such low home inventory in Point Loma.

A house that has used HomeLight Trade-In.
Source: Justin Halbert of PorchLightRealty Team

Enter HomeLight Trade-In

Thanks to Justin’s work in real estate, he’d heard of HomeLight and thought the array of services sounded potentially valuable for clients. Since he was about to sell his family’s home and become his own client, he knew it was time to take a closer look at HomeLight Trade-In.

It wasn’t long before the Halberts realized the perfect solution was right under their noses.

“With HomeLight Trade-In, HomeLight actually buys your client’s home from them to unlock the equity — about 90% upfront,” Justin explains. “And then the beauty of that is they now have the cash in hand to go make an offer on their next home, without the contingency of selling their current home first.”

Furthermore, since HomeLight Trade-In works with homeowners — and their agents — to purchase the existing home at a fair price and with no hidden fees, the program makes it possible for sellers to stay in their existing home until they’ve found their next house. No residential reshuffling required.

That’s not all. With Trade-In, there’s also a potential financial bonus for the homeowner.

“What’s also amazing is that any money that is made on top of that 90% equity when the home sells, HomeLight cuts a check to the seller for the difference,” says Justin.

Thanks to HomeLight Trade-In, the Halberts were now in a much more flexible position. They wouldn’t have a sales contingency on their offer, they wouldn’t have to find a place to rent in between buying and selling, and they had money in hand to make a competitive offer.

Things were looking up! Except for one tiny little detail: Buyer competition in Point Loma was still cutthroat.

Source: Justin Halbert of PorchLight Realty Team

Next up: HomeLight Cash Offer

When it became clear that the Halberts would need even more leverage to secure a new home for their family in their desired neighborhood, they turned to HomeLight Cash Offer.

“With the homes that were selling in Point Loma — I mean, the cash offers were just outrageous,” says Justin. “So, we unlocked our equity with HomeLight Trade-In, then we were able to make an even stronger offer with HomeLight Cash Offer.”

The HomeLight Cash Offer program works by qualifying buyers through HomeLight HomeLoans, then, when a buyer and their agent find the perfect home, they have the power to make an all-cash offer.

This meant that when the Halberts finally found the perfect home in Point Loma, they were able to use funding from HomeLight Cash Offer to submit a knockout offer — complete with a fast close and no sales contingency thanks to HomeLight Trade-In.

How fast? Thanks to that knockout offer, the Halberts were able to close on their dream home in just 21 days.

It’s possible with HomeLight

Happily settled into their new home, the Halberts reflect fondly on their experience with HomeLight Trade-In and HomeLight Cash Offer.

“I don’t think I fully understood how HomeLight worked at first,” admits Stacy. “But as the process went on and we got deeper into learning about the programs, it all started to make sense. There was more and more of this revelation of how great and smooth everything went — it was even more than we thought we were going to get.”

From their Point Loma home, the commute for Stacy and her daughters is now a five-minute walk instead of a 45-minute drive. Evenings are no longer just for homework, dinner, and getting ready for bed — the Halberts can actually enjoy their downtime as a family.

“We gained so much quality of life by moving to this new home,” Stacy shares. “We have all this extra time now that we get to spend in our neighborhood riding bikes along the promenade, visiting with neighbors, or walking to dinner. We really get to enjoy the neighborhood we live in.

“HomeLight made it possible.”

Header Image Source: (DouggieDimmadab / Shutterstock)