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Pets, Kids, and a Cross-Country Move: Why the Tilfords Chose HomeLight Trade-In

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What do you get when you take five kids, five dogs, five cats, and a few horses, then add a cross-country move and a global pandemic?

One heck of an adventure.

With possibly the busiest household in Placerville, California, the Tilford family was vividly aware that they’d outgrown their home. Since steadily rising prices throughout the Sacramento area would make it difficult for the Tilfords to locally realize their dream of farm living, they agreed to look further afield, ultimately choosing the Volunteer State.

“We started looking at homes in Tennessee, and we looked for probably a good six months,” says Nicole Tilford. “We started a list of favorites and we kept losing homes on our favorites list. In one day, I think three of them went into pending sale.”

The Tilfords knew how challenging it would be to purchase a home from across the country, and it quickly became clear that at least one of them would need to fly out and navigate the process face-to-face.

A great idea, except the coronavirus kept thwarting their plans with canceled flights. Their back-up plan to drive the whole family to Tennessee in a motorhome didn’t shake out either, in part due to the fact that they were also in the midst of renovating their house in California.

The Tilfords were overwhelmed. How would they sell their existing house — mid-remodel and filled with pets and children — while also trying to buy property 2,400 miles away?

The Tilford family, who used HomeLight Trade In to sell their home.
Source: (The Tilfords)

Finding solutions with HomeLight Trade-In

As they were trying to figure out what to do next, the Tilfords learned about HomeLight Trade-In through their real estate agent, Kelli Griggs.

HomeLight Trade-In brings refreshing convenience to the common dilemma of wanting to purchase one home while needing to sell another. It’s similar to the concept of trading in a car: HomeLight buys the current house for an agreed upon price, which then frees up equity and allows a seller to quickly make a strong offer on their move-up home — an offer that is free from risky sales contingencies.

Working together with a seller and their agent, HomeLight offers flexibility with moving dates and then completes any necessary repairs before the property is listed on the market. If the house sells on the open market for more than HomeLight’s purchase price and there is profit leftover after commission, service fees, and repair costs, the seller receives those additional funds.

HomeLight Trade-In allows sellers to receive full market value for their previous home, while facilitating a smooth transition into their new dream home.

Cross-country moving made (relatively) easy

Loading up their family and pets meant that relocating to Tennessee would take two 27-foot moving trucks, a 14-foot trailer, plus everyday luggage while in transit. No simple feat, but thanks to HomeLight Trade-In, the Tilford’s had some wiggle room.

“We were able to be flexible on our closing date with HomeLight,” says Eric Tilford.

“We closed a few days early in California so we could be in Tennessee to close on our new home in-person.”

In the meantime, without the conventional stress of having to sell before buying, the Tilford’s could focus on packing and readying their children for a major move.

“What we were going to do [before HomeLight Trade-In] was just continue to pack our stuff and stay in the house and try to sell it with us living there, even though we were really reluctant to do that,” Nicole shares.

“It’s hard to keep a house pristine. I tried one day; I was like, ‘you know, I’m going to see what it’s like to just really try and keep an eye out.’ It was impossible. Like, ‘oh my gosh, there’s a dog footprint; oh no, someone just smeared the window.’ We have twin toddlers and they’re into everything. They can trash a room in five minutes.”

Once the Tilfords were settled in Tennessee, HomeLight and Griggs went to work on preparing the Placerville house for listing on the market. The family’s recent remodeling efforts paid off, as the first day on the market yielded four offers—including the one that was accepted. What’s more, the sales price was $50,000 higher than expected and the Tilfords enjoyed a nice profit.

The process of selling with HomeLight Trade-In took just over 30 days from start to finish thanks to their agent’s expertise and the family’s convenient absence.

“It was good for us to get out of the way and let our real estate agent do her job,” says Eric. “That was absolutely the best thing we could have done, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t consider when they want to list their homes: showing and marketing and selling. For us to be able to not be there, I think maximized our profit. It was a win-win all the way around for us to actually vacate the house.”

A farmhouse purchased using HomeLight Trade-In.
Source: (James Obernesser / Unsplash)

Room to roam in Tennessee

Today, the Tilford family and their beloved pets are happily stretching their legs across 15 acres of land. Their 5,600 square-foot house already feels like home with its finished basement and ample front porch — footprints and window smears included.

Eric recalls how excited Nicole was when she found their soon-to-be home. “She said, ‘I found the perfect home,’ and I was like, ‘If you love it, I love it, let’s make this happen.’”

Thanks to HomeLight Trade-In, the Tilford’s were able to submit a contingency-free offer on their dream property.

“Our agent, Kelli, kept referring to HomeLight as the ‘easy button,’” says Eric. “If there were an easy button in real estate transactions, this would be it. I would definitely recommend HomeLight Trade-In to friends.”

Header Image Source: (Matthew T Rader / Unsplash)