Searching for homes is not unlike searching for a life partner; it takes a vision for the future, knowing what you want, the ability to compromise, and a little lust (due to curb appeal or curve appeal). Shopping for a new home can feel like online dating; after many disappointing tours, you’ll know when you find the one.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share a few of the love stories we’ve heard from Redfin Agents, who have helped happy couples find the home of their dreams together… and on occasion, have witnessed it all fall apart.
Stephanie LaCrosse and Tom Taira, Redfin Clients
Like many modern-day love stories, this one begins in an office. Stephanie and Tom worked together at a start-up in San Francisco. When the company went under, the two parted ways – he went to Los Angeles, she moved to Michigan. Years later they reconnected at a conference, and started a long distance relationship.
Their third date took place in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Tom flew up from L.A. to hang out, and the two hit the poker table at the Bellagio casino. The game would change their lives. “I didn’t really know how to play, but Tom put a $100 dollar bill in front of me and told me to have fun. About 30-40 minutes later, I was dealt a royal flush and won almost $200,000 dollars,” Stephanie said.
“I felt like Tom should take half or all of the money since it was his $100 bill that won, but Tom would have no part of it. He said I would do the right thing with the winnings and it was meant for me. On a third date, that shows you what an incredibly generous and trusting person my husband is. I think we both took it as a sign that we were meant to be together,” she said.
The practical pair paid off their student loans, and used the money to fly back and forth from Michigan and California, furthering their relationship. “As amazing as the money was, it was even more spectacular to experience this together and witness such an unselfish act by him… I knew we were meant to be together and although we never technically talked about it, I always considered the money ‘ours’ and a way to help us be together,” said Stephanie.
The couple has now been together for seven years, and recently purchased a home with the help of Redfin Agent Susan Proctor. “We recently became parents to a beautiful son named Ryan Thomas, and feel so blessed to be able to have our family in such a beautiful home,” said Stephanie. “We both love to travel back to Vegas because that’s where we feel we really fell in love.”
We would wish them the best of luck with their new home, but we have a feeling they don’t need it.
John Shultz and Lynn Etherton, Redfin Clients
Once again, office life brought two people together. He was a microbiologist, she was the executive assistant. Their roles kept them apart until a shipping-intensive project required John to frequently stop by Lynn’s desk. They didn’t officially start dating until John left the company.
Fast forward five years: they plan a trip to Peru, with the goal of hiking to Machu Pichu. Unfortunately, Lynn broke her leg right before the trip, making it impossible for them to make the climb. “It was pretty bad. I had broken bones, a walking boot, everything!” said Lynn. Despite the setback, the vacation ended up being one they’ll remember forever; John popped the question in front of a beautiful fountain, and of course she said yes!
The two moved from New York to Seattle, and ended up in a rental without a lot of space. The next step in their journey was to find a home, but the broken leg made touring a challenge. “We were really hoping to find a house before the wedding, but with the broken leg it kept being put off. Because we had been together for so long, we weren’t in a rush to get married; it was more important to get the space.”
When Lynn’s leg was healed, they were able to see more houses, and fell in love with a beautiful home in the Leschi area. “When we walked in this house, we both loved it. It was just such high quality,” said Lynn. They worked with Redfin Agent Allie Howard to put an offer on the house. “I thought it would be a very stressful thing, but it was great. Allie doesn’t live too far from us, so when we were looking at the house, she was recommending vendors nearby. It was like working with a friend rather than a company that wanted you to buy things quickly,” said Lynn.
A few days later, while Lynn was trying on wedding dresses, she received a call from John, “I was standing there, in the dress I loved. Normally I wouldn’t answer the phone in that situation, but it was John, and he told me we got the house!”
The two moved in shortly thereafter, and Lynn got the dress. “We got off on the wrong foot (pun not intended), but everything went perfectly in the end,” said Lynn.
Carol Stevenson, Redfin Agent
This story isn’t about a client, but one of our own Redfin Agents. Carol Stevenson, an agent in Boston, can thank Redfin Agent Profiles for helping her reconnect with a long lost love. 25 years ago, she met her man while working for a private investigation service in Boston. They dated for six or seven months, but her work required her to move to New York, causing them to break up.
The years passed by; Carol married someone else and had a daughter. At one point while she was married, her old boyfriend from Boston called her to wish her a happy birthday. He had also sent a letter to her home, but her mother hid it from her, only telling her about it years later, after Carol got divorced. “The letter got me thinking about him, so I decided to send a Facebook message to him. He didn’t check his Facebook page, so he never got the message.”
The two would be star-crossed lovers if it hadn’t been for Carol’s profile picture and email address on Redfin.com. “To the delight of the Lexington team – they’re still chuckling about this! – he emailed and asked me to call him. He lived about an hour away,” Carol said.
Despite living in different cities, the two have been together for over a year. “He said he tried to forget about me for the past 20 years, but he couldn’t. I feel like I’m 20 years old again. We picked up where we left off, like time hadn’t passed,” she said.
Carol credits the long-distance relationship. “If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that sometimes a separate residence is key to a long-lasting love.”
Bree Al-Rashid, Redfin Agent
Not all love stories have a happy ending. This one is about a couple of clients – who shall remain anonymous! Redfin Agent Bree Al-Rashid had been showing them homes as a couple for many, many months. “We lost a lot of bidding wars and had to take a big chance on a house that needed a lot of work, but was in a great neighborhood. It was a bank-owned place and it needed a lot of appraiser-required repairs, which we were miraculously able to get,” said Bree.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan. “Just a few days prior to closing, my partner dropped in on where they both worked. The client pulled my partner aside and said, ‘hey, I haven’t told her yet, but I’m leaving tomorrow to move to another city… for good,’” said Bree. “It was bad timing because she walked in behind him as he said it and she caught all of it.”
Just as he promised, the client left the next day and never said much to anyone. “I think the stress of buying a home really forced him to think about what he did or didn’t want from life. Eventually, they divorced or at least moved forward with proceedings,” said Bree. “It’s the only time that I’ve ever lost earnest money while representing a buyer. There’s no contractual contingency for break-ups.”