BANGOR, MAINE — “I was always under the mistaken impression that as a single mother on a modest income, I should just rent,” Christel said. “I took a hard second look at that assumption once I was in my home 24/7. With COVID, we started to feel the need to move out of our small little townhome – the walls were closing in. My young son and I were in this two-bedroom townhouse and he was growing. When we moved there he was tiny and didn’t need much space, but now at seven years old, things were different.”
“I heard that the housing market was crazy for buyers, but at that point I was so over being in the situation I was in. I thought I was ready to go through fire – to go through anything – to get into a home.”
“Just when I was thinking about all these things, the universe sent me a sign, Lisa Liberatore (of NextHome Experience) shared on Facebook that she was becoming a REALTOR®.”
Christel and Lisa had never met beyond social media, but they felt like old friends.
“Christel said in our initial meeting that if she was ever going to buy a house, it would be with me by her side,” Lisa added. “She had followed my journey online going through a divorce, selling my home, staying with family while I rebuilt my foundation to be able to buy on my own. Our sons are the same age. We were so similar.”
“It definitely seemed meant to be,” Christel said. “Lisa and I had been acquaintances online for several years – as a fellow single mom with a wealth of knowledge about the area, she helped me when I first moved to Maine.”
This would be Christel’s first home purchase, and Lisa’s first transaction as a licensed REALTOR®.
“I reached out and said ‘I feel like this is a sign. Can we just chat? I don’t even know if I’m a good candidate for this.’ We did and the rest is history,” Christel said.
Well, the rest is a really trauma-filled, bumpy history.
“It was an emotional process of submitting lots of offers and getting rejected,” Lisa said.
“I was not prepared for how quickly everything was going to happen, and the pressure to quickly make decisions that I would normally take time to carefully consider,” said Christel. “I would look at a listing, try to get a gut feeling and move forward with an offer. After a while, it felt like I was wasting my time because by the time I got to look at the home they already had five offers.”
“In one case, a listing dropped at 8 a.m., we went to look at it at 5 p.m. and I was ready to put in an offer, but came to find out as Lisa went to put in the offer that the seller had already accepted an offer that night.”
“People were offering way over asking and beating everyone out, but I was a single mom on a limited income. My budget was my budget, I could not go over. I was giving everything to this,” said Christel.
“It was super stressful and, at times, discouraging,” Christel said. “I had some major challenges happen along the way.”
One day, the duo saw a home that Christel immediately fell in love with. That’s when everything from appraisals to financing exploded.
“There were a lot of financing challenges,” Lisa said. “But both sides were dedicated to making it work.”
Christel felt as if the people around her were summoning superhuman strength just to get her and her son into their own home.
“Through all the ups and downs, I kept saying ‘Lisa how are you doing this. You are a strategist, a psychologist, a numbers cruncher. How are you dealing with me? I’m a wreck. I’m all over the place.’ Lisa knew what I was going through and, through it all, she consistently made clear that she was there to support me.”
Eventually, with a lot of hard work, Christel was able to close on a three-bedroom home with a metal roof, a functional entryway, and a fenced backyard in a supportive neighborhood.
“Even when they handed me the keys after closing day, I had been through so much that I thought in a couple of days someone was going to call me and ask for the keys back,” Christel recalled.
But then her son began to say something that tugged at Christel’s heart.
“He said, ‘thank you for getting me this house mommy,’” Christel said.
At seven years old, her son is always on the swing set outside – rain or shine.
“He doesn’t care, he can just walk outside and he is so happy,” Christel said.
A Little Free Library stands in Christel’s front yard – a remnant from the last owner, and a lingering tribute to Christel’s family’s love of reading.
“When we walked into her forever home, we both knew standing in the doorway- this is the house we were searching for,” Lisa said. “It checked all Christel’s boxes, and more.”
“Sitting at the closing table, the buyers and sellers cried,” Lisa added. “It brought a tear to my eyes. Christel worked so incredibly hard to provide her son the best life possible. Being a single parent is a struggle like no other and to achieve homeownership alone is a reason for celebration. I am so fortunate she chose me to help her achieve her goal of providing the most amazing life for her son. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing first closing in my career!”“I couldn’t have asked for a better advocate and friend to see me through,” Christel added.