How we ended up buying a house in a pandemic

It’s a strange time to be sharing this news, but hopefully sharing a positive story is more of what we need right now.

Last September I quit my job in tech after working as a creative and technical project manager for the last 10 years. I left the corporate grind behind with the hopes of pursuing a long time dream of opening a coffee business in our neighborhood. I spent the better part of the last six months writing a 32-page business plan. I talked to lawyers, bookkeepers, designers, and other coffee industry professionals.

We had our eye on a commercial space just up the road from our house and we started meeting with the landlords to discuss terms in early January 2020. But by the time the month was over, signs were already pointing toward the notion that this just wasn’t going to work out.

Donovan and I met with landlords in early January to tour our potential retail coffee space.

On March 6, the landlords officially turned us down and understandably told us they were going with another more established restaurant business. While I was initially crushed by the outcome of losing our perfect coffee shop location, there was this little internal voice saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”

I can’t even imagine what our life would be like right now if we had just signed a five-year commercial lease to start a retail business that relies on foot traffic.

As it would turn out, just five days later on March 11, WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and the Seattle area — where we currently live — was at the epicenter in the United States.

Source: @WHO on Twitter

I can’t even imagine what our life would be like right now if we had just signed a five-year commercial lease to start a retail business that relies on foot traffic. To be honest, we had a Plan B and we had already started putting that into motion in case this commercial space fell through. I just had this gut feeling that the universe had other plans for us and the coffee business.

We knew that real estate investing has worked for us so far. So we started keeping an eye out for unique properties we could own and roast coffee from our garage on a smaller scale instead of paying for a commercial lease while we are still just getting started.

We realized the safest place to re-invest our money was actually going to be in the housing market.

We had already set aside a portion of investment money from our stock portfolio in order to start our coffee business. When the retail space fell through we had to do something with our money because it wasn’t doing any good just sitting in our high-yield savings account as interest rates started dropping with the pandemic situation. And if we had just put our money back into the stock market, for example, it would have lost 30% of its value as the market continued to decline. We realized the safest place to re-invest our money was actually going to be in the housing market.

One weekend before the official stay home order was issued in Washington state, we took a day trip out to the Olympic Peninsula. We stumbled on a beautiful three-acre property for sale that had been sitting on the market for almost six months.

We stumbled on a beautiful three- acre property for sale. We knew this was the one.

We both looked at each other and we just knew, “this is the one.” Dono (my husband) always tells me not to get emotionally attached when we’re discussing business and investment opportunities. But sometimes, you just know.

Even though there was a lot of anxiety and stress with the decision to buy a house and completely change our life in the middle of a pandemic, we feel really, really good about taking the leap.

Buying this house was by far the weirdest signing and closing experience. We had to sign all of our loan documents from our car because of COVID-19. After 45 days in escrow of holding our breath hoping the banks would stay afloat so we could still get funding as the financial and healthcare crisis continued to rage, we finally got the keys to our new place.

We had to sign all of our loan documents from our car because of COVID-19.

Even though there was a lot of anxiety and stress with the decision to buy a house and completely change our life in the middle of a pandemic, we feel really, really good about taking the leap.

We are going to build a getaway retreat to share with adventurers coming to explore the Olympic peninsula. And we’ll start our coffee roasting business out of our garage there. (Stay tuned to find out when you can get your coffee fix from us in the near future!)

In the meantime, follow our financial journey and adventures while we change our lifestyle and learn to live rural, launch our own business, and do what we love most: exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Follow our adventures while we start a business and explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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