Customer Stories

Camille and Marlin's Story: Choosing Your Moment

Henry Demasco | 18 Jun 2021

The sunny rays and beautiful skyline were pretty much all Camille Provencal and Marlin Williford needed to see.

“We knew it was the one,” Camille said of their new home in Albany, California. “When we arrived the lighting was perfect, there was a lot of natural light. And we could see three bridges in the distance across the San Francisco Bay.”

Camille, Associate Director of Enrollment at Honors Pathway in Oakland, and Marlin, Upper School Dean of Students at Richmond's Leadership Public Schools, had been thinking about buying a home since 2019. But it was the pandemic, and accompanying jump in home sales, that finally made them decide 2021 was the year to buy.

“I think one of the things we were thinking a lot about in January – as to why to buy now – was really thinking about what it meant to build wealth, and that homeownership could play such an important piece in building stability and wealth over time,” Camille said. ”Thinking about this alongside the intersection of what it meant to be black homeowners was really important, especially in that we learned during the pandemic how few black homeowners there actually are in the U.S.”

“As the housing frenzy began, there was a lot of information coming out about how black families had been historically at a huge disadvantage when building generational wealth, one of them being barriers to homeownership due to factors such as institutional racism,” she added. “I think the timing, as well as this additional research around building wealth, really helped give us the additional motivation we needed to overcome a lot of our worries around homeownership, knowing that in the long run, it's a great investment.”

Marlin Williford8-min

Camille, Marlin, and their cat Zenny inside their new home in Albany, CA.

The couple had both heard about Landed at their workplaces, and decided to partner with us via our down payment program.

“We liked Landed’s shared appreciation model, which offered more favorable terms that other down payment options, some of which charged interest, for example,” Camille said.

They were also impressed by Landed’s speed of response and support, especially since they were first-time homebuyers.

“The homebuying education, including videos and other materials, was very important to us,” Marlin added. “I was impressed by how Landed gave us what we needed to know about the entire process.”

Marlin Williford69-min

Camille and Marlin's complex includes tennis courts and many other desirable amenities.

The couple had originally considered buying a house, with conflicting ideas about what they were looking for. Fortunately, their Landed partner agent helped them meet in the middle on what was right for them.

Together, they realized the two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo they purchased was the best option since they are busy and don’t want to have to worry about the extra maintenance, such as yard work. Plus, the building has great amenities and, of course, that view of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, and more.

The couple say they are grateful they worked with Landed and hope other essential professionals – even those who are young and just starting their careers – check out the down payment program.

“Starter homes are in reach, so you should think about where you see yourself growing,” Marlin said. “And working with Landed is great. They focus on understanding exactly what you are looking for and help you attain it.”

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Customer Stories Northern California

About the Author

Henry Demasco

Henry is responsible for lifecycle marketing at Landed, bringing experience from various marketing roles at two other venture-backed real estate brokerages (Compass and Side). He began his career in the creative agency world, and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and Oxford University.

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