Customer Stories

Stories of Landed’s Impact in the Pacific Northwest

Winston Lofton | 20 Aug 2020

Making it Sustainable

Ariane (Ann) Hayes-Kouadio spends her days preparing hundreds of students to work as medical assistants in offices throughout Washington state, a deeply meaningful job even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But while it was purposeful work, it hasn’t been convenient for Ann.

Ann started as an Associate Tenured Professor in the Allied Health department of the Health Sciences, Education & Wellness Institute at Bellevue College just after her youngest child was born. She, her husband Gaston, and their two teenage children searched for a home to buy in the area but were unsuccessful. So for four years, Ann would wake up at 3:30am on Monday and get on the road to beat the morning traffic and then would return home on Wednesday night to her family. She trekked from Bellingham to Bellevue College, often a two hour journey across four counties each way. Looking ahead to the fall of 2020, she faced a tough choice.

“My family and I decided - either we get closer to Bellevue or I stop working and become a full time mom,” Ann said. “I didn’t want to step back and minimize our lifestyle, and we decided as a family to move closer.”

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Educator Ann Hayes & Family in front of their new home they purchased with Landed

Then Ann remembered Landed. She had attended an event in 2019 where Bellevue College kicked off its partnership with the new company. The college, like other higher education institutions and school districts in the Seattle area, was searching for ways to help their employees afford to live in an expensive housing market. Ann took advantage of Landed’s team-based approach and down payment support to buy a home. Now, she and her family own a home 26 minutes from campus.

Building Economic Security

Now that we’ve been supporting teachers and staff in the Puget Sound region in buying homes for almost 2 years, we are able to share data demonstrating the impact Landed’s shared-equity down payment program is having on educators, students, and the Seattle area community. The full impact report can be found here.

Educators who have worked with Landed in the Puget Sound region have bought over $17M worth of homes, amassing over $645K of wealth through homeownership. Given that the average Landed educator has only been a homeowner for a year, this represents approximately $31K of wealth gained per year per homebuying educator.

For those unfamiliar with Landed’s down payment program, the program invests alongside employees in education to help them reach a 20% down payment. Landed's funds, up to $120,000 per household, come in the form of an equity investment, meaning that homebuyers share in a portion of the gain – or loss, if any – of the value of the home once it's sold or refinanced.

The security that Landed down payment funds provided was a major reason why another educator, Emma Wohl, turned to Landed. Emma’s rent had been going up for years. Seattle does not have rent control and she had no way to know that she would continue to be able to rent in her neighborhood - or stay in her school - over the long term.

“I feel lucky to get to teach the kids I teach,” Emma said. “At the same time it’s hard. I understand why it can be hard for people to stick it out in education especially when some of these long-term considerations, like housing, aren’t secure.”

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Educator Emma Wohl in her new home she purchased with Landed

Stabilizing Schools

Educators who buy homes with Landed are expected to leave education at a meaningfully lower rate than their peers, saving their employer up to $22,000 in turnover costs per home purchase and mitigating the negative impact turnover has on student achievement.

In all, we estimate that the districts and counties Landed serve have staff turnover rates between 13 and 25 percent, meaning that the average staff member stays only 5 years. When asked how long they would have stayed if they hadn’t been able to buy a home, our post-home purchase survey respondents answered 3.5 years. Instead, educators supported by our down payment program said they plan to remain educators for an additional 13 years.

When Emma took a tour of what would soon become her new home in South Seattle, she knew instantly that it was the place she wanted - less than 15 minutes from Showalter Middle School in Tukwila where she teaches Social Studies and Spanish. But even with generous support from her family she worried that the monthly payments were too much to take on.

Landed’s down payment funds allowed her to put an additional 10% down and reduced her monthly payments to a point where she knew she could make it work on a teacher’s salary. She’s even been able to help offset the mortgage by renting a room in her home to one of her best friends who works in healthcare.

“I’ve made transitions between different parts of the country and different districts,” Emma explained, “and it’s so much easier to do the job sustainably when rooted in the same place.”

Providing Partnership and a Homebuying Team

Allie Giuffrida and her husband Brian were the first homebuyers in the Seattle area to work with Landed to buy their home. Allie is an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and facilitator at Bellevue High School. She also works with students across the district to be successful as they transition out of the ELL program in high school. Having looked to purchase the previous spring, she and Brian saw a lot of homes going for far over the original listing price and they knew that it was not going to be an easy environment into which to enter.

“When the district accepted the partnership with Landed,” Allie explained, “it felt like they cared - like they really cared about my wellbeing.”

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Educator Allie Giuffrida & husband Brian in front of their new home they purchased with Landed

Allie and Brian were comforted by Landed’s co-investment in their home. Having a partner that also was concerned with making sure the home purchase was a good investment meant they could trust Landed. They appreciated the information they got from Landed’s property review team and that a member of Landed’s staff, their Homebuying Programs Lead, was there to help guide them through the process as first time homebuyers.

“It was also good knowing that Landed wasn’t going to put too much risk into their equation, and that we had the backing of that financial interest as well,” Brian explained. “It helped us be reassured about how much we could afford and making sure we weren’t going to be overextended or make a poor decision.”

The team approach from Landed won Ann over, too. “My expertise is in healthcare and training adults who want to re-career into the healthcare field, not real estate,” she explained. “While we were glad we were able to take advantage of the down payment funds, what was so attractive about Landed was that I had a team of experts to inform me and help me navigate the homebuying process.”

It was Cristina, the Landed partner real estate agent who worked with Ann and her family, who suggested that they try to make their dream a reality. “We said wow, there’s a potential to hold onto our current home and the equity and the years and the memories there - and still move forward with a place of stability for our family!”

Showing Signs of Progress on Race and Homeownership

When comparing Landed’s customers to the average homebuying population in the Seattle area, our down payment program shows promising signs that this kind of access to homeownership can make gains in closing the racial homeownership gap.

In Seattle, 8% of Landed homebuyers are Black while 3% of all homeowners in the area are Black; 14% of Landed homebuyers are Hispanic, Latino or Spanish, compared to 4% of all homebuyers in the area; and, 23% of Landed homebuyers in the Seattle area identify as two or more races compared to only 6% in the region overall. The trends are similar for families throughout the country who have worked with Landed to purchase over $300 million worth of homes.

One of the founding principles of Landed’s down payment program is to help level the playing field - the idea of working with those without access to the proverbial ‘bank of mom and dad’ to be able to overcome the hurdle of saving for a down payment on a home. It’s encouraging to see that data on our program indicates we’re making strides toward democratizing who can access homeownership, which is crucial to racial equity and thriving, safe communities.

Be sure to check out our website to see how we might work with an educator you know to put down roots in your community.

Customer Stories Washington

About the Author

Winston Lofton

Winston works on the Customer Experience team, where he is Landed's Pacific Northwest Relationship Manager. He is a former community organizer, obsessed with the productive potential of people power.

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