A House for Each Stage of Life: Looking at What Matters Most in a Family Home

Home is almost always tied to family. For most, any event in the life cycle of home buying and selling can be connected to a major life event – a first home for newlyweds, a bigger home for a growing family, a move for a job, a smaller house once the kids head off to college – the list goes on. A family home is a special place where you gather to mark these occasions and make unforgettable memories.

family home eating dinner together

We’re in the midst of a series of holidays that celebrate the incredible bond of family, from Mother’s Day last week and Father’s Day next month, to International Families Day today. In celebration, we’re guiding you through how to find the perfect family home for each stage of life. Whether you’re upgrading from your starter house or downsizing from an empty nest, Knock can help you find your next home and sell the old one at the same time.  

Along the way, we’re sharing some of our favorite stories of the Humans of Knock that touch each part of life’s journey. It’s Knock’s honor to help thousands of people find their next beginning, and we’ve worked with families of all shapes and sizes, from various walks of life.

The Starter Home

Life is full of firsts. And the purchase of your first family home is a huge, exciting leap into the next phase. A starter home is just that, a start; a place for you to build a foundation, whether on your own or with a new partner, spouse, or family. This house might not offer a ton of square footage, but teaches you many valuable lessons of being a homeowner. It’s a place you know you probably won’t stay forever, but an important stepping stone. In some cases, it may be the place you settle for years to come; in that situation you’ll have to consider the bigger picture, not just your immediate needs.

So, what should you look for in a starter home? Some factors to keep in mind:

One couple used the Knock program to purchase their custom built starter home in Marietta, GA:

Kristina & James W Knock custom build family home
James & Kristina W (& Marley!)

Newlyweds James and Kristina W were ready to embark on another big commitment: Home ownership. After months of searching, they finally settled on buying the perfect new construction home that matched all their criteria. And after moving in, they decided to make one more big commitment, adopting an adorable Cocker Spaniel puppy to make their new house truly a family home.

Another Knock customer sold his starter home to a family just entering that phase:

Sometimes everything just comes together on a home sale: timing, market, demand. That was the case for Ethan B. His 3 bedroom, 2 bath home near I-85, Lawrenceville and the Mall of Georgia was in the perfect location for families looking to move out of downtown and begin the next phase of their lives in a starter home within their budget. Once Ethan made the decision to sell and took the time to invest in repairs, it was like wildfire. His home in Lawrenceville received 25 offers in just 4 days, and sold over asking price.

This Knock client took the plunge all by herself!

Jennifer P had a made a decision: She was going to purchase her first home, and do so independently. And once she put her mind to it, she got the ball rolling quickly, looking at several houses in just one day and then putting in an offer when she found a 4 bedroom house that just felt right. Not only did she make a smart decision about homeownership, which is always a good investment, but in her area's competitive market, her decisiveness paid off when she was able to land her dream starter home.

Are you considering making your starter home purchase?

The Upgrade

Now that you’ve been in your first home for a few years, you’re considering another move. With the addition of kids and pets, it’s probably time for a larger or more family-friendly space. Even if you’re comfortable in your current home, other outlying factors, like school district, or proximity to work, also influence change.

Maybe your starter home, which was in the perfect location for a couple still looking for exposure to the downtown area, isn’t close to a school you’d like to enroll your first child in. Or maybe the space worked when you had your first child, but the addition of more children caused you to outgrow your living quarters. Whatever the case may be, upgrading to a second house is something we see quite often with our customers. For some, it’s their forever home; for others, it’s yet another stepping stone suitable for their current stage in life.

At Knock, we’ve worked with thousands of customers transitioning from their first place to a second home. With our Home Trade-In program, you find and move into the new house first, so you can settle in and make it your own. Then, we prepare your old place and list it on the open market to find the right buyer at the best price. Quite often, our all-cash offer on your new house gets you a 3% to 5% discount off the list price and helps you win bidding wars. Plus, Knock’s proprietary data and algorithms, along with our local expertise, allows us to price your old home just right in order to maximize your profit. Win-win!

Like many others, Joseph N and his family simply outgrew their first home:

Knock customer Joseph N
Joseph N & Family

There comes a moment for many homeowners when it’s time to move on from their starter home. For Joseph N, his 1,300 square foot ranch-style home was no longer big enough for his growing family. But he really wanted to stay in the area they’d grown to love. Fortunately he was able to find a new, bigger house right around the corner, and move in before his old one sold, avoiding the hassles of home prep and showings.

The desire for more space is motivation for some families:

Sometimes bigger is simply better. Kevin and Ashley C were ready to upgrade from the starter home they had purchased in 2011. While their house had 4 bedrooms, they simply wanted more space. The home they found may have had only one more bedroom, but it also came with over 1,000 more square feet. When they got it for a great price and their previous home sold faster than market rate, they were thrilled to have made the trade to their bigger and, for them, better dream home.

Maybe it’s a commute to work that acts as a catalyst:

After over a decade in their starter home, Natalie and Britt S were ready to make a move. Their dream home needed to have both more space inside and more land outside. It also needed to be close to the elementary school where they both work as dedicated teachers. Once they found the perfect 4 bedroom home and sold their former house, they were ready to start living the next exciting chapter of their lives.

Do one of these stories sound like you?

The Growing Family

As the years pass, you might experience more members of your family and less space to fit them. Thinking back to when you purchased your starter home, it’s difficult to imagine how life’s unpredictability and excitement has led you to the family you have today.

Perhaps you’ve just welcomed in-laws into your home and there isn't enough space for three generations. Or as your children become teenagers, you could also be ready for something more, like a bigger backyard with a pool or a finished basement to serve as a game room where they can hang out (close by).

A home that once seemed perfect can end up not being perfect for the next stage in your family’s life cycle. And your home should fit to your life – not vice versa.

One Knock client recognized the need for a better school district for their kids:

After 11 years in their starter home and the birth of two beautiful daughters, the B family was starting to think ahead to the girls' time in middle and high school. Fortunately they were able to time everything perfectly, buying and moving into the new home over the summer before the girls started school. The sale of their old home followed shortly after, allowing them to dive into a new school year and new phase of life full force.

Another family didn’t want to change towns, but simply needed more room:

Noah & Mandy W

Many people who live in Winder love it so much that they want to stay when it comes time to buy a new home. That was the case for Noah and Mandy W, but with 3 kids and 2 dogs in a 3 bedroom house, their family was desperately in need of more space. As a tech professional who worked from home, Noah had already made plenty of modern upgrades to the house, which appealed to many buyers. In the end, their home ended up getting over 24 offers and selling over list price, and the family was able to move into a 5 bedroom home with nearly double the square footage of their old one.

And sometimes, welcoming your parents or in-laws into your space is a catalyst:

Arthur and Lisa S multi-generational family home
Arthur & Lisa C's family

A multigenerational home is full of lots of things: quality time, love and so much more. But it is also, well, full! With children and parents sharing their home, Arthur and Lisa C were filled to the brim of their 4 bedroom home and couldn't wait any longer to find more space. So they decided to buy a new construction home that would perfectly fit their needs, and sell their old one. They had a bit of a rocky start to their selling process, but once they made some upgrades to the house, they were able to find a great offer and make their trade to a home with the space this sandwich generation couple needed.

The Downsizers and Upgraders

When the hustle and bustle of life starts to calm down, as kids grow older and go off to college or move out on their own, all that square footage in your house can be overwhelming. The need for a larger home was present when the space was full, but is now unmanageable, or simply unnecessary. Downsizing is the perfect solution for many people who are at that stage in life where less is more.

At Knock, we’ve helped dozens of clients downsize; the great part about our program is that since we are not buying your old home directly from you, and instead selling it on the open market, you reap the benefits of your hard-earned equity! In most cases, your new house will be smaller, and most likely less expensive, than your previous one. After you’ve paid off your old home’s mortgage and other outlying costs, you keep the profits of your home’s sale.

After a daughter graduated from the local school district, downsizing was in order for this Atlanta family:

Alan and Emily S family Knock customers
Alan and Emily S' Family

After over 15 years in a 5 bedroom home in Suwanee, Emily S and her husband Alan were ready to downsize to a newer, easier to manage house. And with their daughter about to graduate from North Gwinnett High School, it was the perfect time to make a change. Thankfully, all those years spent investing in their family’s growth had also left them with great equity in their large home, and they were able to purchase a new home in Roswell near both of their jobs. The smaller, brand new, warranted home with minimal maintenance and an affordable mortgage payment is exactly what was needed for a couple starting the next phase of their lives — and exactly what they deserved.

The travel bug inspired this couple to sell:

Now that their kids were grown up and out of the house, Bill and Lynn R loved to spend time going on weekend trips and traveling. Naturally, they no longer needed the 5 bedroom home they've lived in for the past 17 years. These empty nesters were ready to downsize to a low maintenance, new construction condo, but they had to sell their home first. When their basement flooded, they were nervous about getting everything done in the timeline they wanted, but preparations went quickly and smoothly, and they were able to sell for a great price in under 6 weeks.

A smaller home and mobility was the answer for this client:

Kathy and David G Knock downsizers
Kathy & David G

Kathy and David G were looking to downsize to a mobile home and gain some more outdoor space, but needed to sell their Buford, GA residence. The 4 bed, 3 bath house was in need of new paint and carpet, but was otherwise in pretty great shape. The house hit the market and received an offer within 3 days, which was perfect for the eager couple. Now, they’re enjoying a life of less indoor upkeep and more outdoor freedom.

Still, just because you have an empty nest, doesn’t mean you want a smaller residence. For some of our Knock customers, having the kids move out of the home meant they could finally purchase their dream house! Think about it - no kids means less spills, stains, and scribbling on the walls. Or, just the opposite: As grandchildren begin to join the family, they’re looking for more space for when they visit. Either way, with extra time to devote to yourselves, it can mean the necessity of more space for entertaining and relaxing.

Having an empty nest doesn't necessarily mean downsizing. For Rita and Lyn M, it meant getting exactly what they wanted in a new construction home. Lyn is a strength and conditioning coach at a Georgia high school, and the couple wanted to move closer to his job. Using Knock’s Home-Trade In Program meant Rita and Lyn were able to find a builder for a custom home. They were able to move into their dream house before Knock even made repairs on their old place. After repairs, the old home was sold for an attractive price and Rita and Lyn got the house they always wanted.

A custom-built home is a new beginning for many:

Gerald and Toni M were excited about their new custom home, but were also tasked with selling the old one they had built in 1992. After 26 years in the house where their now adult children grew up, it was in need of some upgrades. Once new siding was installed and painting was completed, the home looked like new and was ready to be sold. Unsurprisingly, an offer came through the door just 3 days after the listing went live!

The Life Cycle Comes to a Close (For Now)

Family means something different to everyone, but a family home is where a lifetime of memories are made. Although you may move through different stages in life, and in turn move from one house to another, there will always be the perfect place to suit your current and future needs.

Knock can help you find that perfect family home for your current situation, whether you’re looking to upgrade from your starter home or settle into your downsized residence. To get started, submit your current home for a free market price estimate at knock.com.

Know Your Knockstars: Cody Chastain

Knockstar Cody Chastain

KNOCK, KNOCK

COME ON IN

What is your role at Knock?

I am the Home Preparation Manager, and also double as a Home Preparation Project Manager (PM) where I work in the field with my team and with customers. The Preparations team is in charge of managing projects happening on the homes we’re selling on behalf of our clients before they are put on the market. In my role I oversee a team of five PMs in the Atlanta area. I specialize in project management, of both my Knock team and the external contractors we work with on a daily basis. I oversee home preparation projects and coordinate with both contractors and our customers. My role is self-rewarding because I love being able to help people get through one of the largest steps they take in their lives: Getting their home ready to sell.

Why did you decide to join Knock?

I think that Knock is by far the most customer-centric company that exists in our industry. I truly feel like Knock is going to change the way houses are bought and sold across the nation.

What do you love most about working at Knock?

There’s too much to list – everything! I love the team we have that I get to work with daily. I’m surrounded by people who are like-minded and have an important common goal: To get things done for our customers.

What do you find most challenging about working at Knock?

At times it can be a challenge to qualify houses that are outside of Knock’s norm in order to give customers an idea of what’s most important to upgrade and replace before listing their home on the market. We try to budget accordingly – for example, so we can complete extensive home preparations on a feasible budget – in order to get our customers the most money out of their home sale.

Who was your most memorable customer?

Mr. Demitro S was a pleasure to deal with and a customer who was extremely memorable for me. Demitro and his family were out of town when we completed the home preparations on their house, and they wanted to meet with me to give it a final walk through when they returned. Demitro’s wife actually cried because she was so impressed with the work we did in order to make their house attractive to buyers. She loved it so much she even told me she wished she could stay! They were really in awe of what we were able to do to the home in the short time they were away; we did full paint, replaced flooring and windows, and did a large landscaping job. Because of this facelift, the home sold within two weeks, which made the couple even happier! It was so rewarding to see how our work made a positive effect to that family’s lives.

What’s your number one piece of advice for home buyers and sellers?

Customers should be upfront when providing information about their home’s condition. The Knock team should be aware of any and all potential issues as soon as possible. Even if you don’t want to disclose this information initially, it always comes to light. It’s much better for us to be able to approach those problem areas in the beginning, rather than being surprised too late. The earlier we can address the situation, the better it is for the customer in the long run.

What do you like to do in your personal time?

Cody Chastain Knockstar and his family
Cody and his family

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two boys and one girl. I coach my boys in sports and take my daughter basically everywhere! I also like to spend time outdoors, whether it be camping, fishing, or riding four-wheelers. I always keep myself busy, and my wife always has a new project for me to complete around the house. I build furniture as a hobby and I’m currently working on building a treehouse for my kids!

Interested in a role on the Home Prep team or another career at Knock? Check out our current openings and apply today!

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Justin Kraft, Courtesy of Knock

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Blalock Family: Downsizing Doesn’t Have to Be a Daunting Process

After Michael and Racheal Blalock found themselves with an empty nest, they began thinking about downsizing to a smaller home.

There were excited to start fresh somewhere new, but the idea of selling their house felt daunting. “We didn’t want to get caught up in the fray of showing the home and all the things that come along with trying to sell,” said Michael.

So when Michael stumbled upon Knock on his Facebook feed, he and Racheal decided to jump on the opportunity.

The couple met with Stephen Freudenberg, Licensed Local Expert at Knock, and decided that listing would be their best option. That meant getting the house in tip-top shape to maximize offers.

“The house needed some cosmetic repairs and a new roof, so Knock paid upfront to get it done,” Stephen explained.

Within two weeks, the repairs were done and the offers began to roll in. “We had nine offers right away,” Michael said.

When downsizing, timing is everything

While things progressed with the sale of their property, the Blalocks searched for a new place to call home.

They soon found a newly-constructed property that perfectly matched their needs. But, there was just one caveat: The couple was relying on the proceeds from the old house in order to purchase the new home, so the timing had to be just right.

Thankfully, they were in a good position to negotiate. “Because they had a lot of offers, they had a lot of leverage,” Stephen said. “They closed on the first house, had three days of temporary occupancy and then they moved into their new home.”

The Blalocks were thrilled with the way the transaction worked out – especially because their old home sold for more than market value. “It was just a win-win. It worked out perfectly.” Michael shared.

Forming a great relationship

Throughout the process, the Blalocks maintained a close relationship with Stephen and the rest of the Knock team.

It was important to Michael and Racheal that their team was paying attention to their wants and needs, and didn’t see them as just another sale. “[Working with Knock] didn’t feel cold like it would with a big corporation. It actually felt like they cared.”

And the Knock team truly did. Just days before closing, Stephen and his wife were on their way to Thailand for a leisure trip. Despite being time zones away, he kept the ball rolling for the Blalock family. “I was on a layover in Istanbul and on the phone with the buyer agent to make sure everything was running smoothly,” Stephen said.

The family appreciated the effort. “We consider [the Knock team] a part of our family because they were just that close to us and had our best interests at heart,” Michael said.

Ready to start fresh in a new home like the Blalocks? Submit your current home for a free market price estimate today.

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