As one military spouse to another, it would be selfish of me if I didn't share my experience with you guys. This is a little long, but worth the read.
My husband and I purchased our first home in July 2016. It was completely unplanned and a last minute decision. It was a new construction house, in a neighborhood that is still growing today. We welcomed our second child into the world while living there. We had so many plans for our new house and growing family.
Our excitement turned into heartbreak a couple of months later when we were informed that the upcoming orders my husband had to stay in the area were being cancelled and he would have to find new ones. He begged, pleaded, and fought like hell to get new ones back to NAS Jax, Mayport, or even Kings Bay. The detailer finally told him that he could get him orders to anywhere else, but not there. We settled on Pensacola.
We did a ton of research about selling vs renting. We simply didn't have the equity to sell so quickly, so our hands were tied. We had no choice but to rent our practically brand new house out to strangers. All I could think about was that this is not how homeownership was suppose to go so early into the journey.
We were pleased when we found a military family that was interested in the house. Their arrival dates lined up almost perfectly for us and they stated that they wanted to live there for around 3 years. We had hopes of letting them live there the whole time, and getting orders back there at that time to move back in. We came to terms with them to rent the house and handed them the keys in October.
They were great about paying rent. They said they loved the house and neighborhood. The elementary school was a top rated school and we knew how important that was for them. They seemed to fit right in. All signs pointed to how successful this arrangement was going to be. Fast forward a couple of months, and I woke up to a message from them informing us of their decision to break the lease. (Not due to the house, us, etc - but out of respect for their privacy I won't be going into their reasoning)
Instant panic set in. What if we couldn't find new tenants? What if new tenants destroyed the place? How could we float two mortgages so quickly? We just drained our savings again moving out of the area. What if, what if, what if...
At that time my husband mentioned looking into selling again. I didn't think it was possible. Again, we hadn't even owned the house for 2 years yet. How in the world would we have enough equity to sell it if we didn't just s few months ago? He contacted a coworker of his from Jax who was also a part time realtor. The realtor drew up some numbers and it appeared possible to sell, but it was going to be very, very close. He seemed knowledgeable enough and he was obviously trustworthy since my husband knew him, but my gut told me not to go with him because if the transaction went south it could potentially ruin a friendship. I wanted to get opinions of a few other realtors and see what they had to offer.
I had never met Katie or Eric Hinojos, but I had added her to Facebook a month or so prior. She had a love for Mexican food and at the time they were sharing videos for how to make traditional Mexican food at home. We hadn't really talked much before, but I decided to add her to the list of realtors to reach out to. I assumed with them both being prior active duty (and she is still in the reserves) that she would understand our situation pretty well.
When word got out that we were looking to sell, I was swarmed with messages on FB from realtors about how they wanted to assist me. It was so overwhelming. I responded to dozens of messages and a few got back to me with what they recommended us to list at, but they didn't put much effort into asking what we needed or wanted from the transaction.
Katie got back to me and said before we got too far into it, she wanted to call us so we could chat on the phone with her and her husband. We explained the situation to them and asked them a ton of questions. They had an answer for everything and never made us feel stupid or naive. At the end, they said that they felt like we were a good fit for them and to let us know if we felt the same after we discussed it some. Yep! They were interviewing us just as much as we were interviewing them and at the time we didn't know it.
We looked at some of their current listings again and the paperwork they emailed us with their terms and conditions. Amazing photography, no cost to us at all if the house didn't sell (this was huge! We were already going to be paying two mortgages), a reduced commission for being military, and we would get both realtors working on the sale since they work as a team. They even said if they didn't sell it in 60 days or less for an agreed upon price, they'd continue to try for another 60 days and we wouldn't pay a penny of commission to them if sold during that time. We couldn't pass it up.
They went out to the house and met with the tenants. The tenants contacted me that same day and told me how pleased they were with Katie and Eric. They were put completely at ease with the situation after meeting them. (If they see this, I hope they confirm that for all to see.)
Out of respect for the tenants privacy, some bedrooms weren't photographed and a video was not made. They said if the house was still available after the tenants vacated, they'd get the photographer back out to finish up the job. The photographer never had the opportunity because within 6 days of listing it went under contract!
We ran into some hiccups with the buyers financing and unfortunately, it went back on the market the day before the tenants were leaving. Panic hit again, but they constantly reassured us that it was still a priority for them to get the house sold. Multiple showings occurred the very next day and an offer was submitted that night. We countered with their guidance, and went under contract again the next day.
We have ran into some hiccups with these buyers too and the appraisal, but as of right now we are scheduled to close at the end of the month. I was originally going to wait until the closing occurred to post my review, but after this week I knew there was no need to wait.
Katie and Eric have continued to impress us repeatedly. They have gone above and beyond any and all expectations we ever had from a realtor team. While I don't feel comfortable sharing all of their tricks, tips, and sacrifices to the world (they have permission to go into details with potential clients, if they choose to do so) I can honestly say that I don't think this transaction would have ever gotten this far if we would have selected a different realtor to list the house. The whole sale could fall apart tomorrow and I'd still recommend them to everyone!
They put their whole hearts into helping their clients. They have been by our side the whole time. They have seen us experience every emotion possible (which wasn't always pretty) and never once made us feel judged. The sacrifices they have made to make this sale happen say more about them than any sales record, commission income, or time in the industry ever could.
Rather you are just starting to look into the possibility of buying or selling and don't even know if you are going to take the leap, are currently interviewing realtors to decide who to have help you with your transaction, or have a house that just isn't being represented up to your standards - you would be foolish not to call them and at least see what they have to offer you.
Oh and one last thing - their somewhat new assistant Heather Engstromis a rockstar too! Sorry, but you don't get to escape this lengthy shout out. She has been friendly and professional this whole time and from what we can tell has been learning things at a great speed. She is a great addition to their team and will do everything she possibly can to keep you informed on your transaction. She isn't afraid to admit when something comes up that she hasn't experienced yet, and always gets those answers for you in record time.
My only regret was not finding Katie and Eric Hinojos / Navy to Navy Homes before buying a house, but at least we have them lined up for future real estate transactions. Katie and Eric, we can't thank you enough. Heather, you are going to be just as successful as them in the real estate world if you keep it up.
"I can’t say enough great things about Katie and Eric Hinojos. I was introduced through a friend while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. They’re outstanding patriots, having both served in the Navy as a Helicopter Pilot (Eric) and Surface Warfare Officer (Katie). I’m so grateful I got that introduction. I contacted them and they got back to me immediately and were there to answer my many questions at the drop of a hat. I’m a married father of two toddlers and a dog and we had some very specific wants and needs. I was deployed, and couple that with the fact it has not been a buyer’s market, made our situation pretty difficult. With that being said, Katie and Eric navigated us through it flawlessly. After arriving home from deployment, we continued our home search all the way in San Diego California without being able to initially visit in person. They shot multiple fantastic video walkthroughs with their high-tech gyro-stabilized camera which was a HUGE help and were there to answer all our questions. We ended up putting an off on two houses before seeing them in person, that is how confident we are in Katie and Eric. They did a great job with the negotiation process and counter offers. I appreciated their honesty when it came to picking a home. They knew EXACTLY what we wanted and didn’t let us pick a home that didn’t fit our criteria and that we wouldn’t love. I finally was able to visit and got to meet them in person. Their friendliness, integrity and expertise I came to know through email, text and over the phone, was confirmed in person. They blocked off four full days to show me around and the second home I put an offer on I now call home. At closing, we were presented with a check for $2100 and a thoughtful gift basket! Navy to Navy Homes partners with Homes For Heroes and that’s how we got $2100!! That money went straight towards a new washer and dryer! Katie and Eric made my home buying experience the absolute best it could be. This dynamic real estate team is THE BEST and I give them my strongest recommendation possible!!"
"Truly an amazing couple who were completely hands on throughout the whole process. Not only did we close in less than 30 days, but their care and dedication to each detail made the whole process seem flawless."
"They bend over backwards to make things easy and do a lot of work to get your house sold. They are trusted partners and became friends over the course of working with them. Could not recommend them any more strongly. Great experience."
"In every aspect of the selling process that my wife and I recently experienced, this realtor team excelled. They took their time patiently explaining every part of the process to us with so much detail that it completely put us at ease.
UNMATCHED DEDICATION- This realtor team will truly prove to you that they are 100% committed to customer service. They listed and arranged showings for our property while they were on vacation! If that is not dedication I don't know what is.
TOP-NOTCH PERFORMANCE- They use special marketing techniques and take a tailored approach to selling your property that drives the right clients to your doorstep. They also took the time to generate high-quality photos and video of our property that really allowed it to shine.
UNRIVALED SUPPORT- Katie and Eric were remarkable when it came to giving us any and all information to get us prepared for our sale. They kept us in the loop the entire sale and were transparent with all notable dates and information. They were prepared in every category possible.
If you are searching for a realtor, please look no further than Katie and Eric!"
"Eric and Katie went beyond the call of duty to provide tremendous support to us during the "house buying" process. I would call/text at various times during the night and day and would always get a response. I visited several houses with them (1 house was visited about 4 times) but they were always very patient, prompt, pleasant and reliable. I must say this couple has surpassed my expectations and made home buying a pleasurable process!"
"You get not one, but two friendly, dedicated realtors! I love this duo! I switched to them after a previously bad experience with another realtor and couldn’t have been happier! I was constantly in the loop throughout each step. They made first time home buying quick and easy and we closed on our house very quickly!"
"I cannot recommend Katie and Eric highly enough! I started the home buying process while living in Hawaii! My husband and I were both first time home buyers and had no clue what we were doing. I let them know that we would need a little extra help since most of there verbiage was lost on us and they were extremely accommodating. Katie set aside an hour to call me and go over the entire process from start to finish! Katie and Eric were also very flexible with their working hours! Because I was in Hawaii, communication during east coast business hours was very difficult. However, Katie and Eric were always kind, understanding, and eager to help...even if it was later in the evening for them! Any and every military family should consider using Katie and Eric for their realty team! You won't regret it!"
"Look no further, honestly. My wife and I had been entertaining the thought of purchasing a home for two years. No other agents gave us enough knowledge or confidence to actually get serious until we met Eric and Katie that is. They made us feel important and never rushed us. Always kept itprofessional yet making us feel like family. Answered our questions and concerns in a timely manner. Never had to beg them to do their job. Very knowledgeable and personable couple. I recommend them to anyone and everyone looking to buy, rent or sell. They always look for improvement and ways to service their clients in the best way they know how. I'm sure that Eric and Katie will not let you down if you trust them with handling your situation. My wife and 2 kids had an amazing time looking for homes alongside Eric and Katie. We've found our perfect home! Thanks."
"Katie and Eric has been great during the entire process of building and buying our new home. they were with us from the start. when we went to the design, they were very helpful in helping us not get too overwhelmed and staying on top of things, they asked the right questions and had our back fromthe beginning till closing. They didn't pressure us to close even though that will mean delaying their commission. Katie is great about calling and keeping me informed and Eric was amazing about helping me crush the numbers and answering all the confusing questions when it comes to rates, closing cost etc. I really appreciate them and i feel blessed having them as our realtor through this process. I will definitely recommend them."
"They made the sale of our such a smooth transition! Always communicating and keeping us informed of the best options for our our home."
"From 1st impression to close Katie & Eric were professional, informative, proactive with excellent communication. End of the day I feel like we became family! We purchased our home long distance. When we contacted Them we were impressed with the info they sent us to get started and know the process as well as the many hours of communication we had going forward. We talked to them daily and they made sure to not leave any stones unturned. We were given New Build, New Build inventory and current homes on market. We visited at least 20 homes in the very small window we had while in town. They cleared their schedules to assure our short time in town was not wasted. Prior to that they sent videos of homes, excluded properties that would not work for us after visiting them and spent several hours at new build locations gathering info in which at meet they provided us a binder with our itinerary and home info for all the properties we will be looking at. Even when we thought we found our home, they came across another that was a fabulous contender to make sure all our options were provided. Lets just say, they will walk on fire for you and make sure you are HAPPY with whatever you end up choosing if any."
"Katie and Eric have been great during the entire process of building and buying our new home. They were with us from the start. When we went to the design center, they were very helpful in helping us not get too overwhelmed and staying on top of things, they asked the right questions and had our back from the beginning till closing. They didn't pressure us to close even though that will mean delaying their commission. Katie is great about calling and keeping me informed and Eric was amazing about helping me crunch the numbers and answering all the confusing questions when it comes to rates, closing costs, etc. I really appreciate them and I feel blessed having them as our Realtor through this process. I will definitely recommend them"
"Eric and Katie are a superb team of Realtors and extremely savvy for only one year of experience. As someone with real estate experience, I was impressed with their knowledge of procedures and facts across a myriad of topics including inspection and WDO regulations, marketing, efficient use of technology and the local real estate market (and the factors that influence it). Eric and Katie have my highest recommendation and should be your next agent if you are buying or selling a home." - 2/20/17
"Could have never asked for a better duo to help us find our dream home! Katie and Eric we also very responsive and able to ask any questions we need!!! They helped us though a lot with moving from NY to FL, and always made sure the process was moving for us. We don't only consider them our realtors but more important our friends! Thank you again guys and if anyone is ever looking for nice, confident, educated and overall friendly real estate agents ask for Katie and Eric Hinojos!!!" - 1/24/17
"Eric and Katie were helpful and professional from the start. My girlfriend and I had ideas of what we wanted in a house and continued to change and add little things as we went along and they were very accommodating to our requests. The biggest reason I would recommend Eric and Katie is because they didn't push us to make a decision or to go for a more expensive house they truly worked for us to find the best home we wanted." - 1/22/17
"The best Realtors I have ever worked with. They made buying a house easy! I strongly recommend them! Thanks for all your help specially while I was deployed!" - 1/4/17