Room for everyone

"Every time we come in the door, we're like, 'Is this really our home?'" Nicole Smothermon said of her family's new house. "We're loving it."

Nicole and her husband recently purchased the four-bedroom house on an acre of land – their first home in the Texas town of Whitesboro. Renters since they were married, the Smothermons saw this not only as an opportunity to add more space for their growing family but also a big step for them personally.

"It's a new life stage for us, you know?" Nicole said. "We were ready for it."

The Smotherm family.

The Smothermon family.

First-time buyers

As first-time homebuyers, Nicole tried to come prepared. She and her husband had casually looked at houses for a few years before getting serious about it the past six months. But it wasn't long before she realized that real-life house hunting isn't quite as easy as they make it look on TV.

"Buying a house is stressful," she said. "I think that's just a given. So I wanted to be as informed as we could, and I was amazed by the lack of communication at the first bank we worked with."

Nicole's friend Wendy, who works at Landmark Bank in Collinsville, Texas, recommended that Nicole talk to Debbie, one of the loan officers there.

"Within the first 10 minutes, I totally understood things I hadn't understood with the previous company," Nicole said. "Debbie helped me with the beginning basics how you go about placing an offer, things like that. I instantly felt much more comfortable going forward with the process."

From there, it was just a matter of finding a home to suit their family, including their 16-month-old daughter and two dogs. Or so they thought.

"We found a house we liked, but things got complicated quickly," Nicole said.

With liens on the home and multiple companies trying to work things out behind the scenes, it was a lot for first-time homebuyers to take on. But they loved the house and the land. And, thankfully, Nicole said, they had Debbie there to help.

"Debbie was the one keeping me informed on a day-to-day basis," Nicole said. "She reached out to people that she didn't have to reach out to just to get questions answered for me. I was blown away. We'll definitely be switching all of our accounts to Landmark."

The Smothermons have officially closed on their house, and now they're happy to be settling in.

"I'm so excited to have company over!" Nicole said. "We always used to have to host dinner for our friends at other people's houses. Now we have room for everyone."

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