This Austin Couple Found the Perfect Home In a Competitive Market. Here’s How They Made It Theirs

Presented by Better
Tessa Sliwa and her fiancé, Benjamin, worked with Better Mortgage to find and finance their dream home in Austin, Texas.
Tessa Sliwa and her fiancé, Benjamin, worked with Better Mortgage to find and finance their dream home in Austin, Texas.
Better paid for the creation and placement of the content on this page. It does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of NextAdvisor or any of its affiliated entities.

Tessa Sliwa wasn’t about to use a fax machine to apply for a mortgage.

As first-time homebuyers and working professionals in the competitive housing market of Austin, Texas, Tessa and her fiancé, Benjamin, didn’t have time for all the hassle they found with many lenders. In-person requirements, fax machines, and time-consuming bureaucratic processes simply wouldn’t do.

Luckily, they found Better Mortgage, which Tessa says offered a simpler way to buy a home.

The Decision to Upgrade 

Tessa, a product support manager with Expedia, decided in late 2019 that it was time for her and her fiancé to upgrade their one-bedroom apartment in downtown Austin. 

“It was time to get more space,” Sliwa said. “We loved living downtown, but it was time to invest in real estate.” 

As they began house hunting in the competitive Austin market, they knew financing would be key to getting their dream home. 

The couple ultimately found a home in north Austin, made an offer, and started looking for the right mortgage. It didn’t take long for them to zero in on Better Mortgage. 

The Challenge

As first-time buyers, Tessa and Benjamin wanted to be sure they had a reliable lender that could deliver a great rate for their first mortgage. But more than just a great rate, they wanted a lender that met them where they were in their busy lives.

They said the local banks and independent mortgage brokers they initially considered wanted the couple to meet in person or engage in lengthy phone calls, something Sliwa said they were too busy to do.

After having little to no luck with traditional lenders, they came across Better Mortgage. “We had several friends that had purchased houses around the same time and said really good things about Better,” Sliwa said. 

In addition to the convenience offered by Better, Sliwa said she was impressed with the Better Price Guarantee.

“We looked at both traditional and then more non-traditional loan applications,” Sliwa said. “The paperwork with Better was just easier. It was more automated. A lot of these other places needed us to fax documents to them, and I said, ‘I don’t have a printer or fax capabilities.’ So we weren’t going to go that route.” 

Another issue they encountered was the way other lenders also assumed the young couple understood the process they were about to embark on, something Sliwa said turned them off. 

The Better Way

Tessa Sliwa described her homebuying process with Better Mortgage as "super convenient."
Tessa Sliwa described her homebuying process with Better Mortgage as “super convenient.”

With Better Mortgage, everything was easy to understand from the start, Tessa says, and they were even given a checklist to guide them every step of the way. The couple says they never felt rushed or pressured during the process.

“We really liked how quickly we were getting responses from Better,” Sliwa said. “We didn’t have to call them or heckle them in person. Working with Better’s staff was super convenient because they were able to explain the process to us in more digestible terms. It almost felt like it was catered to us as younger homebuyers.” 

Better Mortgage is one of a new generation of online mortgage lenders — recently named one of the best by NextAdvisor — and is available to borrowers in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Its online platform pre-approves borrowers quickly, and Better Mortgage charges no origination fees. Borrowers can qualify for promotions by using Better Real Estate Agents. They may also qualify for the Better Mortgage Closing Guarantee, which pays eligible borrowers $2,000 if their loan doesn’t close on time.

Tessa says she was continually pleased with the Better team and the reliability of service she received to ensure they hit their 30-day closing date. Overall, she called the process “super convenient.” 

“The whole process was outlined,” Sliwa said. “There were safety nets to make sure that we were staying on track. That definitely became very convenient when it came time to close. I had some friends that ended up missing their closing date because their mortgage company didn’t pull through. I just felt very supported throughout the process with Better. It made me feel very confident in our decision-making.” 

Tessa says she also appreciated the Better Mortgage Price Guarantee — as it gave them confidence they were getting the best price possible for them

“There was actually no haggling with Better,” she said. “It was just the speed of the responses and not having to get up and get in touch with them. What really won us over was the convenience. We both work full-time and live a pretty busy life, so Better really made it a lot easier to get through the process of buying a house.” 

What’s Next for Tessa? 

Tessa Sliwa's fiancé, Benjamin, proposed to her while playing a game called Bananagrams in their new home.
Tessa Sliwa’s fiancé, Benjamin, proposed to her while playing a game called Bananagrams in their new home.

With a smooth closing behind them, Tessa and Benjamin settled into their new home and have enjoyed exploring their new neighborhood, which has drawn a lot of younger professionals and families like theirs. They love to spend their nights playing board games and recently got engaged over a game of Bananagrams while Tessa’s parents were visiting from Wisconsin. 

“We were playing Bananagrams in the house, and I came back downstairs and dumped the bag out. And there was [an engagement ring] in there! So this house will always have a very special place in my heart,” Sliwa said.

As the couple plans for a May 2022 wedding, Tessa says she and Benjamin might even consider purchasing a second home in the near future, a decision made easier by their great experience working with Better. 

“We’re probably going to try to buy a second house soon as an investment property,” Sliwa said. “We’ll probably go with Better again if we decide to pull the trigger. You really feel like you’re working with them. I feel you can kind of enjoy and celebrate the process. It’s really exciting buying a home, and it’s a big chapter in life, so I feel with them, you just feel so supported.”

(Better Mortgage Corp. NMLS # 330511.)