The Cooper family

COLUMBIA neighbors Jillian, Elliot, Ann Marie and Matt Cooper

“We have no intention of moving anywhere else. We are in a home we love, and we never will have to move again!”

— Ann Marie Cooper

Craigslist Ad Leads to KulshanCLT Home Purchase

Who would have thought that a Craigslist ad could lead to a purchase of a house through the KulshanCLT? Ann Marie and Matt Cooper did just that. They rented the three-bedroom Craftsman in the Columbia neighborhood in hopes that they could keep an eye on homes in the vicinity as they came on the market. Having been renters for a year, they didn’t know that the very house they were in would become their own. The story gets better… The long-time owner donated the home at a very favorable sale price so that the Coopers could qualify. This resulted in a seamless win-win for everyone and a hefty tax write-off for the owner.

When Ann Marie and Matt first saw the home, they “crossed the threshold and felt like we were home. It was surreal.” Now as proud owners of a beautiful Craftsman in their desired neighborhood, they have “no regrets – not for one minute.”  Ann Marie is a potter. Every chance she gets she works in her studio on their property. She also works at her studio in the historic Morgan Block Building above Good Earth Pottery in Fairhaven. Ann Marie also has her own Etsy store, Kulshan Clayworks, so she is a busy clay specialist. Even with everything turning up roses, their family had a scare last year when Matt was laid off. Unemployment was temporary, and now he is an internal auditor at WECU. They have two children, Jillian and Elliot, who love the close-in and walkable neighborhood near friends and their school.

Ann Marie and Matt heard about KulshanCLT before they ever thought about buying a home.  They informed themselves by taking the Future Homebuyers course through Kulshan. At this training they were introduced to a local banker who helped them get pre-approved.  “Paul Schissler, the former director of KulshanCLT, masterminded this groundbreaking arrangement,” says Ann Marie gratefully. Other most valuable players in this transaction included mortgage officer extraordinaire – Josh Henry from Bank of Pacific (now at Guild Mortgage) – and Christina Olson. “Josh knows the whole process and handles the details with amazing care. He kept the process going forward and kept us informed every step of the way,” recalls Cooper.

She also remarked that the original owner gutted much of the house in 1999 but didn’t replace the old knob and tube electrical wiring. So she and Matt worked with the Opportunity Council Community Energy Challenge program to insulate and weatherize their home. “These improvements cut our electricity bill in half,” stated Ann Marie.

“We have no intention of moving anywhere else. We are in a home we love, and we never will have to move again!” Ann Marie has advice she gives to prospective homebuyers or community members who want to promote the KulshanCLT buying process. “Take the free Future Homebuyers class and then get pre-approved with a bank that works with KulshanCLT.” With KulshanCLT, the right people will come together to make happy homeowners out of prospective buyers.

Ann Marie and her busy family of four have lived in their community land trust home for four years. Enthusiastic as ever about owning a home that changed their lives, Ann Marie joined the KulshanCLT board recently so that she can give back. “I started out several years ago donating my ceramic work in the Kulshan auction. Now, as a brand spanking new board member, I can help provide the same opportunity to others.”