The Francis family

YORK Neighbors: Hunter, Jack, Tonia, Neva (on lap), Quinn

“The commute drained my energy and my pocketbook. I was spending around $800 a month on gas. Every day, I drove to my business in Bellingham and to each of my kids’ schools. It was a difficult balancing act. Buying a KulshanCLT home was divine intervention. I couldn’t get my application in fast enough.”

— Tonia Francis

Home at last.

What does a business-owner and a single mom with four kids do to dramatically simplify her life? She buys a KulshanCLT home!

Tonia was a trainer at Gold’s Gym, but being single again meant she needed to work full-time, so she leveraged her client list and started a strength training business called Terrain in 2008. To save money on rent, Tonia and her kids lived out in the county. However, the commute took its toll. She looked back on that time and said, “The commute drained my energy and my pocketbook. I was spending around $800 a month on gas. Every day, I drove to my business in Bellingham and to each of my kids’ schools. It was a difficult balancing act. Buying a KulshanCLT home was divine intervention. I couldn’t get my application in fast enough.”

Tonia’s move into town started with an Internet search where she learned about KulshanCLT. “I was just trying to make do,” but when she found a suitable house just 200 feet from her business behind Fanatic Bike, she decided to work toward buying it. “I took the homebuyer course right away and then got pre-approved.” Tonia wasn’t making enough money yet, so getting the preapproval was hard, but Carla from Banner Bank walked her through the whole process. Tonia added, “Nikki at Kulshan and Carla were more than awesome to work with.”

She bought her three-bedroom, 1200 sf home in August 2013 and moved in with her four kids Hunter (16), Quinn (13), Jack (10), and Neva (4). The kids were able to stay in the same schools. Her daughters share a room that’s more like an upstairs apartment. She has more time now and is even able to keep up with her hobbies. “I take my book in my car and pick it up during the day between clients or when I’m picking my kids up at school.”  She also loves to train and mountain bike and be with family.

Tonia has made her personal sacrifices as well. For anyone, starting over as a single mom and starting a business is stressful. Home ownership hasn’t been without the usual surprises either. “You usually need to do more than you think. One of the first things we did was paint. All of my kids helped; we painted the entire house – inside and out.”

The pieces came together for the Francis family. Now her money is going toward a mortgage rather than gasoline. She has quality time for her family, her business and hobbies. Tonia would definitely recommend buying a home this way, especially if you are a single parent, starting anew, or buying a home for the first time. Tonia said, “I can’t say how much owning a KulshanCLT home has helped my family. It is way different than renting – we take pride in our home, and it’s our safe haven.”