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A Front Porch: the Most Romantic Place on Earth

By Jennifer Shapiro on Feb 16, 2021

Posted in Stories
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EJ and Chelsea on a Window Sill


A year ago, Chelsea sat in an Ethiopian Jazz Club in LA and couldn’t dream of a more romantic Valentine’s Day. Her boyfriend, EJ, was sharing their love story with the audience at an open mic night, and she was bathing in the glow. This year, Chelsea and EJ are in Denver spending Valentine’s Day safe at home in their very own house. Neither one of them would have ever pictured themselves in Colorado as homeowners. However, a lot can change in one year.

Chelsea and EJ’s story started in California, where the two world travelers met. Chelsea is originally from Colorado Springs and EJ is from Ohio. They met in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles through mutual friends a few days after Chelsea had moved to California. The two immediately became inseparable.

Two years later, in 2020, Chelsea and EJ were enjoying the California dream, sharing their love for travel by globetrotting around the world and enjoying all that Southern California had to offer. Albeit a bit cramped, their “quaint” 650 square- foot California apartment allowed the Software Engineer and Wellness Product Manager to live the Venice lifestyle that they both loved. EJ loved surfing and Chelsea enjoyed bike riding and meditating by the water. As self-acclaimed foodies, they enjoyed eating out all over LA and discovering new culinary gems weekly.

Venice Beach, CA at Sunset
Sunset over Venice Beach, CA

From time to time, they would discuss the idea of moving to Colorado as an ideal place to relocate for the long-term if they ever wanted to start a family. However, they were both hesitant to give up their California lifestyle.

“It kind of just happened...there was just this moment we were ready to come here… we took a walk through Cheeseman Park and it just felt so much like home,” 

In March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world. Locked down and working from home, the two began to think differently about their future. Chelsea’s work had also been impacted, further causing the couple to look more intently at their short-term prospects. “When COVID hit, we took a step back to re-examine our priorities, and how we wanted to move forward in the next few years,” said Chelsea.

Chelsea and EJ had always shared a love of travel but were unable to fly this year and explore as they always had. Both working remotely, driven by a combination of wanderlust and a desire to visit family, they hit the open road. The three-week road trip through Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, took them back to see Chelsea’s family in Colorado Springs. The topic of moving back home to Colorado resurfaced and was once again met with an internal feeling of resistance in Chelsea. “I was not ready to leave California,” she said.

During one trip to Denver, a walk in Cheeseman park on a fall afternoon with a group of friends suddenly shifted their mindset into a different place. “I can’ explain it, it kind of just happened. It just felt so much like home,” said EJ about the afternoon stroll. “I said, ‘does this just feel right?’ and we both looked at each other and just knew it did.” Even though a piece of their heart was still in California, they started to think about the opportunity to own a home and what it could mean for their lives.

“I thought the sunset on the beach was hard to leave until I saw the sun set over the mountains,” EJ added.

Then and there, they decided that they would move to Colorado sometime in the next year. EJ’s mother, a realtor back in Ohio, began doing the legwork of searching and calling up listings. In what can only be seen in hindsight as serendipity, EJ’s mother stumbled upon a listing from Denver agent Lori Abbey of The Lori Abbey Collection, The Compass Group. Lori immediately told EJ’s mother the listing was a fixer-upper flip at best, and Lori was convinced EJ and Chelsea could do much better. It was at this point that Lori stepped in to become the couple’s buyer agent in Denver.

Chelsea and EJ told Lori they were not in a rush and wanted to find the perfect home and were ok if the process took up to a year.

A few weeks into working together, Lori noticed the housing market was getting hotter and hotter by the minute as a result of the pandemic, which was causing unprecedented demand coupled with a shortage of supply, creating one of the tightest seller’s markets in Denver’s history. Finding and winning a home in Denver was becoming tougher for buyers by the day. The area and price point Chelsea and EJ wanted was incredibly popular. Lori recommended they become Cash-Approved™ with Accept.inc to compete with cash buyers in Denver’s uber- competitive housing market.

“I have to be honest, my whole family works in real estate, so at first we were very skeptical, saying to each other ‘something’s gotta be up here,’ said EJ. “But we checked {Accept.inc} out and we realized this is brilliant…no one has ever thought of this before?! We get to find our dream home with cash in this super-competitive market?!”.

“Babe, is this our house?” 

For the next few months, the couple toured homes virtually from California, with Noah, a buyer’s agent on Lori’s team. “Noah was great! We must have toured over 30 homes with him on FaceTime,” said Chelsea. “He was really honest, which we appreciated since we couldn’t be there in person.”

Chelsea and EJ had set a budget for their home, but once they started seeing homes at that price point, their budget slowly continued to increase. They had submitted a few offers but were losing, even with cash, because they were reluctant to go over budget and the market was so fiercely competitive. They felt discouraged. They started to question if they should delay their move. The next morning, EJ was in a meeting when he noticed a house (slightly over budget) that became active online. He quickly texted Chelsea the listing.

Chelsea immediately replied: “Babe, is this our house???!”

“We had the dream team…in less than 24 Hours, our whole world changed,”

Within hours of the home being listed online that morning, it had 1,500 views and 39 showings scheduled for the upcoming weekend. Knowing this was the one, Chelsea and EJ contacted Lori who immediately sprang into action.

This time the couple didn’t hesitate. They gave Lori the green light. Within a couple of hours Noah was showing them the home on FaceTime.

“When Noah showed us this home, we noticed he didn’t have anything bad to say. After he finished touring it, he walked outside, smiled at us and immediately we said ‘Noah, we want to put in an offer'.”

He said, ‘I know, this is your house.”

For Chelsea and EJ, this home checked all the boxes of what they were looking for. It was even in the neighborhood they were targeting, the coveted Whittier/RINO area of Denver. Chelsea had lived in the Denver area throughout college. She decided that if she was ever to move back, the RINO neighborhood would be her dream destination. She loved the neighborhood for its diversity, artistic vibe, the people, the fashion, the dining; the mindset. “For me, it reminds me of a place like Venice and Venice is one of my favorite places in the world” said Chelsea.

EJ & Chelsea's House in RINO
The House

Armed with an Accept.inc Cash-Approved™ offer letter, Lori presented the offer to the listing agent within hours of Chelsea and EJ seeing it over FaceTime. Fortunately, Lori had done previous transactions with the listing agent, so the cash offer became even sweeter when coupled with the trust built between the agents.

Lori also knew how smooth and easy the transaction would be for them if it was funded with an all-cash offer from Accept.inc, since she had closed dozens of transactions with Accept.inc over the past year.

“Without the cash, I could not have done this,” explained Lori.

“When you’re an agent and you’ve done business with another agent who you know can cooperate and problem-solve with you, that type of credibility and trust is 25% of making a deal work in a market like this, but having the cash was huge for them (the sellers). I convinced the listing agent that our Accept.inc offer coupled with the skills of an experienced agent would ultimately be simpler, faster and easier.”

And just like that, within four hours of Lori hearing from Chelsea and EJ, Lori and the Accept.inc cash offer shut down the other thirty-nine showings setup for that weekend, securing the home.

Ironically, the night before the home came active online, Chelsea and EJ had a long talk rethinking their move to Colorado and whether they should stay in California longer.

“It’s crazy to think that just the night before we were starting to think we should push out our plans. And then next thing you know, this home gets listed on the market and Lori had submitted an offer and secured the home- all in a matter of hours. Because of the dream team of Lori and Accept.inc, our whole world changed in 24 hours,” said EJ.

“When you look at a street all you see are houses, but when you see your house, you just see memories.”   

 Leading up to the closing day on the home, EJ had bought a ring and was brainstorming different proposal scenarios with Chelsea’s family, trying to figure out the right time and place to pop the big question.

And then a week prior to the closing, EJ’s grandfather and best friend passed away from COVID.

“The most romantic place in the world for my grandparents wasn’t a beach, it wasn’t France-it was their front porch. They would always sit on the swing of the front porch together and watch the cars go by,” EJ recalled. EJ and his family recalled these memories fondly after his grandfather’s passing and suddenly EJ knew there was only one place to pop the question.

The most romantic place in the world for my grandparents wasn’t a beach, it wasn’t France-it was their front porch.

By the time closing day arrived, EJ’s plan was set. He and Lori had a photographer waiting at the home when they arrived. They also called Chelsea’s family in Colorado Springs to drive up for the big event.

Chelsea was totally unaware of EJ’s secret plan. She thought the photographer was there to take pictures of the home and the couple for social media. In her mind, this explained EJ’s nervousness.

Lori took them on a final walk-through of the home. While she was taking them through the basement, Chelsea’s family hid around the side of the home with flowers and champagne.

EJ led Chelsea out on the front porch, took her by the hand and said, “you know, we’ve been looking at all these houses. And when you drive down a street of homes, all you see are houses. Maybe you like this roof or that porch or this landscaping. But when you see your house, you don’t look at any of that stuff. You just see memories.”

EJ then kneeled on bent knee and asked for Chelsea’s hand in marriage.

EJ gets down on one knee to propose to Chelsea

Surprised and elated with a flood of emotion, Chelsea said yes to her true love on the porch of her dream home while her family cheered and rushed to surround them. It was the first of many joyful memories the engaged couple is now making in their dream home.

“I love seeing what we can make of this place... we don’t want to sell it ever.” 

Chelsea and EJ’s story is just starting and they can’t think of a better way to spend this Valentine’s Day than home together cooking. They are thrilled to feel like they can finally call a place of their own ‘home.’ The engaged couple is head over heels with each other, but…also, with their new house which is a bit of something old and something new. They are already feeling sentimental and nostalgic about its history and the memories they are making as they settle in their first month.

“Now that we got engaged on the porch, we love the house so much, we don’t see ourselves ever selling it,” says Chelsea. The home is coming up on its 100th birthday in 2022 and the homeowners have decided they will throw a Roaring 20’s New Year’s Eve party to commemorate the centennial celebration.

“I have to admit, the new construction homes have beautiful upgrades. But this home is different,” said Chelsea. “It will be 100 years old next year. We didn’t want to buy a brand-new house, we wanted something we could work on over time and put our own stamp on,” said Chelsea.

The two are planning a wedding for the fall of 2022, two short years after that magical walk in Cheeseman Park. The couple was supposed to visit Italy at the beginning of 2020 since EJ is Italian with deep roots and family still living there. The trip had to be postponed due to the pandemic. They are now planning to honeymoon in Italy and Croatia where EJ’s late grandfather was from so they can pay homage to EJ’s family.

“One million percent, we got the house because of Accept.”
EJ & Chelsea Kissing on the Porch
EJ & Chelsea Share their First Kiss as an Engaged Couple

Chelsea and EJ are breathing a huge sigh of relief now that they have secured their dream home. They feel that with the all the unpredictable timing and circumstances, everything happened for a reason. In the short time since they have closed, Lori has seen the Denver market become even more competitive. She believes the couple got in just in time.

“One million percent we couldn’t have gotten this house without Accept,” said EJ. “The sellers wanted a competitive bid and wanted to take the weekend to see how high of a price they could get. But we had the dream team. From our awesome Cash Transaction Specialist, Tori, to our rock star Approval Specialist, Maura. The whole team was amazing throughout this process and even post-closing. They’ve continued to answer all of our questions. Thanks to Accept.inc and Lori, we were able to take this house off the market just hours after it was listed,”. said EJ.

“We’ve spoken with friends who are also looking for a home (without Accept.inc) and they are having a much different and very poor experience. In the last week alone, I’ve referred two friends to Accept.” said EJ.

EJ & Chelsea Taking their First Engagement Selfie
EJ & Chelsea's First Engagement Selfie


It’s been a whirlwind year for these soon-to-be newlyweds and as they sit on the steps of their front porch in Denver, they can’t help but think how much home ownership is about to change this next chapter of their life together. Settled comfortably in their home, the couple is now looking forward to starting a family.

“I didn’t realize the initiative of the founders of Accept.inc was to give everyday people like us a chance to compete with these bajillionaires in buying a home today-that's life-changing,” said EJ. “I really love that they’re giving people that opportunity.”

The End

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