House Fixed Up, Sold With All Proceeds Going To Skyuka Hall

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
House on Platinum Way
House on Platinum Way

Local realtors Derek and Becky English said one of their home sales was the most meaningful for them, even though they earned no commission. It was fixed up and sold to benefit a local children's school.

For the English couple, selling real estate is what they do every day. While Becky has been in the real estate business since 1997, Derek’s decision to become a realtor was done more out of necessity. In 2013, the Englishes were faced with a decision that would require greater flexibility in their schedules and routines. “The decision to grow our family of three to a family of five overnight was easy from one perspective – love,” said Mrs. English. “We knew the adjustments we would have to make and didn’t blink an eye.”

Almost overnight, the Englishes transformed their small family, which at the time included Mr. English’s daughter, then a sophomore, to a family of five when they opened their home to Becky’s two teenage nephews who were living with their grandparents at the time.  “Thankfully, our real estate experience enabled us to quickly find a larger home within a matter of days. It just seemed as though God was opening doors for us to provide a home for the boys,” Mr. English commented.

One of the extenuating circumstances that induced the English’s decision to expand their family was based on meeting the needs of a child with learning differences. Their oldest nephew has dyslexia and was reading on a level well below his grade because he had not been receiving the services that he needed. “It was a bit overwhelming having to navigate the public education system and discern what he needed and make it a reality,” said Mrs. English, who became an advocate for her nephew and meets regularly with school officials. Today, he is a junior reading on his grade level and was recently inducted as a member of his school’s Beta Club. Little did Ms. English know that her experience in understanding learning differences and figuring out what her nephew needed would prepare her for another task.

In September of 2014, Mrs. English was approached by a local bank needing assistance with one of their bank repossessions. The property, located in Ooltewah at 4032 Platinum Way, was an attractive executive-style home in a great location. “Unlike many foreclosures and bank repossessions we see,” said Derek English, listing agent with Crye-Leike, Realtors, “this home had been carefully stripped of its fixtures right down to the door hinges. No damage, just bare.”

After providing the bank with her review, Mrs. English thought nothing more of the house or its future. Months later 4032 Platinum Way resurfaced when one of her clients contacted her explaining he was planning to purchase the house from its owner, FirstBank. “It was an odd coincidence, but I provided the same review I had given to the bank previously. I explained the long list of work needed, but the end result would be a good investment.”

A week later, Derek and Becky met with the prospective purchaser of the house to discuss his strategy when he revealed his plan for the house – to fix it up and give it away. “I will fix it up, but I want to give this house away to help kids,” their client explained.

The “kids” it turns out are the kids at Skyuka Hall, a school for children with learning differences who not only receive an education, their hope is restored. Skyuka Hall’s head of school since 2014, Dr. Josh Yother, has been making a name for himself as his students not only defy the odds, they thrive.  While Dr. Yother gives all the credit to the kids, the faculty and God, one thing is certain, Skyuka Hall is a special place for children who don’t fit the traditional student mold.

Derek and Becky English soon found themselves in the middle of a project that would soon touch many lives. “After we met Dr. Yother and visited Skyuka Hall, we jumped on board and offered our time, contacts and resources,” said Mrs. English, “with the first goal being the renovation.”  The Englishes called on subcontractors, vendors and clients to assist with painting, new cabinetry, countertops, appliances and anything that needed to be done to make the house marketable. After learning of the future of the house, FirstBank worked closely with the Englishes to ensure the entire process was a seamless transaction.

Mr. English said, "As we shared this remarkable story of generosity and introduced people to Skyuka Hall, many of the people that worked on this house donated their time or materials at cost. We were able to cut the budget for the renovation in half and every dollar saved was a dollar that the school and its students would benefit from.”

Materials, donations or labor were provided by Reggie Garner of RiverBirch Homes, Siano Appliances, Black Creek Mountain Cabinetry, Louisville Tile, Stone Visions and Coat of Many Colors, Ministries, the actual recipient of the house.

Mrs. English said, “At the end of the day, the gentleman that facilitated the purchase of the house and donated it to the ministry deserves to be commended and we need more people like him.  While he prefers to remain anonymous, his generosity will not go unnoticed by the students and their families.” Tuition currently stands at $14,200, far below many private schools providing specialized education, but still out of reach for many families.  Families that will now be helped with this contribution.

The house at 4032 Platinum Way went on the market in November of 2015 and is currently pending sale and is scheduled to close in a few days. The proceeds from the sale will go directly to Coat of Many Colors Ministries, who will, in turn, provide the funds to Skyuka Hall.  Listing Agents Derek and Becky English with Crye-Leike, Realtors are donating all of their commission on the sale to Skyuka Hall. Selling Agent Billy Weathers with Re/Max Properties has also contributed a sizeable portion of his commission.

The Englishes will soon be closing the sale of this house, but they said they have not lost sight of the transforming power they have witnessed. Mr. English said, "The house received an incredible makeover, as it became the vessel to connect a man who overcame his learning challenges as a youth with kids who are overcoming theirs at Skyuka Hall.  In short, the money raised through the sale of the house will go a long way in transforming the lives of the students and their families who so desperately depend on a school like Skyuka Hall."

Skyuka Hall serves K-8 students, however growth within the past year has been so tremendous a ninth grade was just announced. If you would like to support Skyuka Hall or know of a child that would benefit as a student, please contact Skyuka Hall at (423) 877-9711, 1200 Mountain Creek Rd, Suite 300, Chattanooga, TN 37405. Or visit online at www.SkyukaHall.org.

Restored interior
Restored interior

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