After 4 interesting (but exhausting) years working in New York’s acting industry, I felt depleted. A career I had picked for it’s creative opportunities, turned out to be just a business with bad odds. My husband and I decided to head back to the Midwest and we liked the idea of getting a duplex to allow ourselves some help with the mortgage and flexibility for traveling—but we were b.r.o.k.e—BROKE! We found a non-conforming Triplex with a shredded tarp on the roof. I threw myself into learning construction and after 6 months I had the first unit tiled, the floors put in, and rented! Once money began coming in, I realized—wait! I am doing real estate?? I joined investment groups and suddenly began to learn how real estate investing works. Still, being creative with a house means more to me than the business side. Sometimes, you have to rip out a wall or weld a railing—because it’s the right thing to do—business or not.
I now have 4 years of experience doing my own renovations—that includes plumbing, framing, drywall, tiling, putting in various types of flooring, concrete retaining walls (with fiber optics!), countertops, installing doors and windows, gutters and fascia rebuilding, and ripping everything apart. Demolition is my favorite. I also get an insane surge of happiness when I can repurpose something old or shabby and use it in my design. I also have an English degree, experience renting multi-family rental properties, and I am working to get my Contractor’s License.
Personally, what thrills me about real estate is the amount of creativity that can go into it. What you see is different from what I see. A building, a lot, a commercial space, a home—is all what someone makes it. There is a lot of room to get creative and make something of it! There is a lot of opportunity to make something better. But for clients that prefer to not fix and fuss, I like to look at beautifully cared for houses and begin to dream with them on what kind of life they want—making that house a home. I like helping people and knowing that HOME is one of the most important parts of someone’s life—I like helping people get there. After all, houses are all about the spaces they provide for living. If there is good sunlight and the space is organized in a pleasing way, no matter the style—the house has appeal!
When I am not realtoring, I travel, take care of the neighborhood stray cats, write, or find another part of my house to rip apart. This summer I took time to tear around the lake on 1990’s Sea-Doos! Cheap thrills are the best!
Fun fact: When I lived in Hong Kong, I wrote and performed musicals. Wearing elaborate costumes and without time for a rehearsal on a new stage, I had to traverse the stage in a gorgeous Coy-fish costume—from which I couldn’t see. I took a step off the stage, dropping 5 feet, landed upright and surprised the audience when I said, “I’m like a fish outta’ water”. What had almost been an incredibly embarrassing moment, was saved with a little humor and quick thinking. Improvising and being able to make interesting connections is a skillset I have.
Finally, If I could live anywhere, lately I keep thinking of the town of Limone on Lake Garda in Italy. The town is known for lemons and has an orchard on the hillside above the Lake. There are ferry’s that bob in and out of port. The church bells ring loud enough to echo miles up the hillside. I would have a fixer-upper on the hillside before town. When it rains, rainbows shimmer between mountainsides. I could live there, drink a glass of wine in the evening, grow a few lemon trees, visit the bigger cities of Florence and Rome to look at the art, then come back to creating my own Agriturismo for wandering travelers.
Sadly many first time homebuyers have a less-than-stellar experience, so we put together this guide to help you understand all of the moving parts.
Selling your house can be one of the most stressful things, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, we’ve got this thing figured out! When you know what to expect, it is easier to make plans.
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