Twenty years ago I stumbled into the real estate business… a year prior, in 2001, Husband and I were lawfully wed in June, my folks purchased a new home shortly after, and terrorists attacked our country in the fall. Having burnt out on college, I was waiting tables dreaming about one day buying a house with my handsome young hubby.
While my parents were house-hunting I found myself nightly cruising through desirable neighborhoods in search of for-sale signs, collecting property flyers to bring them, unsolicited, to aid in their search. I didn’t realize this was perhaps peculiar (I didn’t even live with them at the time!), but found it great fun to scope out prospective listings for sale after work. I was living vicariously through them– with husband diligently plugging away at college and both of us working full-time hustling just to make ends meet, homeownership seemed a looong way off.
Husband’s grandparents also bought a new house that year, and at one point I shared my far-off dream of home ownership with his ‘Mimi.’ Turns out, she had briefly dabbled in the real estate biz in the ’80s before deciding sales was simply not her jam, but she recognized that it might be a good fit for me. “Why don’t you think about SELLING houses?” I didn’t even know what all that entailed, but started flirting with the idea, figuring at the very least I’d learn about the process and become an educated first-time buyer.
I enrolled in some very dull, dry real estate classes; my mom, dad, and stepmother generously split the tuition with Hardworking Husband. With virtually zero context, I initially found it a challenge to retain the heady legalese but plodded along and within months completed the required courses. Finally, I was eligible to pay another hefty fee to take my formal licensure exams with the state. At that time it was a sluggish months-long process by snail mail of registering for, sitting for, and then awaiting results from the exams; but ultimately I received my license the same month that my strapping young husband was deployed overseas to war. President Bush had declared war on Iraq and our Oregon National Guardsmen were activated to serve in the Middle East. I’d naively never really considered the possibility of him serving active duty, but quickly we prepared for him to fight a war with me left behind wondering if it would be weeks, months, or longer before I’d see him again.
With nothing better to do, and a surplus of time on my hands, I threw all of my nervous energy into my newfound vocation. I worked tirelessly that first year and paid off all our consumer debt then bought our first home, becoming Rookie of the Year and a top-producing agent at my brokerage in the process.
Husband returned home fourteen months later and we started our family; with his support, I’ve always been able to stay home with our kids and work around the master family schedule. Even while birthing babies and briefly living in another state, I’ve maintained my Oregon license for the long haul and contributed to our family finances. Early on, I completed additional education to become a Principal Broker, enabling me to supervise other agents, and for several years had a team of brokers that worked for me so I could mostly manage transactions from home alongside my preschoolers. With all three now in traditional school, I mainly work from home and try to schedule the bulk of outside appointments during school hours. My career has evolved and adapted organically to my family over the years, and I know I’ll never retire from the business.
Sometimes I joke that I drive for a living, other times I say I open doors for a living… In reality, it’s a great mix of both, plus marketing, showings, negotiating, and SO MUCH PAPERWORK. I’ve been blessed by my twenty-year career assisting family and friends with their biggest financial decisions. Housing is a basic, fundamental necessity and I’m passionate about the privilege of home ownership. I’m grateful for loyal clients who have trusted my experience and kept me productive.