Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday all year. You don’t have to buy anything and it is fun to eat pumpkin pie. I always am reminded of how lucky I am this time of year. Since I have always wanted to be in real estate, that is one of the many things that makes me thankful.
Here’s how I got here:
I’ve always been into houses. I had Lincoln Logs and Legos….always built houses. As soon as I figured out how to use a ruler as a straight edge, I started designing houses. My parents always kept me in graph paper. One box was one square foot on normal sized houses, or two square feet on bigger ones. For a long time, I wanted to be an architect. The dream ended when I figured out that most architects spend their days doing mundane things like redesigning new roof lines for Kentucky Fried Chickens.
About that time Donald Trump started becoming a household name. Other than the bad hair, I wanted to wheel and deal in real estate like he did. That was back when all most people knew about him was that he was professionally successful…..long before the divorces and bankruptcies. My goal was to be a builder, landlord and realtor. I’ve done two of the three so far. One day, I am going to have break down and build a house.
By now, I am in high school and thinking about having fun waaaaay too much. One of my favorite after-school jobs was delivering pizza. It let me go up and down many streets and get to know neighborhoods…..at least those in 40502 near the old Mr. Gatti’s in Idle Hour. I’d also drive around neighborhoods all over town looking at houses, only during school hours….didn’t know it then, but I was really doing something kind of like Vocational Education!
I remember I was in a drafting class in high school. There was a contest to design a house that a builder would use on a lot in Cumberland Hill. Back then, that was way the heck out Tates Creek Road. You use to be able to get into that neighborhood off of Tates Creek on Fairhaven Drive. I’ve often wondered if the person living at the very end of the street knows that the road use to be right where their house is now? I think I must have designed too nice of a house. I didn’t win, but it was fun to go out to the site and think about how I wanted the house to turn out.
When I got to college, naturally I took a lot of classes about drafting, building materials & mechanical systems of buildings. Plus the easier engineering classes about things like calculating live loads and translating that into how thick of a beam you need to keep the building from falling. I worked at Lowe’s at this time too. It was good to be able to see the parts that I had drawn while drafting or seen in a textbook.
Another job I had was being an estimator for a contractor. I started out helping with estimates and running errands. Once the boss started seeing that I was really good at figuring out how much material we needed to do a job based on the blueprints, I was able to stay in the office more. My fondest memory was having to go to a jobsite one day and I didn’t have a hard-hat. The boss gave me his to use. He was known to be tough to deal with. As I walked around the site, I wondered why everybody looked at me like they were scared. When I got back to the car, I saw in the rear view mirror that the hard hat had his name on it. Most of the workers had never met the boss, only heard of him. They thought I was him!
I got lucky when I bought my first house since it didn’t need much. I wasn’t so lucky with my second house. It is hard to believe that I am now thankful for all I went through with that house. It needed about everything. I did a lot of the work myself. What I learned there that benefits me jobwise is that I know what things cost, how complicated a repair/remodel is going to be, and most of all, I developed a sixth sense about whether a house is junk or not. I also learned how NOT to pick home inspectors since that guy told me that “There isn’t anything wrong with the house that can’t be fixed.” I just didn’t know it would take all my time and all my money. I am glad to be on this side of the work now since all the place still needs is new windows. I was able to turn it into investment property after we moved out. When I bought it, I could have never guessed that it would cross “Landlord” off my bucket list.
While I lived in that house, I finally decided to go to real estate school to get my license. The mother of a high school friend who was also a realtor helped me out by paying for half of it. Those first few years were slow, even though the market was hot. I didn’t want to do things like mail time change post cards or chase people who didn’t want to be caught. I remember telling my broker that I wanted to be spending my time becoming a great realtor rather than licking stamps and trying to find a client. The market changed. The public started expecting more from realtors, and I started blogging.
Flash forward to now: I’ve just had my best year ever. The past few have been great too. I wake up everyday and get to see houses, talk to people about houses, study the values of houses, give people advice, be out and about. I also get to use everything I just wrote about to help other people. This is what I always wanted to do, and for that, I am very thankful.
BTW, since I don’t send time change post cards, I better remind you that it changes this weekend. I don’t know who decided it was the responsibility of realtors to make sure everybody know about them.