The best place to start is at the beginning. But I’m not really sure where that is. Or of what beginning I really need to traverse back to in order to tell this story.
Before I had a blog (!!!), before I was married or a mother … I worked with my dad as a Real Estate agent. I started working as his assistant when I was 17 and tried to enroll in the class to get my own license as soon as possible. At 18 I was a licensed agent and fell in-love with homes.
Working with my dad was and is one of the gifts I carry with me every day. He sold Aaron and I our first home. (Fun fact: Terry Brinks was the listing agent. His office was across the hall from my dad’s … )
We lived there as I continued to work as an agent, helping first time home buyers find their home, helping others sell their first home and move on to the next stage in life. Then my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I couldn’t picture myself doing this without him, so I stopped. In the mean time I got married … soon after got pregnant and all of a sudden our first little house was caving in on us. Just under 2 years after moving in – we moved out.
One of the last deals my dad did was our second home:
He died weeks later, the walkthrough of this home was the last he did.
We closed on the sale of this home the day we also had the visitation for his funeral. Because my dad was so well known and loved we had two visitations with a break in the middle: pregnant with Jessica in the throes of grief, I drove to this house between visitations and walked it’s halls.
Lost and lonely.
I grew up in this house, this house changed me. I brought both of my babies home to this house, my husband grew a business in this house. We changed, painted, carpeted, tiled and dreamt in this house. We hosted constant bonfires, play dates, friends and family members. We made memories in this house: we made life.
And then we sold this house.
Terry Brinks. The man I now work with – sits in the very same office my dad sat in 10 years ago. Terry was one of my dad’s best friends, a confidant. He did life with Terry. I grew up with Terry’s kids.
When we decided it was time to sell our second house we knew we had a mountain to climb, we were upside down in the house. Terry listened to us; what was important to us and what our goals were. He helped us understand how to get there – which was anything but a simple 2+2 or A to B.
In an effort to work our way out of the debt we would accumulate by selling our house – Terry worked a few deals with us.
We built a home but he sold it before we moved in. So we rented for a few years, and while renting we tried to buy two other homes with Terry … The Tin Post was the first (at a whopping $29,000) but we were denied a loan because the start up we were currently nursing along.
So we waited a few months, went with a different bank and tried to buy another house which we had full confidence in the ability to move in to. At $56,000 this house was still a steal. And on the day of our closing the bank called and denied us, again.
We were heart broken but Terry was confident that we would be able to buy another house. We had to wait for our current year taxes to file so the start up that closed would no longer reflect our income. I stopped looking entirely.
Then 2012 rolled around, our taxes filed and I looked, just to peek, to see if I could maybe possibly start to hope. And a house on east was sitting there. Great neighborhood. In our price range ($86,000). Good bones, livable until we could afford to remodel …
I called Terry and asked to see it. Aaron was on his way out of town so I went alone, just me and Oliver after dropping Jessica off at school … we looked around and I asked a few questions … called Aaron and then made an offer (less than asking price).
(This is what would end up being Jessica’s bedroom)
A few weeks later we actually signed papers and got keys. We had kept this house a secret because it was such a miscarriage of hope to keep telling people we were moving when we never did …
Until April 27, 2012
That’s how we got here.
Late last year I emailed Terry again about a few other homes, I’m interested in starting to purchase property to build a few other dreams. I kept running into Terry, we grabbed drinks, I was working a few things out in my personal life with where to go next, what to do with my time.
And then mid-remodel Terry stopped over to see the progress on our home. He started telling me how he might be looking for someone to help him do his next thing.
He wondered if maybe I was a possible part of that next thing?
Yes. Yes I am.
I work with Terry out of Five Star Real Estate in Holland. Walking through those doors, 12 years later, to come to work, again, was nothing short of divine in so many ways. I was scared to be back here, literally in the same office, possibly in the exact same spot … and I was ecstatic to be back to my first love.
I get to combine what I’m talented at with what I love doing. I have no idea how this qualifies as a job, I get to do what I love.
Thanks for being patient with me here, I can’t wait to show you what we’re doing.
In the mean time, you can follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m not an agent, I just work for one 😉 So if you need to sell your house or want to buy one: you can call Terry (616-355-3777) or email me and we can build your dream, too.
After my dad died I listened for years as friends and family members recounted last words from him, last wishes. Memories or how they felt he had “prearranged” some kind of sign for them … I listened and listened, waiting to hear mine. I listened in silence as the memory faded for so many people, I watched and heard how “step dad” disqualified him from their memory as the man who raised me. I mourned a great loss, all alone … but it turns out he was watching out for me after all.
He didn’t forget me.
And look at me, doing a brand new thing. I can do this, I already am.