When I started this site, it really was not my intention to show my story, rather, share the stories of others that I have met through my career and life here in Phoenix. The absolute best part of my job is meeting and getting to know new people and ultimately assisting them with huge life decisions- this site aims to showcase that process and ultimately our lives out here in Phoenix. Well, after learning my way through the first three stories on The Neighborly, I am so very humbled and honored that my clients and friends have opened up their lives for my vision and in support of all my ideas. Now, in consideration of what others have done for me, I want to share my life and home as a way to say thank you to those who have been so kind to support my big ideas.
I purchased my home almost 7 years ago, it was a good time to buy, it was also perfect timing for me. Really, I feel like timing is everything. I had this Zillow obsession for a few years; this was before I became a real estate agent. I would sit for hours and look at houses while my boyfriend, James, would watch TV. I rented in Arcadia at the time, I loved the area but it was out of my budget to purchase. Randomly, I drove into a little neighborhood near Arcadia High one day and fell in love with the little houses. They reminded me of California where I grew up, I could see in the big front windows to the exposed beamed ceilings- something I didn’t see too much of out here. I have always loved mid century homes, especially the modern styles of Cliff May and Joseph Eichler, so this little neighborhood really got me thinking.
After doing a little digging, I learned they were designed by Ralph Haver, a prominent mid century architect here in AZ…but these particular homes were way out of my budget. I started the hunt for something similar or a Haver off the beaten path. It took over a year of Zillow stalking, but I found it, a Haver not in a “Haver-hood,” that needed work but had loads of potential. I scraped up everything I had at the time and bought the house. I learned a lot about real estate during the process, soaking up all the info, reading all the fine print, getting out the dictionary and trying to make sense of contract verbiage and title documents. It was overwhelming but so interesting to me.
I always tell my first time home buyers, and it’s totally true, when I closed on my house, I cried and cried because I was so freaked out at what I had just taken on, your classic buyers remorse, but I just thought, why did I do this to myself? All of the sudden all the little scary, ugly things about the house and all the work that needed to be done started to stand out so much more than they had during the buying process. Every closet I opened was filthy, all the paint was chipping, it really gave me anxiety. I had so many ideas and knew exactly what I wanted to do, but no money to actually do it. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to tackle this beautiful beast.
We made the best of it, we painted the entire interior, had the floors refinished cashing in a gold coin Jamie’s grandma had given him, we literally had no money. We decorated with what we had, took on a few projects when we could and little by little time marched on, we saved more money and the housing market improved as well. When our neighborhood started to really get hot, I looked into refinancing- this was major- I was able to refinance, pay off my student loans, my car and lower my monthly payments by removing the PMI. What a miracle! The refinance was really the start of me changing everything, I know it sounds silly, but I was able to stop doing the paycheck to paycheck dance. Jamie and I could make bigger decisions about the house and even big life decisions, like career moves.
James is an oil painter, and a super talented one. He has been a full time artist for the last 12 years but really been painting, drawing and creating his whole life. When we met he was really making strides in his business, getting more publicity, gallery action and building his clientele. Watching him run his own business, make his own rules and write his own future was so inspiring for me. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but was never sure how to make it happen for myself. Jamie gave me that push to try something new, he knew I could do it and was my biggest supporter.
This house seriously changed everything for me, buying it was the best thing I have ever done for my financial future and my personal happiness. I realized all the Zillow-ing, contract obsessing, and home ownership experience coupled with my many years and love of client service allowed me to have a wonderful foundation in real estate. After making the transition into full time real estate, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to make the move. I have never been happier, more satisfied with my career and felt that my skills are really being utilized.
Now, the house and yard are almost complete- well, I shouldn’t say that, things are never done and I want to remodel much of the back half of the house, add a master suite and move the laundry room! Our biggest accomplishment on the property is the guest house/art studio. The studio was something we always wanted to do, we have ¼ acre of property and half the yard was not being utilized. The little art studio soon turned into the big guest house once we got into the actual drafting, planning phase. We had to have a bathroom, we had to have a kitchenette, French doors, etc. So, plans changed and Jamie is still painting in a small room in the house, we are renting out the Airbnb for a bit to recoup some of the money spent. Overall we are really pleased with how it all turned out and learned so much during the process.
Owning this home has taught us so much, there have been countless lessons learned and so much trial and error that I love sharing with my clients looking to take on a project house. This journey of home ownership has landed me here, working as an entrepreneur/realtor, hosting Airbnb guests, developing a new brand and site, continually fixing and improving this house and loving my little family. I really feel I am in the right place and am excited to see what happens next.
Thank you again to my clients and friends who have shared their homes thus far and for those who will be featured in the future, The Neighborly is all about you, your lives and our community. I hope to bring you stories you can relate to, feel inspired by and just enjoy.