Finding Home.

home

I have lived in several houses.  Some for a long time, some for a short while.  There are some that stick out as more meaningful than others, but none that have ever felt more like home than the one I am in now.  Everything about it is perfect.  The size, the location, the backyard, the feeling you get when you walk in the front door, who I share it with, etc…

As a buyer’s agent, my job is to find clients their home- their safe place, their comfort, their sanctuary away from the crazy outside world.  I take my job seriously and I want what is best for all my clients.  I understand the emotions involved when you find that perfect house and I want that feeling for everyone.

In this current market, nothing is more discouraging than finding that perfect house for a client and then getting beat by multiple offers.  You watch your clients fall in love with a home—they imagine how their furniture will fit, they talk about the parties they could have in the backyard, they dream of starting their family there—and then you have to deliver the harsh reality that someone else will be living their dream.  It gets frustrating for everyone involved, especially when it happens several times.

Buying a home is a big step for anyone, but oftentimes it represents a big life change so emotions are already high.  When it doesn’t work out, it can be heartbreaking because it means the process has to start all over again.  However, as with life, it’s best to take every setback as a chance to learn something new. It’s best to understand that if something doesn’t work out, there is a good chance that something better is on the horizon.  You just have to pick your head up, focus and move forward (doesn’t mean you can’t mouth off a string of expletives first or even cry a bit if necessary).  Sometimes the path is a little crazy, but eventually it will lead you home.

PS- If you or someone you know wants to sell a house in West Round Rock with a pool, hit me up! Please!

From 3 to 4…

I bought a house last April.  It was a 3 bedroom house with a flex room off the front entry that was being used as as a dining room.  The room made absolutely no sense as a dining room.  Like none.  There is a little hallway that leads into it with a bathroom and it grossed me out to think about walking right by the toilet with my food.  Or worse, what if someone dropped a deuce while everyone was eating in the dining room and the smell lingered in from the bathroom? Like I said, no sense whatsoever.  However, I knew it totally made sense as a 4th bedroom and that it would be a fairly easy conversion.  We moved in and that became Blake’s room.  I tossed around lots of different ideas for how I could enclose the room, but he actually enjoyed having his room open to the rest of the house.  I thought about doing big sliding barn doors, so he could still enjoy the open concept but I could hide the mess when people were coming over.  Then I thought about doing regular double doors, more like an office feel.  I thought about planking that wall with reclaimed wood, using shiplap, or even making a giant chalkboard wall in the entry…but I really never came up with a solid plan. Much like the rest of the house, it flows so well and is so comfortable, that I really don’t feel an urgency to update things right away (even though, wow…things need to be updated, lol!).  So…summer came and went, the holidays came and went…and really I hadn’t thought too much about doing any home renovating because of time and money and indecision.  However, shortly after the New Year…my main squeeze moved in.  Between the two of us, we have 6 kids!  Blake was actually super excited to get his “first roommate”, but it became evident pretty quickly that we needed to add some organization and close in their room to cut down on some of the chaos.  The ideas started flowing and then I just stood back and watched as Michael worked his magic…I’m kidding.  I helped.  Sorta. (OK, not really).  It was actually amazing how it all came together.  We didn’t exactly know at first what material we wanted to use in that entry nook, but I had leftover planks that I used at the ceiling in my last house.  I ran over there and grabbed them out of the attic and we literally had just enough to plank that space.  We’re still deciding on how to paint or stain those, but overall, we love how it turned out!  In the room-he totally designed and built the closet, kept the existing carpet, used leftover flooring for the closet, and freshened up the walls with leftover paint from the master bedroom.  I used a paint sprayer to spray the inside of the closet.  It was my first time, so I feel like I learned a lot (like don’t spray the inside of closets with a paint sprayer).  It was actually fine, but I feel like I wasted a lot of paint.  I used almost as much painting that closet as I did the entire room.  I also oversprayed and got it all over the plaid wallpaper that Blake liked, but I peeled it off and found a decent surprise of blue striped wallpaper underneath.  Kinda worked, lucky day!  Anyway, it just goes to show you that very simple and inexpensive changes can be made that will add a ton of value to your home.  It is also important to realize the potential in a home, even when it’s outdated or the style doesn’t match yours.  Anything is possible, y’all!

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Looking into the entryway from the room.

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Looking into the room from the entryway

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And the framing begins

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Getting closer…

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Adding the closet framing

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Finished product in entry

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Saved a ton of room by moving the table into the nook

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Closet built out

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Preparing to paint

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First attempt at using a sprayer

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Result of using said sprayer

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Wallpaper under plaid wallpaper that got sprayed (oops)

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Leftover paint from my bedroom made the room way brighter!

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Bins from Dollar Tree helped organize the space!

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Doors were added

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And just like that, we went from 3 bedrooms to 4!

Home sales vs. dating

OK y’all—I was single for a while after getting divorced.  Like a long while.  During that time, I ventured into a *very brief* stint on Match.com .  I didn’t take it too seriously, which may have been my downfall…much like the downfall of some listings I’ve seen in the MLS.

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I read an article recently about how home sellers can take cues from online dating.  Basically, it goes like this…the better the pictures and the more information you give…the more matches you make.  And maybe one of those matches will end up being “the one”.  It totally makes sense…I didn’t add a picture to my Match profile at first because well…I didn’t take it seriously.  Then, I thought, well…maybe I should just to see what happens.  So I did.  And Good Lord.  The messages started and I got overwhelmed and shut it down.  Ha!  But seriously, think about that for a second.  No pictures=no matches.  How many of you would click on a profile with no picture?

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In this day and age, the more information the better.  People research everything online. Personally, I want to get as much information as possible about something from the comfort of my own home before venturing out and taking a chance of encountering a dud.  That being said, I don’t know how many times I’ve been out with clients and they say, “Wow…this place looked WAY better in the pictures”.  I get it, that stinks.  But, let’s think about this…THE PICTURES BROUGHT THE BUYERS…The pictures were SO GOOD that the home made the buyer’s list and they went to look.  You have to get people in the house before they can make a decision…now, I’m not saying to put up unrealistic pictures like the middle aged dude on Match who is still using his college fraternity pics to try and woo the ladies. Don’t be unrealistic, y’all.  Just present what you have in the best possible way.  Look at the differences in these photos (same space, same furniture-just presented differently):

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*These photos and more can be found in their original content by clicking HERE

My team leader has always proclaimed that real estate is like dating and I totally agree.  As a buyer, you go through lots of houses before finding the right one.  You know what you are looking for and once it feels right, you commit.  So sellers, how are you going to make yours stand out to attract the best buyers?  If you were going on a date, would you shower?  Would you dress nicely? Would you go get your hair cut?  You want to put your best foot forward from the beginning if you want to have any chance at all of something working out, so I am going to assume yes to those questions above.  So why would you not do the same when it comes to presenting your home to potential buyers?  It doesn’t take much to clean up the place, slap a new coat of paint on the walls, get rid of clutter (and any funky smells), and keep your home looking fresh for all those potential matches.  The quicker you get those things figured out, the quicker you’ll find your buyer match.  And as always, we’re happy to play matchmaker.  We have dealt with our fair share of transactions, so we know that eventually everything works out and everyone ends up exactly where they need to be. 😉

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You should try this…pretty entertaining!

pictureSomeone posted this on Facebook, so I thought I’d go ahead and ask my nuggets these questions.  The results?  Hilarious.  And pretty darn accurate.  However, I think I’m pretty good at dancing.  And I don’t cry myself to sleep.  Well, not every night.  😉  

Without ANY prompting, ask your kids these questions! See what they really think. Then copy and paste and share the results for your family.

Answered by Aubrey, age 11
1. What is something I always say to you? I love you munchkin
2. What makes me happy? When we’re around
3. What makes me sad? When we leave
4. How do I make you laugh? By being dorky
5. What was I like as a kid? Me!
6. How old am I? 32 years old
7. How tall I am? 5’9″
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Hang out with us
9. What do I do when y’all aren’t around? Run on the treadmill
10. What am I really good at? Everything
11. What am I not really good at? Nothing
12. What do I do as a job? Realtor
13. What is my favorite food? Chicago pizza
14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Going roller skating

Answered by Adelyn, age 9

1. What is something I always say to you? I love you.
2. What makes me happy? Hanging out with us
3. What makes me sad? When we act like shitheads
4. How do I make you laugh? By being ridiculous
5. What was I like as a kid? Weird
6. How old am I? 35 years old
7. How tall I am? I have no clue
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Hang out with us
9. What do I do when y’all aren’t around? Cry yourself to sleep
10. What am I really good at? Cooking
11. What am I not really good at? Dancing
12. What do I do as a job? Realtor
13. What is my favorite food? Pizza
14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Playing

Answered by Blake, age 6

1. What is something I always say to you? Stop!
2. What makes me happy? When we’re around you
3. What makes me sad? When we’re not around you
4. How do I make you laugh? By saying funny stuff
5. What was I like as a kid? I have no idea
6. How old am I? 35 years old
7. How tall I am? I have no clue
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Go to the waterpark
9. What do I do when y’all aren’t around? Sit on your bed and cry
10. What am I really good at? Swimming
11. What am I not really good at? Jumping
12. What do I do as a job? Sell houses
13. What is my favorite food? Steak
14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Going to the waterpark

The Little Seed

So I told y’all I always have a gazillion things going on in my head and I wasn’t lying.  Over the course of my 35 years, I’ve felt at times that I’m not really good enough…like I could be better.  Like other people had their stuff all figured out and I was still scrambling to find my path.  I’ve always been more of a dreamer than a doer because of those self-limiting beliefs that plagued me for a lot of years.  A lot of times I would get really close to doing something, but then I would quit or think “how in the world could I do that?” However, a couple of years ago, I started changing my focus.  I started trying to figure out me.  I started thinking that I could do the things that I wanted to do.    One of those things was to write a children’s story.  I have had this in the back of my mind for years and years.  I never exactly knew the path I wanted it to take, but I wanted it to have something to do with confidence and realizing your purpose and having others believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself.  I had this idea of a little seed, like a child, looking around and seeing all these other types of seeds being picked, and starting to wonder when someone would realize that he was great too.  Then I thought of my mom, who throughout all the times I felt like saying “why not me, why am I not good enough?”, would help me believe that I was.  And then I thought of my precious grandmother, who did the same.  Who always believed in me and always told me I was beautiful and worthy and amazing.  She meant the world to me.  I started writing this little story while my grandma was dying, which also happened to be around the time my marriage was falling apart.  But peeps, even in the darkest of days, you can find beauty.  This story gave me comfort just by writing it down and reading it over and over again.  I didn’t know if it was really any good, or if anyone else would ever want to read it.  So it just sat in a little file on my computer.  But then one night, out of the blue,  I sat up in bed and decided to submit it online to some sort of publishing place.  It was the first step in me believing in me.  Almost instantly after I hit the submit button, my dad called and told me my grandma had passed away.  I drove down to Austin to be with her and I sat in her room until they came and took her away.  As I walked out of hospice that night, I stopped at the desk and my heart stopped for a second. Staring me straight in the face was a pot full of Forget-me-Nots.  Fate?  You decide.

The Little Seed

At a tiny hardware store, way in the back, was a collection of seeds on its own little rack.
In one of those packets lived a special little seed.
He was destined for greatness, but he needed to be freed.

Little Seed watched, day in and day out, the people walk by and he wanted to shout,
“Pick me, pick me! I am as awesome as can be. I can do amazing things, you will see!”
But day in and day out, the people walked by. Some stopped to look, but none stopped to buy.

An old woman’s flowerbed needed something new, so she chose Red Poppy seeds for their beautiful hue.
“Why not me?” asked the seed, with a curious stare. “I’m just as pretty as those flowers there.”
“Don’t worry, little seed”, mama said with a smile, “your day will come; just wait a while.”

A few days passed when a farmer came to call, but he chose Sunflower seeds so they would grow tall.
“I can grow tall. If they plant me, they will see. Mommy, mommy, why not me?”
“It’s not your job to be tall, I promise you’ll see. You’ll do so much more. Just wait till you see what you have in store.”

A child walked in with a few cents to spare and got a packet of Marigold seeds to spread everywhere.
“Why not me?” asked the seed, with a hint of despair. “I’ll never get picked. No one needs me. They don’t care.”
“Now, now, little seed. I told you to wait. Your time is coming and your job will be great.”

At that moment, the bell on the door made a jingle. In his tummy, the little seed felt a tingle.
A beautiful woman walked straight to the back and took a deep breath when she saw little seed’s pack.
“Perfect”, she said, with a break in her voice. She didn’t think twice, he was her choice.

They drove for a while, around curves and up a hill, then pulled into a cemetery where the car got still.
She gathered supplies and then dropped to her knees. She dug a few holes and then pulled up some weeds.
Little seed and his mama were placed in a hole, and she told him to be proud for they’d reached their goal.

Time passed by slowly and little seed was confused.
He was still in the ground, and he wasn’t amused.
Every day the woman would come water his spot, but he wasn’t growing tall, he definitely was not.

That following spring, when the sun began to shine, up rose little seed from the ground like a sign.
He stretched out his petals, reached up toward the sky, and soaked in the warmth that was coming from up high.
He had made it, he had grown, he was a lovely shade of blue. It took longer than he thought, but his destiny had come true.

His mama was close and he heard her say, “See, little seed. I told you to wait. This, little seed, this is your fate.
From now on, you will bring peace when you come alive on this lot.
Because, little seed, you are…and always will be…my beautiful Forget-Me-Not.”

Good vibes…

OK, it looks like I have 9 people who will read!  I don’t want to let anyone down, so y’all….I am a believer of good vibes.  I am a “go with your gut” kind of gal.  Once something feels right, I’m in.  That’s kinda how I scored this adorable little casa of mine.  After the big D, I was living in a rental house in our quaint (overpriced) village.  I was kinda hating the thought of throwing away money every month on rent when I could probably be spending less by buying a place.  I drove by this house on the corner everyday on the way out of the neighborhood and one day a FOR SALE sign popped up in the front yard.  I realtor.commed that biotch right away and found out it was priced in a range that would make my mortgage half of my monthly rent.  Say whaaaaat?!?! So, I called on my realtor/friend/current mentor (more on that later) and next thing you know, we’re walking in the front door.  Now. This house wasn’t much from the pictures.  It was small and dated and I knew it would take some work to get it to a place that I would want to call home.  So we didn’t go busting through that front door expecting to find my dream home on the other side.  What we did find, however, was a lovely little place.  And I looked at my friend, who looked at me, and I think we both thought, well…this isn’t so bad!  What I felt the most while I walked through that first time was love.  and comfort.  and I’ll tell you, by God, I got all warm and fuzzy on the inside.  And in that moment, I thought, this place has some serious potential!  So…we wrote an offer.  They came back with some weird addendums.  I walked away.  And I looked for other places and thought outside the box.  I waited for a while, but I just kept going back to this house in my head.  It was cheap.  It was close to Main Street.  It had a killer backyard.  And it was loved.  It just felt….well, right.  And I really needed something to feel right at that time in my life.  SO…I contacted my friend and we made another offer.  This time, being that the house had sat for a while, the sellers accepted and I totally bought the house!  MY house.  It was kinda awesome and kinda scary all at the same time.  I closed on November 24 and luckily I still had over a month left in my rental.  So, I got to planning.  Day of closing, I already had the wheels turning.  I am super lucky to have a great painter contact, so he was on the ball right away scraping popcorn ceilings and retexturing walls.  It took pretty much the month of December to transform this place, but it was totally worth it!  The cheapest house in Salado got a makeover.  So, because before and afters are super fun, I’ll start with the dining half of my living space.  (I said this place is small, y’all!  I wasn’t lying…I think 3 of my houses could fit into the 1 house we owned in Round Rock…fo realz!!)  So, onward…

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This is what I saw when I walked in. Popcorn ceilings, carpet, dark trim, dated light fixture…

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Kids playing day after closing! Mommy’s house was fun with no furniture!

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Adios, 1984…

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After planked ceiling (more on that later!) and flooring (yeah, that’s tile) got started…

So, at this point, I needed to make a decision because I wanted to order lighting for over the dining table…I hit up Overstock because they have never failed me!  I found this one first and thought it was pretty cool….I liked the idea.

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BUT THEN…I stumbled upon THIS one and we had a winner!

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Made me little nervous just ordering online without knowing how the size would work out, but I took a $218 chance and rolled with it.  BTW, $218 is a steal for this fixture because it rules.

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This was the day I walked in and felt a huge sigh of relief that my vision was actually evolving…I could finally start seeing myself in this place!

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Light went up! And it worked!  And it looked amazeballs!

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My Nawnee’s dining table got moved in! And it was the perfect fit. More on it later.

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And then the fun began!

SO…just because I like to keep things real.  That space becomes a catch all for everything from backpacks to hamster cages to computers.  However, my style is casual and my idea when decorating is always kid friendly and family centered.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I took this picture right before finishing this post because this is our everyday.  Our home.  One that we are filling with love and laughter and our own good vibes.  Peace out, y’all.

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Woohoo! You’re here!

HOUSESo if you came to my blog via my FB post telling you to check it out or if you just happened to stumble upon it, WeLcOmE!  I blogged years ago, but kinda fell off the wagon when my life got a little cray cray (yep, I said cray cray.  Deal with it).  However, I’m back and super stoked to share all of my thoughts and ideas with the three people who will probably read this thing!  Thanks in advance, Mom, Dad & Daniela!  Anyway, this is just a landing pad for all the crazy that goes on in my brain.  As most people know, I usually have about a gazillion things going on at once.  I’m actually hoping that by recording them, I get a little organized…we’ll see!  As a REALTOR, I walk into houses all the time and immediately start thinking of ways to update or move things around to modernize and maximize space.  I’m very excited to share my own home makeover with y’all because I updated the friggin’ shiznit out of this place.  The only thing that still smells like a retirement home is the front door.  And with that, I’ll close up for tonight and go snuggle with my munchkins.  Thanks for swingin’ by.  I hope you come back tomorrow.