It's not always easy to identify life-changing events, especially when one is in the middle of such an event, but the purchase of my first home certainly was life changing for me. It brought me to what I am doing today, working as a Realtor® with Today, Sotheby's International Realty, loving my career choice and with no intent to stop anytime soon.
It was back in 1972, and San Carlos, CA was a smaller, quieter town than it is today. I was young, married, expecting our first child, planning to leave my job as an administrative assistant at San Francisco General Hospital's Trauma Center to become a stay-at-home mom. Big changes were in store for us.
One day my husband and I walked into a real estate office in San Carlos, housed in the former train station office (now Depot Cafe) and announced we'd like to buy a house.
Our aspirations were quite modest. A 2-bedroom, 1-bath house sounded fine since we were used to living in a 1-bedroom apartment. A Realtor® we met that day showed us 2 homes, we wrote an offer on one that looked fine, signed a couple of pages, and we were in contract. I don't remember applying for a loan, but we did -- it must have been simple in those days. Before long, we were handed the keys and were homeowners.
And then, I panicked. I remember lying awake at night, wondering, "what have we done?" Buying a home was something adults did, and I didn't feel much like an adult then. How could we afford a $200/month mortgage payment, when we were used to paying $100/month in rent? How could a family of 3 live on one salary when we were used to having 2 incomes?
A couple of months after my daughter was born, I enrolled in a real estate class, "Principles of Real Estate" offered by our local community college - I wanted to find out more about this home ownership stuff. By the end of that first course, I relaxed a bit -- I decided being a home owner made a lot of sense.
I stopped worrying, and signed up for another course, "Legal Aspects of Real Estate." That lead to a third, "Real Estate Appraisal and Evaluation," then "Landlord-Tenant Relationships." Now I was hooked, fascinated by the possibilities that owning real estate could provide as a long-term way to provide financial stability to my life.
With the knowledge I had gained, when we outgrew our little house, I felt confident to keep it as a rental, using the rental income to pay the mortgage on our larger home. Financially, it was a painless move. Later we refinanced that first house and bought a second rental house, then some vacation rentals.
Finally, when my daughters were grown, the time was right for me to get my license and put my passion for real estate into practice on a daily basis.
Going from, "what have we done?" to "I'm so glad we did it!" has been an amazing journey, one that I wouldn't change a bit.