How My First Real Estate Purchase Changed my Life

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.

San Carlos CA train station

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.

--- Come for a visit; Stay for a lifetime!

Lottie Kendall, Realtor®


CA DRE#10215160; 650-465-4547

Peninsula Living Business Page



Comment balloon 18 commentsLottie Kendall • April 19 2014 09:39AM


Hello Lottie,  Great interesting story of how this change your life.  Have a Happy Easter!

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) over 6 years ago

Lottie, No doubt all of that has played a huge role in the agent you are today. You had real estate nailed with all of your personal experience before you even got your license. You really hit the ground running with your license. What a great story.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 6 years ago

Great story Lottie and it certainly seems like you made the right decision way back when.  Your love for real estate comes shining through every day.

Posted by Scott Larson, Park City, Utah Real Estate News (BHHS/Utah Properties) over 6 years ago

Good evening, Lottie. Some how we manage to cope and survive. I am glad to see that you did.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Exciting times when we take that first step, I am glad that it propelled you toward a new career that has lasted so long.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities) over 6 years ago

Good morning Lottie. What a wonderful story and I can understand how this transaction shaped how you do your real estate practice today.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 6 years ago

Lottie, loved hearing how you began in this wonderful career choice, and you knew early on how purchasing real estate could help you and your family.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 6 years ago

Hello Will - it did, indeed, change my life. Happy Easter to you, too.

Kathleen, I knew I couldn't raise my girls the way I wanted and be the kind of Realtor I wanted to be -- so I waited. Thank heavens for second chances!

Scott, I caught the bug early - haven't regretted it for a second.

Michael, we do survive, but more than that, we flourish! Happy Easter to you.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Hello Bob - life is an exciting journey, isn't it? I can stilll empathize with buyers fears, remembering my own way back when.

Happy Easter, Joe! I relate this tale from time to time to buyers, in hopes of lessening their fears somewhat.

Joan, when I don't understand something, I like to learn about it. It didn't take long for me to see the benefits real estate could bring to my family and I.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago


Great story and naturally very inspiring.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 6 years ago

Lottie~ wow, what an ordeal! "It sure was a lot different back then and boy have things changed....

Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) over 6 years ago

Nice story - I had a similar first experience and built a nestegg for myself. Congrats to us!

Posted by Roseanne Campagna, Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA (John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA ) over 6 years ago

Buying that first home will sure make an adult out of folks!  :)

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 6 years ago

Hi Andrea - I remember my feelings of panic quite well! All turned out fine, of course, which is exactly what I want for my buyers.

Jon--we signed about 4 pages--that was it!

Roseanne, congratulations to you. We were fortunate, weren't we?

Judi - buying a home and having a baby--we grew up fast back in the day!

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Wow Lottie, I wish I'd been as wise as you at a young age. Thanks for entering the April contest!

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

I'm not sure I was wise--mainly scared! Homeownership and having investment properties has definitely paid off for me, and hope it will for many others. Thank YOU for putting so much time into this challenge.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

I am surprised you waited as long as you did once you started taking classes to jump into the industry.  Don't know many people that take those classes as reassurance for buyer jitters.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 6 years ago

I waited, Chris Ann, because I knew I couldn't raise my kids the way I wanted to and be the Realtor I wanted to be. But the knowledge I gained was put to use in many ways until the time was right for me.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago