I have an unpaid avocation. It is Real Estate. I have been fascinated by it since college days. I love to look and have found many homes for friends. So much so, for many years, friends have asked me, â€śWhy arenâ€™t you in real estate?â€ť
My answer was, â€śI donâ€™t want to work nights and weekends.â€ť The real answer is, â€śI love what I have done throughout my life. Writing and publishing magazines is in my blood.â€ť While I have worked some nights and weekends in this profession, it was of my own choosing.
Real estate remains my avocation. It began shortly after college.
I owned five nice homes before what really was my dream home. I loved it before I had finished seeing the whole house! Once I said right out loud that I would only leave it in a pine box.
A big red two-story saltbox on seven acres had a different layout than any home I have ever seen. A stable at the edge of the property housed horses that grazed in the pastures. Chickens, rabbits, labs and a cat complimented the kids. We added a sunroom and pool and had parties that centered around softball, swimming, and fireworks. It was the ultimate family home.
Sixteen years later, my first marriage ended, but I stayed in the home. Four years later I remarried, continuing in my dream home. It took a cataclysmic event to change my life plan.
The day the movers left my dream home,
I walked around the outside,
grateful for the home I loved.
I looked up and said, â€śThank you, God,
for all the years in my dream home.
And I wonâ€™t be leaving in a pine box after all!â€ť
I went to New England to help my Mum when she broke her hip, and it took weeks to get her into a wonderful nursing home. While there, Realtor Ray Bergey called, with a clientâ€™s offer to buy my property.
â€śNo, thank you,â€ť I told him. But Ray, a wonderful man, skilled in his vocation, was persistent.
As I dealt with the problems from Mumâ€™s broken hip, I thought of my own future. I have neuropathy, a nerve disease causing awkward walking and danger of falling. Several times, while in a â€śboot,â€ť I had to crawl upstairs. Many times I had circled inside and outside my home looking for a place to install an elevator. There was none.
Considering a move, I asked my husband. Terry replied wisely, â€śThis is the house you love. Itâ€™s up to you.â€ť
When I decided to sell, he exclaimed, â€śThank you, God!â€ť Three of the acres had required ongoing upkeep, and he was not getting younger.
We signed a contract that gave us an entire year to find a home. It took nine months to find our wonderful, friendly neighborhood of 30 homes, each with a few acres. Realtor Murphy Brown had kindly told Ray the house was coming on the market, knowing we wanted the neighborhood. We bought it the hour after Realtor Diane Keeley received the sellerâ€™s contract. Those three great Realtors made the process seem easy, even in the frantic market of 2004.
The day the movers left my dream home, I walked around the outside, grateful for the home I loved. I looked up and said, â€śThank you, God, for all the years in my dream home. And I wonâ€™t be leaving in a pine box after all!â€ť
Unbelievably, that was 15 years ago! Ray has retired out-of-state and Murphy is my neighbor and friend. And here is what I learned about Real Estate and finding a home that fits: Find a respected Realtor. Write down what you want and need in a home and neighborhood. Consider your lifestyle, age, health, and finances â€“ now and in the future.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.