It was a huge leap of faith to quit my job last year and pursue a completely different career path. I had been with my company for 4 years and was in a Senior position. The pay and bonuses were great, I had made many friends, and there were lots of perks to working there. But, it wasn't my passion.
I've been interested in real estate ever since I worked for a mortgage company back in college. I serviced mortgage loans and also had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of building wealth through real estate holdings. I dreamed of one day owning lots of properties, like my boss at the time did. Around this same time, my hubby was looking for a place to live with some of his friends. They had rented a house previously, but he decided he'd just try to buy a house and use his roommate's rent payments to cover his mortgage payment. He found an affordable house near our college campus, bought it, and basically lived rent-free for a couple of years. When it came time to graduate and move away from that city, he figured he could keep finding college students to rent it and just hang on to it instead of selling it. Nine years later, we're still renting it to college students each year, and it's our best investment!
That first house was a leap of faith in itself. It's scary for a 21 year old to buy a house when he's still in college and only working part time. That was just the beginning, though! From there, Meezy bought two more houses to use as rentals, and then we've bought three more since we got married (one is our homestead). It's kind of an addiction! I get a lot of pride from walking into a house that I own. Don't get me wrong - owning rental properties is a TON of work. But, it's also very fulfilling, and I look forward to the day when I can sell one of them to pay for Dutch's college, and use the income from the rest to live comfortably in retirement.
From my previous work experience, and then our personal experience with our own houses, my fondness of real estate just continued to grow over the years. I loved the feeling of buying a house and calling it my own, and I loved the idea of helping others do the same. My mother-in-law was very instrumental in my pursuit of this dream. She invested time and money into starting an office and being my broker, and then set me loose to see what business I could drum up. I basically started from scratch and really wasn't expecting much. Through the support and trust of my awesome friends and family, however, my business has really blossomed! Half of my client base has come from referrals, which is a huge compliment. There were times near the beginning where I didn't think I'd be able to find enough work to stay busy, and now that feeling is far behind me!
Today, one of my listings went under contract, and it was the fourth one to go under contract in just about a month's time! All of my listings are spoken for, and that's a wonderful feeling. I treat each of these houses as if they're my own, and I put as much effort into taking care of my clients as I would my own personal matters. When I'm showing someone a house, I try to put myself in their shoes and really focus on what they've told me they want. I do this because this isn't just a job to me. I wouldn't have regretted quitting my old job and pursuing this path no matter what the outcome was; I would have regretted not trying. But, it's still nice to know I made the right decision!