It's Wednesday! You know what that means? It's time for a little wisdom from my mom... otherwise known as "The Real Estate Mom."
Hi, LITTOF readers. I’m Pam Weinert, Steph's mom and, as Steph has mentioned in many of her posts, a Realtor here in Chicagoland. I’ll be posting every Wednesday on topics as they relate to Love In The Time Of Foreclosure, and I’ll answer any questions you may have relating to real estate, foreclosure etc.
One of the biggest frustrations for me has been watching my kids go through this financial meltdown, slipping, slipping like a drunk sliding down a wall, and not be able to do anything about it. Sure, I’ve dealt with foreclosures and short sales, I’ve even taken the big Kahuna class in distressed properties through the CDPE (Certified Distressed Properties Institute) and I’m now certified in handling distressed properties. But, like anything, when it happens to someone close to you, it becomes gut wrenching personal, like a sick doctor trying to heal herself.
Steph and Bob’s purchase of Silver Ridge was partly because of my coaching. They doubled their money on their condo and I always said “There’s no better investment in the world than real estate”. I can hear those words coming out of my mouth. I said them to whomever would listen, I believed them, lived them, and I practiced what I preached.
For almost 30 years I’ve been a Realtor helping people buy and sell their most valued possessions, their homes. My husband, Tom and I bought and sold 12 homes. We have had rental properties, and we even rehabbed an old boat. Real estate investing was Tom’s full time job.
Twenty five year’s ago, when I was a single Mom, I bought two houses, rehabbed them and sold them for a profit. The first one was a huge, crazy project. I had way more enthusiasm than money or skill. The house was a 100 year old Victorian home that had been neglected. It was one of three Victorians a father built for his three daughters so they could live close to each other. I liked to think that our house was the house of the “individualist’ because our turret was round while the other two were square.
The Victorian today.
Stephie and my son Tommy tell me one of their first memories is coming home from grade school and rather than being given warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, I handed them each a paint scraper, some sand paper, and a fruit roll up and we got busy with the work of rehabbing. We stripped old wood, removed wallpaper, and pulled up flooring. We were so excited one day to find beautiful maple floors under cracked and ugly red and black linoleum. As I learned, they learned, and our lesson was your home is a sanctuary to be nurtured and loved. It should reflect who you are. It should be a place you share with your friends, and it will always be a great investment.
So Steph came by her real estate investment savvy honestly. Bob, right off the condo doubling experience, was enthused. So, when the Silver Ridge home came on the market at a drastically reduced price, they asked my opinion and I said, “as long as you can afford it, go for it.” Who knew the real estate bubble was about to burst? I didn’t. When the downward slide began I advised them to list their house immediately. I thought it would sell fast and they could salvage something. And the rest is history.
Yes, mistakes were made, but as in any crisis, lessons were also learned.
I learned that my kids have tremendous resilience. I learned that having a home has nothing to do with bricks and mortar. I learned to ask very tough questions of my clients. “Is your mortgage current or have you missed any payments? Sounds pushy doesn’t it? Well, the reality is that 80% of people who are in jeopardy of losing their homes never talk to their lenders or ANYONE! They’re in denial, depressed, embarrassed etc. As a Realtor I want to give them a safe place to unburden themselves so I can help them. I’ve also learned that real estate is only a good investment if you can truly afford a property, and if it’s a really good buy.
Do I still believe in real estate? Do I still like being a Realtor? Yes. Now, more than ever, because people need good Realtors who are educated, and who really care about them. Do I still believe real estate is a good investment? I do. There are some great opportunities out there in realestateland. There is cheap money to borrow, if you qualify, and wonderful plans for first time home buyers. So, yes, I still believe. But as the old song says “Money can’t buy you love” and neither can owning a home. You have to find love and happiness on your own, even in the time of foreclosure.
This is a picture of the house we moved to from the Victorian (only a block away.) We rehabbed this one too- and installed that beautiful stained glass window you see in the photo that I found from an old church.
Cruising the Waterways - Pam & Tom's blog about their year on the boat