time to reboot, and put a lot of learning to the test.

I'm not normally one to put much emphasis on New Year's, or really any mandatory-observation type holiday, but this particular New Year has a lot of serendipity attached to it.  It really might be a new start, and a chance to really up my game professionally, in a manner that I haven't had a chance to pursue since having kids.  Sometimes things come together all at once in a way that is clearly a test - and if there's one thing that I can't resist getting excited about, it's taking tests.  They might be my favorite thing ever - even though I have about 100 favorite things ever.  Tests are definitely in the top 10, though.  

Anyway, last fall I experienced a cavalcade of real estate agency work.  Past clients came back for more, a couple new clients surfaced, and I was approached by a close friend to partner in a new venture of house flipping (and much more!).  Considering the constantly-on-the-ropes boxing match that my life has been for the last couple of years, the work was a blessing, both from the busy-ness standpoint and from the general good feelings that come from people reaching out to you for your expertise and knowledge.  I had been wanting to rebuild my business efforts for the last several years, but I put my focus in the wrong places.  In that process, I took classes in marketing, I learned a ton about website management, I met people that gave me valuable advice about building a brand and crafting an image, and I spent countless hours stalking people online that knew more than I did about promoting an image or an idea.  Meanwhile, working for a large group of real estate buyers all at one time taught me so much about how I want to approach being a broker.  I really do love it, as far as a job goes, even with the stress and pressure and emotions and all things considered.  Admittedly I stumbled into a lot of the education I got in the last couple years, whether it be work-related or life-related, but now it's time to sharpen my pencil and dive in to all of these new opportunities.  I want to make All of what I learned while working for others is just waiting for me to apply to what I have on the horizon.

What exactly ARE those things on the horizon??  Hopefully some of it is focused on meeting new clients and helping more people find a perfect home.  I had first thought I only wanted to work with people looking for investments or fixer-uppers, but last fall I realized that I just like all houses, all searches, all clients.  I love learning about a new family and their plans, and putting the puzzle together with them.  Did I mention I love puzzles, too?  With tests, they are top 10.  So challenge #1 is to get my name out there to people looking for an agent.  I also want to expand out of my local town, because really all of Chicagoland interests me.  I've lived on the North Shore, in Lakeview, in Downer's Grove, and spent a ton of time around my husband's office in West Town/Fulton Market - everywhere I am involves time researching the market and the trends there, its just what I do and I can't help it.  My recent house hunting put me into several more neighborhoods, too, and this fits so well into my constant desire to research new places.  Part of my new partnership with my friend revolves around fine-tuning the property search process, too, so the more clients I have, the more opportunities I will have to perfect that aspect of the business. 

Client real estate work will hopefully a large part of my time this year, but there will still be time for work that originates from home.  First up is the lovely find in the photos to the left - after searching high and low, from downtown to Barrington Hills and everywhere in between, we settled on this prairie style-ish home as the first fixer of our new venture.  So many more details of this one to come, but first we need to get our permits and such.  Having it close while we were out of the country was stressful enough, so a few photo teasers is all I need to share for now!

The last 'big' part of the picture 2018 already has painted for me is the hope that we might actually be able to design and build our next house.  As a pair of architects, my husband and I can't NOT do it.  The biggest hurdle will be us selling our current home, efforts to that end failed last year, and we took it off the market last fall.  This will be a big test of what i've learned about marketing as well - I understand that nothing in real estate is a guarantee, but I am hopeful that the updates we are working on at the moment, as well as a new approach to the photography, and me listing it myself as opposed to hiring someone (that whole put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is thing...) will help put us over the edge and get it sold.  Its so sad to think of selling this house after all the years and sweat and tears we have put into it, but DAMN the plans we are working on are so inspiring to me.  More to come on that as well, once the lot is closed and the house hits the market.  I know this could crash and burn so completely, but I have to try - I can't live comfortably much longer without the chance to design my own home.  It's also complete BS that my dad isn't here to help with it.  None of this will be easy, but I am not afraid to share these challenges with anyone who might find them interesting.  Please do comment or contact me if you would like to know more, or work with me on your own challenges related to all things home-related.