Happy Friday from Beautiful Bend, OR

So this was the view out my kitchen window yesterday afternoon….

Snow viewIt almost captures how big and beautiful the snow flakes were!  A lovely spring storm rolled into our area, starting  about 630 a.m., and another bout right when Eliza was supposed to play a tennis match in the afternoon.  It was called off, so we rushed home to light the fire and get warm again.

We live in this nice quiet neighborhood in NE Bend and while it’s been an adjustment to live in the city, it’s been fun to have neighbors. It took us 6 months of looking while we were on the trip to find this rental, and we were so grateful!  Dan & Nate were at the bottom of the Grand Canyon when I got the email that we’d been approved.  Eliza and I then had to find wifi on the North Rim strong enough to send an email back.  We’ll never forget it.

Here’s what it looks like today!  Minus the hordes of kids who are usually outside playing. Typical spring in paradise – cold, snowy, sunny – all in one day.  Monday to be 82 degrees!

Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


My 1st Friend to Trust Me

I started my real estate career on August 5, 2015.  Yesterday I attended the document/closing appointment with my dear friend, Lisa, my first friend to trust me with her real estate needs.  It’s not that my friends don’t love me, it’s just that they are not sure I know what I’m doing. And they’ve said so to my face!

But Lisa has been in the mortgage industry for years, and she knows that I have a whole team of mentors who advise me on any part of a transaction.  I value their real estate expertise, their availability for questions, and their kindness.

I value Lisa more.  She got the ball rolling and helped me to go through the process with her as a client, and not lose our friendship.  She knew that I was always working FOR HER, and that the paycheck is incidental to what she was looking for in a home. And we found her a beautiful one. Which she gets to enjoy for years to come!

Yesterday, she received the cake below, her first of many closing gifts that I’ve found for her.  I wanted her to know that this melt-in-your-mouth cake means “thank you for trusting me”, and I told her.  Sweetness all around.




My first pending real estate listing!

SLJ Pending sign pictureOkay, could that picture be any larger?!  My Dad took it in front of my Albany Avenue listing a few days after it went pending.  I was (and still am) proud that I found a buyer for the kindest seller’s ever – they really deserved to have a good transaction – and it has been!   It should close this week.

I woke up this morning, on this lovely Monday morning of our time change, and my first thought was “I cannot wait to work today”!  I just love helping people beyond all.  Getting to use my brain is a bonus,and getting to use my past finance career is a double bonus and makes all those boring years worth it.  And now I might be able to start earning a living for my family and my husband can retire again!  Woohoo, it’s a good day here in Bend.


My 1st six months as a “newbie” Real Estate Broker in Bend, Oregon!

Whew, that was a fast six months!  Today is another 15 hour day and I’m exhausted, but I want to write down my thoughts now so I won’t forget how incredible this six months has been.

I started on August 5th, six days after arriving back home from our 19 month RV trip around the USA and parts of Canada.  I was so happy to be back in my beloved Bend, and thrilled to be seeing family and friends again.  I was relaxed, refreshed and ready to hit my new real estate career hard.

Which I’ve done!  I’m ALL IN in every aspect.  I spent two weeks setting up my technology life and learning all the new systems.  I went from traveling and asking my teenagers to figure out details on the Mac for me, to having to do it all for myself.  I asked tons of questions of anyone nearby and I smile when I remember all the mistakes I made.  I miss my assistants from my former professional life more than I can articulate.  I’ve read 11 real estate books, taken 16 classes and 11 webinars, and read countless articles to get up to speed.

But the beauty of working at Fred Real Estate, by far the best company in Bend, is that I get to run my own business, my way.  It’s not a corporate structure with a top-down, shareholder driven mentality.  Fred & Keeley started the company in 2008 and it has had phenomenal growth and success for everyone involved, with happy clients in abundance.  When I was deciding who to interview with, I read  “Our philosophy is simple: work hard for our clients, and have fun. We pride ourselves in saving our clients money while providing an exceptional real estate experience” on the website and knew I had to go meet with Fred.  My notes say, “wow, is he real?!”  and “could make my dream come true here” and “clients first”.  I chose the best company in Bend.

While I’m happy to be working in a great atmosphere with other dedicated professionals, I’m also exhausted.  It has taken every bit of energy and drive I have to start my business from scratch on a positive, ethical, client-driven note.  I’ve always said that parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but now I believe being a real estate broker is harder.  “It’s crazy” is what I keep telling people, and here’s why:

  • I fired some of my first clients because they wormed their way into a home they loved, even though they’d seen it before, the owner had a medical treatment that day, and I was on the other side of town waiting to show them the house we had the scheduled appointment for.
  • People lie.  I thought I was done with that aspect because I was no longer loaning them money, but it’s even worse with real estate.  And yet I find out.
  • I’ve laughed harder than I ever did as a banker. (Even when I was playing practical jokes on people.) Spending time with other realtors and lenders who know how insane this business is makes it enjoyable.  The stories they can tell, wow.
  • Prospective clients think I’m dumb because I’m new to the business, and I’ve had several explain to me basic terms: mortgage, HOA, loan locks; I find it funny.
  • One man wanted me to find a house for he and his wife to buy, but then confided that he was going to divorce her and the house was just for him, and did I “need to tell her?” “No, but you do” was my reply.
  • I’ve been hung up on and cussed out when calling to thank them for signing up on my website. (realestatesally.com)
  • I’ve received the best advice from other experienced brokers. It’s a gift.
  • I knew that money made people emotional, but add their HOME to it, and you can multiply it by a thousand.  I call the process a roller coaster and tell clients I’m here to help with the ride, with all the details, and we’re all going to have fun.
  • I’ve become a referral source for more than just real estate related people – plumbers, electricians, handymen – but also for dentists, doctors, lawyers, schools, shopping, restaurants, vets, pedicures.   I’m happy to track down anyone they need, but I’ve been surprised by some of the requests.
  • I’ve shown houses and spent hours with clients who suddenly disappear and don’t return phone calls and emails, only to find out they’ve found a for sale by owner and cut me out. Without even a by-your-leave!
  • I missed my son’s first wrestling match to help a client who insisted on seeing the house that night, only to have her say on the way out the door, “well, I really need to come back tomorrow and see it in the daylight”.  Grr, wasn’t that my suggestion?
  • I’ve played ping pong at work and had a beer while I played = rough life.
  • I showed a house to client who said they wanted to write an offer.  I couldn’t get the key out of the door and by the time I met them 15 minutes later, they had changed their minds.  (Probably saved time in the long run.)
  • I’ve shoveled snow off driveways, steps and porches just to be able to show houses.
  • I wrote an offer on Thanksgiving and would have written one on Christmas if the listing agent had gotten back to me.  Definitely not banker’s hours.
  • I’ve met clients who will be lifelong friends.
  • I can recite the history of Bend, Mt. Bachelor and the brew pub route in my sleep.  It used to be that people asked about skiing, then it was golf, then it was brew pubs, now it’s recreational marijuana.  (Are we evolving or going backward?)
  • I’ve been stalked by a dirty old man who saw my picture and thought that gave him the right to be inappropriate.  I don’t need a sale that bad; he’s blocked.
  • I’ve shown homes to clients and had to apologize for the state they were in – I wouldn’t let my dogs live in them and yet they are for sale. In one home, the client and I were careful not to touch anything and we were laughing the whole time.

I’m sure I’ll remember more funny or frustrating instances later, but those are the first that come to mind.  And some I’m not going to share because I don’t want to get sued,ha.

More important than anything, however, is the internal reward I’ve gotten for helping people.  One of the main reasons I went into this crazy business was to help people again, and it’s so worth all the pain to be able to do so.  Last Friday, it took me 23 emails, texts and phone calls to track down and get a deed recorded so I could hand over the keys to my very first client. I was not going to make her wait until Monday, as many suggested.  It was an incredible feeling to see her step into her home and smile  – and to know that I helped get her the home that she’s going to enjoy for years to come.  Me, the newbie, closed her first transaction in 6 months!











1st Blog of My New Life!

IMG_3036First, a little catch up:

We’ve been home 6 weeks now, after the end of our epic 588 day RV Adventure around the country.  I couldn’t be happier.  The first few days were an “out of body” experience because we’d experienced so much, and yet here we were,  driving roads that hadn’t changed and seeing friends we’d missed for so long.

We drove into Bend at noon and were dismayed to experience yet another debacle with a campsite. How ironic on our last one!  Actually, the site they gave us was a parking space and didn’t even have room for the cars, so we had to work with them to get one barely big enough,  pictured above.   We camped at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds because it was close to our storage unit, and the fair was going on, so the kids would be able to go  with their friends.   As in, 4 hours after we arrived, they met their friends and we didn’t see them for 24 hours.  It’s an understatement to say how happy they were to be home with their friends and Dan and I knew we had made the right decision in coming back to Bend at the end of our adventure.

The kids weren’t the only ones who had fun, however.  Good friends Dave & Sue invited us to the America concert that night, and I quietly sang my way through all their oldies for a couple of hours.  So fun to get out and be with friends, but very strange to not be with the kids after all of our togetherness.  I wasn’t worried, it was just odd not to have them with us.


The next few days we packed up everything and made multiple trips to our storage unit.  We had gotten the big car out the first day, and way to build them Ford, with a little battery charge, it started right up and we were able to drive it.  Dave & Sue had checked on it for us earlier in the year and reported that the tires hadn’t gone flat, so we knew we could drive it.  We hadn’t even drained the fluids before we left.  Lucky us.

We couldn’t believe how well everything did in storage for the 19 months.  Our famous Central Oregon dust covered every surface, but there was no water damage or rodents.  Whew.  We also couldn’t believe how much stuff  there was. Stuff we hadn’t missed or needed for the whole trip.  It gave me a stomach ache because I knew we’d soon be touching every box again.  We’d gotten rid of all the big furniture before we left, but there was still way too much for 4 people!

IMG_3104Officially, our last RV picture.  Bittersweet.

So we moved into the Towne Suites Plaza Marriott for 3 weeks on a Tuesday, and Dan drove the RV over to Coburg to get the floor replaced.  It was difficult to move out of it and know that we’d never live in it again, or live on the road again with our kids.  We had planned and dreamed of our adventure for 10 years, and now it was over.  Over.  Ouch.  And Dan had found out during the trip that he didn’t want to RV in retirement as we had previously planned, so we were going to sell the rig.  Ouch.  I was in mourning for weeks.

IMG_3131But I found something even better to keep me out of trouble!  I started here on Wednesday, August 5th,  and if you were with me in person right now, I’d pull a Tom Cruise and jump up and down on the couch with abandon.  I AM SO HAPPY!  I finally found a career where I can help people every day, use my brain, and have fun in the process.  I picked the coolest, most tech progressive real estate company in Bend, and I feel blessed every day.   Everyone is a professional and believes, like me, that taking care of clients by providing excellent service is the most important factor in real estate.  There isn’t a detail that’s missed, and that includes our cool work space.  Pictured below is half of it.  Yes, that’s a pingpong table in the back, and those are bean bag chairs, too!  Not pictured is the keg in the back hallway that’s open 24/7 for employees and clients.  It’s an amazing atmosphere.

IMG_3618We don’t have dedicated offices; we just grab a work station whenever we come in.  We can work from home, our cars, Back Porch Coffee, wherever we want.  As independent contractors, we set our own hours and work however hard we would prefer.  There are two private conference rooms for client meetings and we’re located in an old building on the west side of Bend – very hip and tons going on around us.

IMG_3615Here’s Fred.  He’s a genius.  He started this company with his wife Keeley after years of working for other real estate firms and knowing that there was a better way to do it.  I’ll tell you more about them in posts to come because I am so proud and excited to be part of such a great firm.  For now, I need to run; I’ve got a client coming in!