Andy and I first met through my days as a property manager at an apartment complex in West Des Moines. Some of my best tenants were the ones I didn’t hear from much. Not because I didn’t want to talk with them, but mostly because they paid their rent on time and didn’t have any maintenance issues. I would say Andy fell into this category.
I later would meet up with Andy again at our church. Although there are many members at our church and many services, it is nice to be able to connect with people you may know from around town. It makes Des Moines feel a little smaller. It was great to see Andy get married to a terrific lady, Alison. At their wedding, I never thought I’d be helping them find a home together a short time later. I was thrilled that they chose me to work with them and I think the end result is picture perfect!
Andy and Alison were dream clients to work with. They seemed to like so many homes and were so positive throughout the process. I felt the need to point out things that they may not have noticed in a home… such as floors that may need refinishing, shoddy windows, peeling paint, or deferred maintenance. They were sure of one thing; they did not want a house that needed a lot of maintenance. I can definitely understand that, having spent many weekends fixing up my first house on the east side. Not much is more stressful to a newly married couple than to take on a bunch of projects that seem to never end! The home they purchased really seems to suit them well and is well-maintained.
I interviewed Andy and Alison to find out what their motivations were for moving and to see if they were both on the same page. This is a good exercise for anyone who is considering a move. Many times we may not fully understand the motives behind our desires to do something. You might ask yourself, “What am I really trying to achieve here? What is my end-goal or how will this help fulfill a specific purpose?” While the questions I posed do not necessarily answer these questions, they might get a conversation going. The following is a little insight into Andy’s and Alison’s motivations for moving…
What things do you love most about living in the Des Moines metro area?
Alison – I love living in a city in Iowa that has a lot of young professionals and an international population. I’ve met tons of great people at my church, at my job, and in the community.
Andy – I love the people in Des Moines and love that we have such a fun environment with a low cost of living. We have a great group of friends, have a great church, and love our jobs. Des Moines really has it all, but I think it starts with the wonderful people.
How would you describe your ideal home location? This does not have to be a realistic possibility.
Alison – I’d like a residential area with lots of trees and flowers and interesting houses and parking, but still walking distance from restaurants and businesses. I don’t want it to be too quiet… I like cars driving by and kids playing outside.
Andy – My ideal environment is quiet enough for me to read or concentrate on projects I’m working on, but still lively enough that I can walk out of my door and there are plenty of activities I can engage in.
What does having a home allow you to accomplish?
It allows us to put our money into something we own instead of paying rent.
Which room in your home do you plan to get all set up first and why?
Alison – It’s a tie between the kitchen (because we have to eat) and the bedroom (because we have to sleep).
Andy – I look forward to setting up my office first because I spend most of my time there.
Are there good memories of home from your childhood that you will try to incorporate into creating a home environment today?
Alison – I loved sitting by the fireplace on winter evenings, so I’m excited to have a fireplace! I also look forward to making holiday memories in our new house. The living room is big enough for the giant Christmas tree we bought on Craigslist!
For each of you and without discussing… If you came across $10,000 to invest in your home, what do you think your spouse would do with the money?
Alison – I think Andy would upgrade all the kitchen appliances, and then with the leftover money, he would buy more kitchen appliances.
Andy – Alison would definitely finish the basement. Definitely.
What criteria was most important to you when you started looking at homes? Did your criteria change throughout the process?
Our big picture prayer was that God would give us a home that met our needs, that allowed us to be a blessing to others, and that we would love. We also had a short checklist of other must-haves, like having at least three bedrooms and a garage of some sort. Price was a big consideration too. I don’t think we changed much on our must-have criteria, although some of our other preferences changed a bit as we went along.
What advice would you offer to a first-time homebuyer who is just getting started?
Pray and trust God. We started looking for houses in a really competitive market, meaning most of our decisions had to be made within a few hours of first viewing a house. The first house we made an offer on was only on the market for about a day and had fifteen offers on it by that evening. As we made decisions so quickly, we prayed that God would intervene by closing doors on the wrong houses for us, and by keeping the right house open until we had a chance to pursue it. The house we ended up purchasing was the third house we offered on, and we believe God answered that prayer.
For each of you… How many places have you lived? Describe the most interesting one…
Alison – I’ve moved every couple of years since I was 18, so I have no idea how many places I’ve lived. They’ve all been interesting! Just before I got married last year, I was renting a room in my friend’s house (“The Mansion”) that was built in the late 1800s and had amazing front porches on both levels. That was a fun house to live in.
Andy – For me, the most interesting place has been the apartment we have been living in for our first year of marriage until we purchased this first home. It is an old house (over 100 years old) that has been converted into three apartments with one apartment for each floor. Each unit has a separate entrance, but there’s something unique and communal about sharing a large home. Between having Iraqi neighbors upstairs, a laid-back, self-employed web entrepreneur on the top floor, and a neighbor living in a small, unattached unit off of our parking lot, it was a fun and interesting environment with great people we have loved a lot.
What qualities do you value most when choosing a real estate agent?
We think the most important thing is integrity. We wanted someone we could trust to be honest and keep our best interests in mind. We were really thankful to work with David, because we knew we could trust him.
Bonus question for each… If you find a huge spider crawling across the floor, what do you do?
Alison – Kill it with a Kleenex. Dispose in trash can (if dead) or flush down toilet (if only mostly dead).
Andy – Kill him. Or not kill him. Depends how far away he is.
I really enjoyed working with Andy and Alison and I’d take ten more clients just like them! Their new home has so much character that you can’t find in newer homes. I’m sure they will be happy there for many years to come!
If you are looking to get started on your next real estate journey, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!