I met Andrew and Carissa at a listing of mine while they were out house hunting. Like so many people I meet, they were thinking of making a housing change but needed some help. This couple knew they needed more space and they were certainly headed in the right direction. We were able to get their home listed and sold very quickly and also found the perfect upgrade for them in a reasonable amount of time. Everything went so smoothly with this family and it was a joy to work with them!
After closing, I did an interview with Andrew and Carissa. Here’s a little insight into their latest home journey…
What do you love most about living in the Des Moines metro area?
Carissa – I love being close to just about everything. I grew up in a very small town where if you wanted to go shopping you had to drive 30 minutes or more. So to be 5-10 minutes from a grocery store or mall is great. I also love how I can take my kids to a different park every day so they can’t really be bored.
Andrew- I think the size is pretty ideal. There are plenty of activities and opportunities for families, without being ridiculously dense and expensive like Manhattan or San Francisco.
If you could change anything about Des Moines, what would it be?
Andrew – I would tone down the humidity in the summer and shorten the winter.
Carissa – I’m not sure how to change it but better traffic flow during rush hour traffic so it didn’t take me as long to get the kids to school.
For each of you… If you were to pick a favorite space in your new home, which would it be and why?
Carissa – I think it would be either our backyard or our master bedroom. The backyard because it’s fenced in so our kids can go outside and play anytime they want; Our bedroom because it’s so big and it’s the best place to go after chasing the kids around all day to just kick back and relax.
Andrew – I love the backyard. The grass is in great shape, it is fenced in and private, and the kids have plenty of room to run and play. Inside the house, the master suite is amazing. We have so much room compared to our last home.
Are there traditions from your childhood that you try to incorporate into your home life today?
Andrew – We all eat together in the dining room where there is no TV. When the kiddos get older, I’m sure we’ll institute some rule about no phones.
Carissa – Eating together as a family and just talking about our day around the dining table was always important in my family growing up and as our kids get older, I enjoy hearing them tell their dad about what we did as we eat.
If you could invite a celebrity, politician, or fictional character over for dinner, who would it be and what would you serve?
Andrew – Politicians are snakes, so they won’t be getting the invite. I would invite Mother Theresa. I admire her life’s work, and she would be fascinating to listen to. As for the food, I’d opt for something on the grill.
For each of you and without discussing… If you came across $20,000 to invest in your home, what do you think your spouse would do with the money?
Andrew – She’d do some work in the kitchen including new counter tops.
Carissa – I think my husband would spend it on a 3-seasons porch.
What were your must-have items in a home and did your criteria change during the process?
Carissa – I needed to have a fenced in backyard for the kids to play in, a more open concept main floor, and more space in general.
Andrew – We definitely wanted a fenced-in backyard for the kids, and I just wanted more space. It was also important to stay moderately close to school and work. I’m also loving the three-car garage, but that wasn’t a must-have.
You are talking with a first-time home buyer… What do you tell them is the best thing about home ownership? The worst thing?
Andrew – The best thing about home ownership is not sharing walls and hallways like in an apartment. Plus, you’re building equity. The worst thing is that homes are unending money pits.
Carissa – The best thing is that you truly can do anything you want to make the space your own. The worst is that there is always something to be changed or fixed. As soon as you think everything is complete, the fridge will quit working.
For each of you… Describe the best or worst hotel you have ever stayed at.
Carissa – There was a trip to Florida we were on and I was pretty sure the elevator was going to trap us in it because it was so old and rickety. Then to top it off, we had to change rooms because the toilet in our bathroom stopped working properly.
Andrew – I have to travel for work, and I like the hotels in Vegas compared to other major U.S. Cities. Big rooms for cheap, plus it’s great to go there in the winter and see the sun. The Bellagio is my favorite so far.
What qualities do you value most when choosing a real estate agent?
Carissa – Honesty and patience. I tend to be an indecisive person and don’t like to make spur of the moment decisions. Also, with having four young kids, I needed someone willing to embrace the chaos of four extra helpers.
Andrew – Someone who is personable, knowledgeable, honest, and quick to respond to my questions.
Bonus question for each… If you had one extra hour every day, what would you do with the time?
Andrew – I’d spend it playing with the kids. If you were looking for a solo activity, I like working out in the yard, so it would be great to devote some extra time to landscaping and maintenance.
Carissa – Read! I love reading but hardly get to in this season of my life.
With so much housing information at your fingertips, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to navigate the process on your own. If you are a DIY kind of person, it’s enticing to think you can figure out your real estate transactions without a professional. But, hiring a professional agent doesn’t have to be expensive, so why take chances with your biggest asset? If you are looking to buy or sell a home, I’d love to hear from you!