Jon & Diana’s Home Story

Jon & Diana

Photo Shoot Courtesy of Photos by Amanda 

Each person comes to a real estate transaction from a different perspective based on their own motives and past experiences. Sometimes this means we dive into the real nitty gritty of why a new home is desired. While my clients are free to share with me as much or as little as they wish, my true intentions are to help them get a great deal and a quality investment in housing that coincides with where they are in life (and where they plan to be in 5 to 10 years).

When Jon and Diana approached me about selling their house, I knew that it was a much needed step for them. They had simply outgrown their last home and needed an upgrade fast! I was thrilled that they chose me to assist them in them not only in the sale, but also in the purchase of their new home. It can be so much easier to use the same agent for both transactions to help coordinate the deadlines on contingencies and the closing dates.

After closing, I did an interview with this terrific couple. Here’s a little insight into their latest home journey…

What do you love most about living in the Des Moines metro area?

Jon – I appreciate the reasonable cost of living, family-friendly atmosphere, and Midwestern culture.

Diana – I love that Des Moines has all the positive things that a bigger city has to offer such as restaurants, plenty of parks, and entertainment for both kids and adults. Most neighborhoods have a “small town” feel to them.

Imagine for a moment that you could live anywhere in the world. Describe this dream home setting.

Jon – My family and I would live in a small cottage by the sea in coastal Italy.

Diana – There are many places that I would love to visit out of the country, but don’t know if I would necessarily want to live there. Within the U.S., I would love to have a large house with many rooms for visitors in the Rocky Mountains.

What do you appreciate most about your new home as compared to your old home?

Jon – There is considerably greater living space in the new home. I also appreciate the fact that we are further away from the commotion of the city.

Diana – The space and layout is a much better fit for our growing family. I love that all the bedrooms are on one level. It gives me much more peace of mind as a parent.

One Happy Girl!
If  you were to pick a favorite space in your new home, which would it be and why?

Jon – Both of us would immediately respond with “the kitchen”!

Diana – The kitchen, for sure. It was designed perfectly for the whole family and guests to all be in the same space at the same time. We recently hosted Thanksgiving at our house and we were all in the kitchen either preparing food or sitting around the table and it wasn’t crowded! That would have never happened in our old home.

Are there good memories of home from your childhood that you try to incorporate into your home life today?

Jon – Being able to watch our kids have space to play and run brings back memories of my childhood.

Diana – Eating around the table as a family has always been so important to me and we have incorporated that tradition in our home since the girls were born. There was always a sense of “togetherness” in my family growing up and our new home has many different rooms that we can all be “together” in.

At the Kitchen Table
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?

Jon – Diana would likely buy an original Bob Ross and hang it in the living room.

Diana – It is a toss-up between a wall to wall library, or a full-size basketball court.

What were your must-have items in a home and did your criteria change during the process?

Jon – We were simply looking for more space, and we got exactly what we needed in this home.

Diana – More space was one of the biggest must-haves for me as we were quickly outgrowing our little starter home. I also really wanted to be in a safe, quiet neighborhood. There were a couple of other preferences that I had that I was willing to let go if we couldn’t find a home with them, but the first two were very important to me and didn’t really change through the process.

What advice would you offer to a first-time homebuyer who is just getting started?

Jon – Understand your budget and research the taxes of areas in which you are interested in purchasing a home.

Diana – I would say trust the process but more importantly, trust your realtor and trust The Lord. We went into this not knowing much of anything about buying and selling a home, but knowing it would all work out in the end even if it wasn’t quite what we had expected. We trusted David’s advice and expertise and trusted that the Lord would place us where He wanted.

Proud Homeowners
For each of you… How many places have you lived? Describe the most interesting one…

Jon – I have lived in only one other house as an adult. The prior home was a wonderful old home in which we raised two young children.

Diana – I have lived in two dorm rooms, seven houses, and one apartment. The most interesting house was one that I lived in out of college with five other women and one bathroom. Although I think my husband has me beat as I know he once lived in a house with 13 or so guys.

When Is Spring Coming?
What qualities do you value most when choosing a real estate agent?

Jon – The most important qualities are honesty and forthrightness. I appreciate a realtor who honestly has his or her client’s best interest, but also is honest enough to communicate information that their client may not appreciate but needs to hear. David displayed both of these qualities.

Diana – We really value integrity and trustworthiness the most when choosing and working with a real estate agent. David proved to have those qualities and more throughout the whole process. There was a fair amount of negotiating on one end of the process that we did not anticipate, but David’s negotiating skills and ability to communicate with us and everyone involved were invaluable to us being able to move forward!

Bonus question for each… Can you provide my readers with a favorite cost-saving tip/trick from your household?

Jon – Buy in bulk, especially if you have children.

Diana – The one off the top of my head is to save leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps to make homemade stock. We have found quite a few recipes that use stock as a base or a thickener and we don’t have to use heavy cream! Win, win!

Jon and Diana were awesome to work with and I’m so glad to see them settled into a home that suits them well. While we need to learn to be content with what we have, sometimes an upgrade is in order! If you are looking to buy or sell a home, I’d love to hear from you!

Mitch & Beth’s Home Story

Photo Shoot Courtesy of Photos by Amanda 

     Working in real estate, I assist people in all different stages of life and in diverse situations. This can make my job challenging at times. However, this couple’s latest home journey was not one of those times! Let me introduce you to Mitch and Beth, some of the kindest people you could meet in Des Moines! I had worked with Mitch on the purchase of his last home just a couple of years ago (before he was married). Boy, have things changed for him and for the good!

Fast forward to the summer of 2018… Mitch and Beth are married and they have a baby on the way (oh and a cute little dog of course)! When they first contacted me about a house they were interested in, I was happy to get them in for a tour right away. Rarely do my clients look at only one home before buying. So, I suggested they check out some new construction homes for comparison. We ended up looking at just one other home and that was enough. Mitch and Beth knew exactly what they wanted and I was eager to help them achieve it. So, back to the first home… it seemed like love at first site for them and now it was just a matter of getting their old home sold. We listed their home and had it sold the first day with multiple offers! A quick closing and an easy move (easy for me anyway), and they are settled in… awaiting the days for their bundle of joy to arrive!

After closing, I did an interview with this terrific couple. Here’s a little insight into their latest home journey…

mg_8926-copy.jpg
What things do you love most about living in the Des Moines metro area?

Beth – I grew up in a small town so I love all that Des Moines has to offer for night life, entertainment, family friendly activities, the list goes on and on.

Mitch – Des Moines has a big city feel (arts, entertainment, food and sports) without all of the big city hassles (traffic, crime, pollution, etc.).

Imagine for a moment that you could live anywhere in the world. Describe this dream home setting.

Beth – Definitely on a beach along the East coast.

Mitch – While I am happy where we are now, I would love to have a home someday on a lake in the mountains.

You’ve reached a new rung on your housing ladder… what are some positive outcomes you are expecting?

Beth – Hosting more family or friend gatherings with the extra space we have now.

Mitch – I look forward to settling down and establishing roots in our new neighborhood.

_MG_8957 - Copy

If  you were to pick a favorite space in your new home, which would it be and why?

Beth – It’s a toss up between the kitchen or covered patio. The kitchen has so much storage space and I feel the kitchen is sometimes the focal spot of a house. The covered patio is a perfect hang out on those ideal nights, although as we know from living in Iowa, those are hard to come by. Which is why the fan is great for those warmer nights.

Mitch – My favorite space in our new house is our back deck. It’s perfect for reading, entertaining, grilling and quality family time on a nice day.

Are there good memories of home from your childhood that you try to incorporate into your home life today?

Beth – We always sat down to have dinner as a family around the table so that has always been something I want to do with our family.

Mitch – I had a lot of good memories growing up and want to provide my family the opportunities and stability that I was fortunate enough to have as a child.

_MG_8913 - Copy

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?

Beth – Without a doubt, he would build a theater room in the basement. That has always been something he’s wanted in a home.

Mitch – New furniture, decorations and her own master bathroom!

What motivated you to start looking at homes and what were your must-have items?

We are expecting our first child in January so with our growing family, we were wanting a home with more space and bedrooms. A three car garage was also a must!

What advice would you offer to a first-time homebuyer who is just getting started?

Beth – Make a list of your must haves and wants. It can be overwhelming going into house hunting so being prepared before you start looking can help relieve some of the stress of looking for a home.

Mitch – Take your time and don’t rush into a house. Know the market and make sure that you find the right home, in the right neighborhood at the right price.

_MG_8935 - Copy

For each of you… How many places have you lived? Describe the most interesting one…

Beth – My hometown of Toledo, IA and Des Moines. I have not lived outside of Iowa. Coming from a small town, the “big” city of Des Moines was overwhelming at first but now I can’t see myself moving back to a small rural town. The amenities Des Moines has to offer and how easily accessible they are have definitely sucked me in.

Mitch – I have had the opportunity to live in different places across the Midwest and East coast (Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, and West Virginia). While each place was unique in its own way, they helped me realize how special Des Moines is.

_MG_8868 - Copy

What qualities do you value most when choosing a real estate agent?

Beth – Someone who is personable, flexible, and is willing to be honest with us if we are being unrealistic with our search.

Mitch – We wanted an agent who put our best interest as a seller/buyer in front of their own. It was important that we found someone who was knowledgeable and could make the process as easy and seamless as possible. David Charlson checked all the boxes and we could not have been more satisfied!

Bonus question for each… Imagine if for one month you had to give up your cell phone, cable TV, or your home internet, which would it be and why?

Beth – Cable TV. With a baby on the way, I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of time I spend on my phone and watching TV. I find myself mindlessly watching TV often when I could be doing something productive around the house.

Mitch – I would give up cable television. Instead of coming home and watching our favorite television shows, it would give us an opportunity to have more quality family time.

It’s rewarding for me to see Mitch and Beth settled in their new home (which they have done up so nicely)! While not everyone’s real estate transaction may go this smoothly, the end result could be just as sweet! If you are looking to buy or sell a home, I’d love to hear from you!

Andy & Alison’s Home Story


Whitaker (119) copy
Photo Shoot Courtesy of Photos by Amanda 

     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.

Whitaker (11) copy

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!

Whitaker (16) copy

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.

Whitaker (106) copy

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.

Whitaker (51) copy

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 david@prometrorealty.com. I’d love to hear from you!