Andrew & Carissa’s Home Story

Photo Shoot Courtesy of Photos by Amanda 

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…

Adorable Family!
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.

Hanging Around the Playground
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.

Busy Dad!
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.

You Talking to Me?
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.

Center of Attention
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.

Playground Included… Bring the Fun!
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!

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!