Amina, what do you do?
Real estate—the phrase means different things depending on who you ask. Telling people “I’m in real estate” is not quite the same as saying “I teach middle school math.” I wonder if people have a specific idea of what it means and whether it is different from the ideas of others.
But that’s another story. Let me begin by first sharing the story of how I got into real estate and why it has already become one of my greatest passions…
My first passion, being a mentor to younger kids.
Growing up I took part in many activities: Girl Scouts, dancing, basketball, and 4H to name a few. The commonality between the activities was the opportunity to later mentor younger kids in those same activities. I really enjoyed this because it felt like I was actually able to make their experiences even better and as a child I always admired the older kids and loved interacting with them. To this day I attend the same dance performance I grewup performing in and reminiscing with the kids I used to read to and play with backstage.
Two of the girls who performed in this years performance of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, both of whom I used to read and play backstage with.
The logical path seemed to be to pursue teaching: I enjoy mentoring, why not make it a full time gig? What could be better then helping the younger generations develop and grow? Going into education sounded rewarding and right up my alley. So my senior year of high school I applied to Seattle University and was accepted into their Humanities and Teaching program, which exposed me to teaching kindergarten to 8th grade, with my favorite definitely being 6th grade math. Some days were more difficult than others; figuring out classroom management while getting the lesson across proved to be a trying task for me, but it was rewarding when the students began to engage more and I could see them comprehend difficult concepts. However about half way through my time at SU I discovered while working with kids is a passion of mine, teaching just wasn’t fulfilling my dreams.
Reevaluating my vocation
Back to real estate. How does one go from a four year degree studying to become a teacher to thinking real estate is the way to go? Well, in my Junior year of college I was pretty tired of renting and it felt like I wasn’t doing myself any favors by postponing the inevitable. I love Seattle and I knew I wanted to live here so why not invest in my home? I started looking for houses in 2014 and it was a crazy hot market–there was no way I was going to get anything half-way decent and within my price range (a constant reminder by EVERYONE on my journey to find my house). I ended up putting an offer on the very first house I saw (my mother thought this was insanity). I didn’t get it, got bid out by an all cash offer, and had to continue the hunt with my long time family friend and now business partner, Kathy Moeller. We put it an offer on two more houses and lost both of them. Then we finally lucked out. She showed me a house and I got it by using my great grandfather’s lucky numbers (he loved the number 13 so any numbers that when you combined them added to 13 he found to be lucky). You see real estate actually runs in the family: Great Grandpa Burke invested in real estate in Fremont during the Depression when that was considered a fool’s errand. Our family now owns over triple of what he first owned and I truly believe he was guiding me when we put in that offer for that home.
My first home on Dibble Ave
Family. Another reason to try my hand at real estate. I wanted to try and see if I could bring value to the family business and tap into something I could potentially be good at. But that’s another story for another post 😉
When I say I’m in real estate I mean I help buy and sell residential and commercial properties and help clients find apartments to rent, advise on how much you can rent your space for, do interior design work, staging, tenant communications, 1031 exchanges, investment properties and everything in between that goes into any of these processes. My goal is to help people with this huge financial step and yes, real estate isn’t a guarantee and you can count on the market to fluctuate and go in cycles. That’s just how it works and while it can be scary, it is also exciting. There are times owning a home can be hard-like when you discover you have to replace the roof or the furnace or some other astronomical expense-but ultimately it is still rewarding to know you are investing in yourself: the place you live or work is yours to do what you want with. For me, the greatest excitement is being able to tell my clients that they are getting the keys to their house or that they can tap into the equity they have built and are able to move on to the next chapter in their lives.
I hope you enjoy going on this journey with me. I have a lot of stories to tell about the different facets of real estate, as well as tips and tricks of the trade but I am also very open to feedback about what YOU are most interested in reading about.
Until next time,