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That thing I want to do when I grow up......

Posted Oct 04 2009 9:03pm
Wow, the summer months have just whirled and twirled by leaving me in a cloud of dust facing fall wondering where all the time went. To back up a little, back in June my husband had just come home from the hospital, and we were trying to decide how we were going to get up on our feet again. Owning a construction company doesn't allow for too many sick days, much less a complete halt to business for weeks at a time, but that's exactly what happened to us not just once but twice this summer when James became extremely ill. It certainly did make us examine our priorities more closely and lit a fire under me to "do something".
I had been playing with different ideas of contributing more directly to our family business than just behind the scenes on the clerical and advertising side, and one day I made a definite decision. James came home, and I told him I had enrolled that day for six hours of classes starting in July for online real estate classes at the local community college, and in a short six week session I not only knocked those first six hours out, I added three more hours at the same time on campus! That was just the beginning of a crazy load I've been carrying since then, and for once in my life I love the classes enough to not care that I'll do as much in six weeks now as I used to do in four months the first time around in college. Ah, youth.

A few of the classes I've had so far are real estate law, contracts, agency, and marketing. Next week I'm going to the courthouse with my co-op class to watch foreclosure auctions. Later this month I'm going with my co-op class to a real estate expo that I'm really looking forward to attending.... and to think the last time I was attending an expo at the same place with maybe a *little* more excitement was for the Bridal Extravaganza in 2005. My professor is really cool and has invited James to come along for field trips and to visit the co-op class anytime, and he came with me to class last week. He's going on both field trips which will be a great chance for him to network himself with Realtors.

Getting into real estate has been an idea forming for several years. We've met and worked with many Realtors through my husband's business, and James has occasionally mentioned I should consider it myself. I've always held back though because frankly the field intimidated me for several reasons, and my deafness was right smack dab at the top of the list. It was one of those careers I put nearly up there auditory-wise with singing on American Idol, flying a commercial aircraft, or waiting tables at Hooters (intimidating for more reasons than nerve damage!) Houston is quite a diverse city. I do well enough to read lips in person of accents I'm not familiar with, but to imagine taking calls from anyone I didn't know terrified me. Impossible. Ummm. No. Just no. Am I okay with it now? It's a work in progress, but it's not a firm no anymore... it's not a hopping up and down enthusiastic yes either. It's one of those things that is just tricky right now. I don't have all the answers yet, but I know there will be answers, and that somehow this is all do-able.

So there we were in June pondering what we were going to be when we grew up, or at least I was. I thought about going back to school for a masters in counseling, but in the back of my mind was this dream of selling houses or finding houses for a happy buyer, and there was the thought that maybe with my improving auditory skills I might be able to do this... maybe. I just could not let the thought go for anything. Yes, as people like to remind me, this housing market is lousy at the moment, but it's a great market for investors...and the market is not going to be bad forever. By the time the market bounces back, all the new kids will be jumping on the bandwagon and signing up for real estate classes. I'd rather learn the business now when times are tough and be ahead of the game by the time the new competition comes along.

Something else that all these classes have helped me realize is that Houston is just enormous with so many possible angles of real estate to explore in the future, and I don't have to decide right now. I'm just happy that I have these ideas to mull over. Just last week in class we talked more in depth about real estate mediation, and I must admit that grabbed my attention for down the road... maybe a way I can tie in counseling and real estate together one day? Who knows? I also have a great teacher that reminds me how much I once loved teaching for the sake of teaching.... She has so much joy. Maybe when I have a few years of experience I might want to teach again? So thinking along those lines I decided to shoot for the associate degree in real estate to be more well-rounded and *hopefully* I will be able to finish the classes for it by this spring, but I'll be taking the state licensing test most likely next month because I will have the required classes for the license done very soon. I also have a great husband who just wants me to get my feet wet the first year and just network for our company through contacts I make in the real estate field. The ideas are endless.

I'm so busy with the ridiculous amount of classes I've piled on myself that I have barely had time to stop and think how I'm going to pull this off or worry about my confidence level. I know I need more tools to succeed in this business. I have a new cell phone (my first!!!), but that particular phone is not strong enough for me to have a detailed conversation with someone I don't know regarding business. I have a lot of research to do to figure out how to use technology to my advantage to make up for some of my weaker areas. Just the idea that I'm doing something now that I've wanted to do for a long time but never thought I'd have the confidence to do is really exhilarating.

I'm grateful that having a cochlear implant has opened the door to this idea, but I know that deep down I probably had the ability to pull it off all along and could have found a way to do it. The cochlear implant makes it easier though to work with the hearing public. Of course, I especially hope I can work with the deaf community. From my research there doesn't seem to be any other deaf real estate agents in Houston. I'm also grateful that I grew up watching my aunt, Pam, work her way to the top in Chattanooga as a top Realtor. She is a great role model. I remember years ago when she just started taking classes and now when I drive home I see her on billboards! She's really awesome and a great inspiration!

So... stay tuned... more to come soon. :)
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