The road less travelled…my journey to a career in real estate…by Melissa Verspeeten

Posted by Finally Home Team on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 10:44am.

I have never been a strong believer that formal education is for everyone. It certainly has its place, but I’ve seen so many of my friends complete college and university and still end up in a completely unrelated field. I knew early on I didn’t want to go to school without being sure of what I wanted to do. I knew that my career goals may change from when I was 17. I decided to take an accounting course and work a couple of jobs while I figured things out.

From the time I was a teenager I remember going through the real estate paper that came out every week and daydreaming about buying my first property. I spent a lot of time watching HGTV, and I knew that real estate was going to be a huge part of my life.

In 2003 I finally did it! I was 22 years old and I’d been working hard for several years. I managed to save a decent downpayment, it was a big day! Unfortunately the jobs I was working didn't pay well and the mortgage that I qualified for was laughable - but I didn’t care, this was it, I was buying a house!

I started browsing through my Realtor’s MLS book (yes, that was still a thing then) and I found a home that I knew I had to have. Years before it had been my Grandma’s home, I had great memories there and I wanted it badly. After viewing it, it was evident that the home had really been let go since the last time I’d been in it, nearly 15 years prior. But all I saw was potential and the best part, it was the cheapest house in Tillsonburg at the time which meant I could afford it!

We managed to negotiate the price down to a cool $70,000. I was totally clueless, but man was I excited! I went tearing in there on closing day, with my parents by my side, and started what would be the long road to completion.

For the months that followed I worked 8-5 at my “real job” then headed to the house with my Mom to demo (we tore out all the guts back to the studs), we insulated and put on vapour barrier. Eventually we got to a stage where we no longer had the skills to complete jobs required, which is where the real fun began - hiring contractors!

Some of the trades were amazing and I continue to use and recommend those companies to this day. But there were others that made my life a living hell. I needed things done yesterday so I was choosing the contractors that were available immediately, in hindsight not a good call. I can laugh about it now but at the time there seemed to be no end in sight. I doubted myself and my ability to get the project done. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the power of a vetted referral. On a side note, if you have a need for plumbers, electricians, painters, drywallers, etc I’ve now managed to cultivate a fabulous list. Give me a call!

I eventually ended up moving into the house, while it was in a chaotic mid-reno state. My thought being that if I was there 24/7 I’d be more available to get s#*t done. HAHA!

Long story long, I ended up getting it finished, it sold for 99.67% of asking in a few short weeks and I was able to put $50,000+ into my bank account on closing day. Not bad for a single girl in her twenties.

I have to give credit where credit is due, I never could have gotten through that project without the help and support of my family and friends. No schooling could have taught me all the life lessons I learned through actually doing that work and I went on to do 4 other similar projects before having kids.

Once the kids came along living in a partially renovated home was far less appealing. After having my oldest son and being able to spend my maternity leave at home with him I was dreading going back to the 9-5 job that I’d been at for 7 years.

I was back less than a month and Colin was witness to my nights spent crying because I felt like I was missing all of my son’s firsts and that made me miserable. He suggested that I look into getting my real estate license. It was something I’d checked into before but the idea of not having a regular paycheck, especially with a family, was terrifying. But he was ever so supportive and I knew with him by my side we’d be okay, so I QUIT!

I fast-tracked my way through and completed all the required courses in 5 months. Oh, and we also planned a wedding and got married in there too! I had a great family friend at one of the local real estate offices, but there was something about the way the Tillsonburg Century 21 office was ran that I knew it was the right place for me. I spoke with the manager and that is where my journey began!

The only thing I’ve ever regretted about getting into real estate sales is that I didn’t do it 10 years earlier, when I’d originally wanted to. If you’ve ever considered getting into it but have reservations or doubts or questions I’m happy to answer anything I can, please reach out anytime!

And if your dreams are of other things, do it! Life’s short, tomorrow is never guaranteed, do one thing today that gets you closer to the life you want.



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