Welcome to our blog! I am so excited to share my new company Stone & Acre Real Estate with you. I have always thrived in a collaborative environment where creative ideas come to life.
My love of real estate started 13 years ago when I bought my first home in east Austin. I was at a friend’s party in Westlake when I overheard a successful group of men talking about an up and coming area near the Holly Street power plant. The next day I began driving the streets looking for a home that I could afford. I was 8 months pregnant, deep in student loan debt, and on a mission to find a house for my family. I was devouring real estate books and learning that I should work toward buying a home with a zero down loan. I knew that if I could find an affordable house with good bones, I could pull this off. I met a realtor at an open house who advised me not to buy in that area because it was “unsafe”. I looked at a map and could see that it was a stones throw from downtown Austin, so I ignored her and decided to trust my gut and the wisdom of the men I had overheard at the party.
I drove the streets every day for three weeks and one morning I saw a realtor pulling a sign out of her car to place in a yard. I pulled the car over and jumped out. She told me that is was a bank owned foreclosure but needed some cosmetic work. I begged her to hold off on putting the sign in the yard and told her I would be sending an offer that morning. I ended up submitting an offer for less than asking price, which was accepted by the bank, and I qualified for a zero down loan. Getting approval for the loan was a nightmare because I had more debt than money, but those were the days of stated income loans. Miraculously the loan closed and I ended up having to bring only $119.23 to the closing. It was one of the proudest moment of my life, and little did I know, a moment that would change the trajectory of my personal and professional life. My mortgage was $50 more a month than I had been paying in rent and that was a stretch! I put $5000 on a home depot credit card to paint the graffiti off the inside of the house, replace a few fixtures and update the flooring.
I was in the 78702 zip code before there was even a coffee shop! I fell in love with my neighborhood and its rich culture. My neighbors were friendly and I enjoyed the convenience of being so close to downtown. Life was good. What happened next was interesting. The market picked up and homes in my neighborhood started selling like hot cakes. Every month I could see that my house was increasing in value. East Austin was being discovered and I began to see the writing on the wall. Following the advice of my favorite book, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, I started writing down my goals and setting my intentions. Manifesting my desires became a daily ritual. I would literally visualize myself finding homes that were undervalued and off the market. The mind is a powerful tool and properties literally started speaking to me. My friends called me “The house whisperer”.
I would drive up and down the streets looking for unkempt properties and track down the owners. My second deal was a boarded-up shack around the corner from my home. It was at the corner of Robert T. Martinez Street and Willow Street. I looked up the owner, found her number, and called her at least ten times. I could never get an answer. One morning after running to get my 6:00 am coffee I thought, I’m going to try her. She answered the phone! Half asleep she told me she would sell for $90,000. I had no way of getting a loan because I could barely afford my own house. My mom mentioned a lender she knew in Houston and I called him to see what options there were for me. He said he had a friend who could lend the money at 12% interest with a balloon payment due in 6 months. I knew in my heart the property was worth more. My family was concerned about me taking such a risk but I trusted myself and my knowledge of the neighborhood. I closed on the house, hired a realtor that was well versed in the area, and sold it the first day on market with multiple offers. I closed on the sale before my first payment was due. I made $50,000 on the deal and I was hooked.
Napoleon Hill was right, I was manifesting abundance and the universe was providing. I ended up selling my first home for $150,000 profit two years later, and bought and sold more than a dozen properties those first few years. I paid off my student loan debt and launched a career for myself. Not only did I discover the passion for real estate, but I also discovered that my strengths lie in believing in myself and taking risks. It was a powerful lesson for me early on and I told myself that I would never accept anything less than the best for myself.
Once you set goals and achieve them you realize how people and opportunity come out of the woodwork to help. Besides the birth of my two children, I think the day I closed on my first home is one of the proudest moments of my life. I have set larger goals and dreams for myself but the reward is all the same. It is the art of the deal and the collaborative power of the people you surround yourself with that bring the greatest joy.
Stone & Acre Real Estate represents that same power. Whether you are just starting your journey or downsizing your life, our mission is to harness the power of teamwork and years of experience in the Austin market to help you reach your real estate goals. As Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you help other people get what they want.” At Stone & Acre Real Estate, we know that our journey begins with this vision.