Born into a military family I spent most of childhood moving from one new city to the other. My father's family comes from Italy while my mother's family hails from England so as a child I was lucky enough to get to live in both countries for a while as well as visit most of Europe.
After my father retired from the Air Force, my parents settled in southern Oregon where I graduated from high school. I began my college career - and yes, I do mean career, read on - at Oregon State in Corvallis. I had a ball going to school there but for the life of me I just can't remember any course I took there.
Did I mention how much fun I had in college?
Having moved so much in my childhood I got the bug to continue traveling as soon as my college days ended at Oregon State. After I left college I got a job as a flight attendant for an airline in southern California. In the years that followed I was able to travel all over the US and many countries around the world. I loved meeting people from other places and seeing how they lived.
The airline I worked for was acquired by another airline and I ended up living in Chicago and going back to school to continue my college education. I loved living in Chicago and was fascinated by the architecture and the wonderful neighborhoods that make up the diversity of Chicago.
I was so proud to own one of the 10 small cottages and to have made my first real estate investment.
My sister and her family lived in Seattle by this time, as did most of my friends from Oregon State. My long distance bills were astounding. So in 1991 I decided to move to Seattle to be close to my family and friends. I arrived in town and, not knowing anything about the real estate market in Seattle, I put money down on a condo in downtown Woodinville at a project called "Le Chardonnay Condominiums." I thought I was really moving up in the world.
Little did I know at the time that everything I would ever want to do in Washington would likely center around downtown Seattle and not downtown Woodinville. Luckily real estate is not a tattoo. I was able to cancel that purchase and get my earnest money back. I had heard of this cool new project being built in Seattle's Central Area and I decided to wait for one of the Pine Street Cottages to come for sale.
This cottage project was so extraordinary because it brought national attention to the need for more urban density in large metropolitan areas and less sprawl in the surrounding suburbs and it was done in a manner that was appealing to young investors like myself. I was so proud to own one of the 10 small cottages and to have made my first real estate investment.
My parents were not quite so thrilled however. I remember their first visit and the shock on their faces when they saw how small the cottages were and how transitional the neighborhood was at the time. That was twenty years ago. Now those cottages go for nearly four times what I paid for one originally. I saw the importance of finding the right location and what I would describe as the “adorability factor” when I purchased that cottage and I would site that purchase as the start of my fascination (others might say obsession) with real estate in Seattle.
I decided to continue my college career at Seattle University - it was so close to my cottage and it was time to go back. I was lucky enough to attend classes during the week and fly to Rome every weekend for work. (I was still working as a flight attendant.)
Shortly before returning to college I spent several months living in Florence, Italy and immersing myself in the language and culture. That time, not to mention thousands of dollars spent on hundreds of hours of private Italian lessons, enabled me to become an official translator for the airline I was working for and secured me regular weekend flights to Rome. I was able to live in a place I loved, attend classes during the week near my home, and pay for it all by flying back and forth to Rome on the weekends. Life was good.
After graduating (yeah!) Magna Cum Laude (double yeah!) from Seattle University in 1999, I decided to follow my passion for real estate and began my career in real estate working for Windermere Real Estate at their Eastlake office. After just a few years as a professional agent, the real estate bug got me in a big way.
Since starting my career at Windermere I have sold my beloved cottage and jumped into a mini buying and selling frenzy. In the last few years I have bought and sold a condo on Queen Anne (it was in a "condo conversion" building), bought and sold a new construction townhome in West Seattle, and have purchased several rental properties (remember there's no pension for real estate agents). I have even convinced my parents to get in on the frenzy and become “flippers." They bought a condo at pre-construction prices in the 2200 complex in the trendy south Lake Union area and sold it before ever moving into it. My partner and I bought a lot in the Denny Blaine area and built a home that we lived in for 6 years before selling.
We are currently about to move into our dream home, a floating home, at Wards Cove. We are thrilled to start this next chapter floating on Lake Union.
I can't help it. I have so enjoyed helping hundreds of clients and friends not only invest in real estate over the years, but make decisions about their homes, about where they live and help them gain financial security. Those who know of my obsession with real estate jokingly say I eat and breathe real estate. I have to say so what, it’s not fattening!