When we made the decision to buy a home, we were somewhat naive about everything. We told ourselves, that we weren’t in a rush. We still had 6 months left in our lease and besides, it took our friends months to find their dream home. We agreed that we would make good use of the time we had by researching where we wanted to live, what type of home we wanted, save more money etc. Boy, were we wrong!
Enter Jennifer Castellanos, the powerhouse of real estate agents!
Jen: Do you think it’s fair for me to show you several houses and not make a commission if you bought one of them from someone else?
Me: Do you think it’s fair to expect us to sign a buyer’s agreement without knowing what type of agent you are?
Jen: Well, this is my livelihood. This is how I make money and you’ll see I’m very good at it.
Me: But, what if I don’t like you?
Jen: Don’t worry, you’re gonna love me!
This is how our relationship started. I had done extensive research, pouring through countless reviews online to find this woman, and she had already put us in touch with an excellent mortgage broker, Ron Contrelli. We were pre-approved, so, naturally we expected things to go well, but we didn’t want to be pressured into working with someone we didn’t like. Jen was aggressive, but not in a mean or nasty sort of way. We respected and were impressed by her hustle. She was confident and we loved that about her from the start. So, we agreed to a 1 week contract with the option to extend for a month if we liked each other. We made plans to meet early the next Sunday morning.
It was late October and the cool fall temperatures were already settling into our bones. We took the LIRR to meet Jen
at an ungodly hour at a previously agreed station and she was waiting for us. As she picked us up, she casually mentioned that she has 36 listings lined up for us. We were floored! 36 LISTINGS IN ONE DAY?! Can it be done? Sure, if you have someone like Jen, who isn’t interested in wasting time. She had pulled every single listing from Wantagh to Smithtown within our price range! On the way to our first listing, she asked tons of questions about our must haves and deal breakers. She listened attentively, picking up on our preferences and was extremely enthusiastic- all excellent qualities in an agent! Let me tell ya, this woman was a real-estate machine. Her energy was contagious and soon after our first showing, I knew I was in trouble. I had to tell her how I really felt before things got any further.
Jen: Do you like me yet?
Me: No… I LOVE YOU! (smiles awkwardly)
Jen: I told ya!
A dozen houses later, we found our dream home. It was an old, dirty cape cod that needed
work lots of work! The upstairs was a total gut job, every corner, every last inch needed some extra TLC. The previous owners were a charming old couple whose grandfather built the house back in 1941. The old man had grown up in this house and you could see that he loved it so much. It was everything we had ever dreamed of and the more he spoke to us, the more we fell in love with its charm. Like with every thing in love, the heart knew before the mind. Houses speak to you and this one called out our name and luckily, we heard it.
The next series of events were nothing short of divine intervention. We went for a second showing and made a verbal offer. It was accepted on the spot. We called for a home inspection and they were available the very next day. Shocking. Everything checked out and within a week we were under contract. Phew! If that wasn’t a whirlwind, our loan cleared and in a record breaking 5 weeks we closed on our house without a hitch. In the meantime, our landlord let us off our lease early without a penalty and we became official residents of East Northport on Christmas Day, 2014, exactly 2 months since we made the decision to buy a house.
For my 30th birthday, my dad gave me his copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and in one afternoon, my life was changed. I didn’t know it then, but my heart’s deepest yearning would be fulfilled in ways beyond my imagination. I was going through a rough time and those were some transformational years in my life. As hard as they were, I’m grateful for their lessons, for I wouldn’t have a genuine appreciation for what I have now.
It’s been almost nine months since we’ve moved in and we’re ready to show you what a little creativity and elbow grease can accomplish! We’re proud home owners and
we’ve loved every minute of it every minute has been worth it! I look at this life that we’re building together and how far we’ve come in such a short time, and I can only attribute it to the power of good intention. Every day, we do a little bit more for ourselves and each other. Every night, we dream a little bit bigger… It’s both exhilarating and petrifying at the same time. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Stay tuned for before and after pictures in our next installment… It’s quite a transformation, if we say so ourselves. Here’s a little sneak peak…