I have 2 major passions, Animal Welfare and Real Estate. Two very different interests, but for me, they are actually very much entwined.
I have always had a deep love and respect for all living creatures ever since I can remember. I will stop to move caterpillars off of the footpath on walking trails and bring worms washed onto sidewalks after a heavy rain back to safety.
I always thought it was crazy that people kept breeding animals when there were already so many that did not have homes. So many, that they were constantly being euthanized to make room for more. This has bothered me since I was a little girl and knew that there were animals in shelters or on the streets. I knew that humans were responsible for the ignorant overpopulation and that we would in turn abuse, neglect and discard these creatures that relied on us to take care of them and show them love.
In 1994, I started the first professional Pet Sitting Service in Park Ridge, IL. I grew my business to over 250 clients and 16 employees. I sold the business in 2002 for a profit when it started to grow too rapidly for just me to manage. What can I say? I was young and I was not used to asking for help. I always had to create everything on my own.
I have volunteered, donated and supported events throughout my life. It never feels like enough. I am not good in the trenches. I fall apart. Those people are the heart and soul of rescue. My first foster is still with me 5 years later. I went through 5 figures in vet bills and still counting. People, friends, most well-meaning, told me to “put him to sleep.” This dog is healthier, happier and in the best shape he has been in since I have had him. People should not have to euthanize animals that have a chance of living a healthy happy life because of medical costs. So, when I started my Real Estate career, I knew immediately that I had to make this part of my business.
10% of every commission I make is donated to an animal welfare organization, usually a rescue. I have many clients that are involved in rescue so I let them choose the beneficiary and include them in the donation. Some clients do not have a preference. In this case I work with the rescue community try to figure out where it is needed most at the current moment.
My parents divorced when I was seven. My mother moved me all around the North Shore suburbs. Not the best situation for a kid. However, at a young age, I realized that each burb really has its own unique personality and charm. So, with each move, I looked forward to this discovery.
I continued to move excessively when I was on my own (even though I swore I would never do this.) Most places never felt like home. I envied my friends that could still go to their childhood homes when they needed the comfort of “home.”
I finally discovered what “home” felt like during my time in Park Ridge. I had a local business. I was part of the community. Everybody that had a pet pretty much knew me. I rented a house that was 100 years old and not updated at all. All of this was my home. Almost 20 years later, I still drive by that house every time I am there and a flood of wonderful memories washes over me.
Working with buyers: Home is not just the right amount of square footage, a 2-car garage and an updated kitchen. Those things matter, of course. But, they do not define a home. When I work with buyers, I take the time to help them uncover what they truly want in a home. This is something that extends beyond the property lines.
Working with sellers: Much of the time there is a deep emotional attachment to home and community, just as described above. It is not fun to hear that your beloved home of over 30 years will have to be totally repainted, kitchen and baths updated and new flooring installed to get the price you expected. To you, the house is perfect. To make these changes can feel like erasing all of your memories and may seem ridiculous. It is not easy. I empathize with this difficulty and compassionately guide sellers through this process.
In both cases, I provide real market data and analysis so that all of my clients have the information they need position themselves strategically and achieve their goals.