By Constance Rigney, April 13, 2022
By Constance Rigney, April 13, 2022
This is a note of gratitude, a moment of thanks—a love letter of sorts, to the field of real estate.
I never thought I would be a Realtor……Let’s face it, that dated caricature of a classic real estate agent is less than flattering and not a mold I ever saw myself fitting into. The human body, people’s emotional and physical journeys, had always been my area of focus, my “calling”. I was an earth-mama herbalist and acupuncturist, in the business of helping folks heal. Things seemed settled and good and right.
Then, in the spring of 2016 my world changed dramatically. My daughter was diagnosed with PANS/PANDAS, a rare (ish) autoimmune encephalitis that affects central nervous function (If you know about PANS/PANDAS, you know it’s heartbreaking. If you don’t know about it, click here and get educated about it. These kiddos need all the help and understanding they can get!)
Unfortunately, PANS/PANDAS is a complicated syndrome, treatments are expensive, and insurance covers next to nothing. We were in a high cost situation, and I needed to make more money than my acupuncture career provided.
While I would love to say that I got into real estate because of a great love for the field, the truth is that I chose to be a real estate broker so I could pay for the medical care my child needed and be there for her when she needed me. But, there are a few factors that are intrinsic to the field of real estate that led me to that path, and gave me a (tenuous) feeling that it could be the right one……those factors are people and houses.
I have always been a person of the people. I love people, all of them (well, most of them), with all their quirks, insights, and experiences—I think everyone has something so interesting to share. It would be unfathomable for me to have a career where I’m not connecting with people and helping them in one way or another.
And, homes….I find homes fascinating—the structure and how all the pieces fit together just so, to provide us with a space that contains so much of what we hold dear; the stories—we build so much of our lives and share so many of our stories inside the walls we call home. Others, those who came before in that dwelling, left pieces of their stories through building choices, personal touches, and often those things/energies can become part of our story too.
I hoped that the love of these two things would be enough to sustain me in a career that seemed like such a departure from what I wanted in career and who I thought myself to be.
But, thankfully and surprisingly, it turned out there were so many more beautiful facets to real estate than I had imagined. And, it is a place where I can genuinely be myself, and still feel aligned with my values.
There is a whole side to real estate that I had never considered before I became an agent—all the “behind the scenes” stuff. There are a myriad of service providers that I work with on a regular basis. These are the people that really make the transactions possible—the home inspectors, sewer scope technicians, oil tank locaters, radon inspectors, escrow agents, loan officers, transaction coordinators, structural engineers, foundation specialists, painters, stagers, cleaners, artists and gift designers—-there is an entire universe of amazing people, all with unique knowledge, and specialties, that I had no idea about before I was a Realtor. We get to be this incredible team, working together to solve problems, find creative fixes, investigate, and most importantly, take care of people.
And, hallelujah, I have come to find that the old cliché of the cheesy real estate agent is so very false—at least in my experience. What I have encountered in Portland in general, and at Living Room Realty especially, is an incredibly diverse group of really cool people who share the goal of helping people and making their lives better; people who are flexible, creative, and want to build a supportive, trustworthy community.
These folks are kind with their time and generous with sharing their knowledge, experience, and resources. It feels like there is always someone there who can help, and that we strive to help each other be better at what we do.
I find myself sitting in a place of big gratitude—for being able to meet my daughter’s needs, for skills acquired and knowledge gained, for being connected to new and wonderful people, for the times I feel like a badass super negotiator, for the honor of helping people on their housing journeys and being someone they can lean on.
Though this was not the path I thought I would walk, it is a path I have come to love.