Written by Steve Martin Smith
A life with Katrina is like no other. She is the extreme of ‘whatever it takes’- always has been and likely always will be. In the mid 90’s, as a stay at home mom with limited resources, she once cut our living room sofa in half while I was at work. "Why?" you ask, because she wanted a couch and a chair with a table in the corner and it was long enough to accomplish that goal. She rebuilt the cut ends and we were all amazed. She also wanted oak finishes throughout our two story home. That girl found oak looking contact paper and fooled everyone. All interior doors and the staircase became oak. After living with it for years, we sold it to a couple who never asked and were likely surprised down the road. I could type for days and not run out of examples like these that all lead up to her involvement in my real estate career. From my very first listing, Katrina jumped in ( all in ) to help each home owner make their place look the best it possibly could.
Let’s go back to that “ALL IN” statement for a moment. When we first started staging homes, she would take our own personal furniture and furnishings to our listings. We’d go two months with nothing but a bed in our own house. We had a 2006 Nissan Murano at that time and it could pull a small trailer. Do you have any idea how many trips it takes to fully stage a home when you can only pull 1500 pounds at a time, and that includes the weight of the trailer?
I remember the first time we had to buy special furniture for a listing. We hauled our living room sofa to a second story condo. After the two of us barely got it up two flights of stairs, we could not get it through the door. Are you feeling the pain in my lower back yet? We then went to FiFi’s on the Island and found two light weight pieces to get the job done. Keep in mind that at this time we had not yet started charging for staging. All this effort was just to get the home sold. We did not want a reputation for having crappy looking listings and unfortunately sellers often do not see the value in making their home beautiful to sell it.
With this particular condo, Katrina and I also cleaned and painted the entire interior. I even put up some wainscoting panels in the dining room and baths. All this for a $90,000 condo. Well, not really. The owners were in a terrible situation and we did all this to help them out of it. However, after we were finished, they decided to rent it out to some friends who were caught up in their own unique situation. We received no pay at that time for all our efforts. Fortunately we’ve learned to be ok with situations like this and just moved on without being upset or angry. Then about two years later, the condo owners were in a fix and had to sell it immediately. They called me for help. I was able to get the tenants to buy it for $150,000 and I was the only agent on the deal. Whether you believe in luck, the blessings of God or simply the idea of karma, this situation for us was certainly one we will never forget.
As much as I struggle at times with my wife’s extreme drive to do whatever it takes, I can’t deny the great places it takes us along the way.
Here is the video we made from that condo rehab in 2016.
One important update for the video, we are now with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate