The Intrinsic Value of Real Estate in Las Vegas

Today I took some time to reflect on the last few months of my journey into real estate. I am so thankful that God guided me into a profession that I love that offers such intrinsic value.

Most people think that all sales jobs are all about maximizing dollars, but I have found helping people find a place to call home is incredibly rewarding on a personal level. Whether it is helping a first time home buyer find the first condo in Las Vegas or helping a family upgrade for more room, there is nothing more satisfying that helping them make it happen. I love capturing the moment when someone gets their keys for the first time because you can see the joy it brings almost immediately.

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Vegas Realtor

A big thank you to everyone who has helped me on this journey and made my job selling Real Estate in Las Vegas the best job in the world!

Why I Quit My Day Job

Lots of people have been asking me why I quit my successful social media job to go into real estate. For your reading enjoyment, my explanation for the big decision is depicted in giphs.

Anyone that has worked at an agency will tell you it is tuff. I dreaded every Monday and would walk into work unenthusiastic like…

You are always expected to be the first one there, and the last to leave, there is no such thing as turning off your cell phone or computer, and the clients always come first. That’s why I left all of that agency life drama to go into real estate….where the client always comes first, there is no such thing as turning of your cell phone, and you work almost every weekend. Irony at it’s finest, cue the Alanis Morissette …

My 9-5 taught me about time management, team work, and taking criticism which is essential in any work environment. I love social media marketing and still plan to pursue it, just on my own creative time schedule, like 10pm-3am instead of being in my office all day like….

On a side note, its really funny that there are two popular songs about work right now.
My life felt like Rihanna…

But now I’m feeling like 5th Harmony….

Anyway, the decision to go back into real estate was a topic of prayer for a long time and I knew it was what I needed to do. When I envision my life 5 years from now, I see myself in a lifelong career instead of being a slave to my boss, my desk, and my computer.  Working with people and helping others is the best part of real estate and finally my everyday job. So if you are looking for a great real estate agent and wanting to buy/sell a house in Las Vegas, you know who to call!

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

Adulthood has taught me many things, like the importance of good friends, good health, and great credit. Since I am always looking for ways to save money, I decided to investigate my options in real estate. My husband and I bought our first house together in November of 2014 when interest rates were slightly higher and we were just starting our new jobs in Las Vegas. Fast forward one year later, we are now in the position to refinance our home to a lower interest rate, get rid of our private mortgage insurance (PMI), and cut our mortgage down from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage. Saving money is on our house means more vacations to Harry Potter World….and other fabulous places!Destiny Knocking on DoorRefinancing to a 15 year fixed mortgage can save you thousands of dollars in interest. For us, it will save us over 80k in interest and our house will be paid off in 15 years! Although our payment will be higher, more of our money will be going towards the principal of our loan. Here are the steps you should take if you are looking to refinance to a 15 year mortgage.

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

1. Don’t Take Out Credit

Before you have a lender pull your credit make sure you have not gotten any new credit cards, car loans, or personal loans in the last three months. This could hurt your credit and hinder you from qualifying for the best 15 year mortgage rates available.

2. Gather Information on Your Current Mortgage

You will need to know how much you owe on your current mortgage, how much your annual taxes are on you house, and how much you pay for home insurance each month.

3. Shop Around for The Best 15 Year Fixed Mortgage

Once your credit has been checked by the first lender, you can have it pulled by others for the next 14 days without it hurting your score. Get at least three different quotes for your 15 year mortgage so you can see all of your options and pick the best option possible. We ended up using Quicken Loans and we were extremely happy with their service and it cost us little to nothing to refinance.

4. Know What Your Paying For

When your looking for a mortgage, there are three things to consider: interest rates, fees, and hidden costs. You want the lowest interest rate available without having to pay any “points” or “discount fees”. A lot of lenders will offer lower rates if you buy them down, but this is typically not the smartest decision. Most lenders charge fees for refinancing and wrap up all of those fees into the new mortgage amount. Make sure to have every cost and third party fee broken down. Also make sure to ask about closing costs, title insurance fees, and other fees that are not always in the original rate quote.

5.Don’t Lock In A Rate Until Your 100%

After you’ve gotten full estimates from three different lenders, you will want to look at all of your options and choose the best one before locking in your 15 year fixed interest rate and moving forward with your refinance.

I am so happy we made the decision to refinance and learned a lot in the process. I know this topic isn’t super exciting but if you have any questions feel free to post in the comments below!

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

Destiny In ChicagoI had the pleasure of visiting the Windy City for the first time this past weekend! The city dazzled me with a lively downtown scene, deep dish pizza, hipster coffee joints, and a chance to catch up with a childhood friend. While I was packing for Chicago, I assumed the weather would be cold and packed heavy, which I was extremely thankful for. The famous Chi-town winds makes a 40 degree spring day seem like the dead of winter to this Vegas-born chick. But besides packing recommendations, I also learned a few tips & tricks I would remember for my next adventure when traveling to Chicago.

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

 

1. Check the Weather Forecast

If the weather forecast says 40 degrees, don’t forget to add the wind factor. I recommend bringing layers, gloves, scarves, a hat, and a variety of jackets to choose from depending on the weather for the day. Of course the weather will be different in the summer, but always pack an umbrella just in case.

The Giant Bean Chicago

2. Plan Your Transportation

When it comes to getting around town, there are so many options available to tourists including Uber, Lyft, Taxis, Trains, bicycles, and walking. Using Uber will always be my first choice, but ride fares can rack up quickly if you have a busy day ahead. The train is convenient if you use Google Maps and make sure you go up or down the stairs on the correct side of the tracks because you can’t switch sides. I highly recommend getting the 3-day CTA pass because it will end up being less expensive than a daily pass and it works for bus rides as well. Lastly, I would recommend using the Divvy bicycles for a day if you have time to cruise lakeside. The bicycles are $10 for 24 hours and offer a memorable experience that can provide transportation and enjoyment all the way from the Zoo to the Planetarium.

Divvy Bike Chicago

3. Book Show Tickets In Advance

Seeing The Second City live or a Broadway performance in Chicago will be a highlight of your trip, but don’t wait to book your tickets because shows sell out fast. I would recommend booking at least 2 weeks out so you can secure good seats at the best time that fits your schedule.

4. Save Time to Eat

Dining at all of the restaurants in Chicago was my favorite part. Make time to eat every meal at a local restaurant you can’t find back at home. From brunch at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe to dinner at Giordano’s, the wait times are long, the places are packed, and the food is amazing. We waited on average 15-45 minutes before every meal and if you are getting deep dish pizza that adds another 25 minutes before you start the main dish.Chicago PizzaWormhole Coffee Chicago

5. Take Advantage of Free

There are quite a few activities in town that are completely free like The Lincoln Park Zoo. We also enjoyed walking around Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the hipster area surrounding Wicker Park. Take a picture at The Giant Bean, see the lions at the zoo, window shop around Wicker Park and soak up the sun and wind because all of the free activities are almost all outdoors.Destiny & Kyle Chicago

6. Get the City Pass

If you are looking to do all of the tourist things in Chicago, get the City Pass online before you go anywhere. The lines to all of the experiences are extremely long but you will save time and money buying the City Pass. Although it costs $98 you will hit every tourist hot spot in town. The best part is, it also acts as a fast pass to skip the lines which sometimes can wrap around the buildings. We waited an hour to get tickets to the Skydeck at The Willis Tower only to find out it would be another 30 minute wait to get up to the top. After that experience we decided the City Pass was the only way to do experience it all.

7. Be Safe

There were only a few times I felt unsafe in Chicago and both times were at the train stations. I would avoid the trains and buses after 9pm and avoid the south side all together. Ladies, I recommend having a cross body purse you can hide under your jacket. Don’t carry cash, you really don’t need it for anything and it’s never a good idea to give money to anyone asking because it could be a scam to get you to open up your wallet.

Altogether traveling to Chicago was a memorable experience and knowing these tips for next time will make our second vacation even better! If you have tips of your own or favorite places of your own, please share them in the comments. 

Dealing with Envy

Hidden BeachSocial media is both a blessing and a curse. Images of beautiful places, friends, family, and even celebrities fill our feeds daily. We stay connected to people through their posts, videos, quotes, and dog photos, but we can easily slip into the treacherous trap of comparison. I often find myself thinking, “I wish my hair was as pretty as her’s” or “I wish I lived in New York like he does” or ” Why can’t I be the next 25 year old millionaire like the owner of Snapchat?”.

As a Social Media Manager, I spend an unusual amount of time on social media. 8+ hours every day on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can make you green with envy without even realizing its happening. It’s hard not to compare yourself to the celebrities on Instagram or the bloggers on Pinterest, but it is important to be conscious of how comparison is stealing your happiness.

Since I never take a break from social media, here are a few tips I’ve gathered to choose happiness and deal with envy:

Start Your Day With Gratitude

Before you pick up your cell phone in the morning, acknowledge 5 things you are thankful for in your life. I like to spend my drive to work meditating on my blessings and thanking God for the gifts he has already given me. Dealing with envy is easier if you are mindful of your blessings.

Dismiss Unhealthy Friendships

Take a moment to rid your social media channels of people who make you feel less about yourself. This may be celebrities that always look perfect (because they have a team of people to make them up and the magic of photoshop) or a friend who doesn’t add meaning to your life.

Realize You’re Green

Be conscious of thoughts that start of with, “I wish” or “Why can’t”. When you have moments where you turn green with envy, disconnect and go back to your list of what you are thankful for. Don’t forget about what you have, because I can guarantee someone is wishing they had the things you take for granted each day.

Hold On to Truth

Find a saying, mantra or quote that reminds you to refocus on truth. For me, I remind myself that my worth is not based off of my looks or achievements but instead the fact that I am loved by a God who has given me so much. Focusing on loving yourself as you are and others isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding. If you don’t have a quote or saying, you can borrow mine:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves ” -Philippians 2:3.

At the end of the day social media isn’t the problem, envy is an emotion that can pop up anytime. Having control over your thought-life and being aware of how your feelings are affecting you is key to choosing happiness. And remember, you are not alone. Someone, somewhere is looking at your Facebook post and wishing they were as beautiful and amazing as you are!