In reflection of yesterday's celebration of Independence Day, I'd like to share just a slice of my story.
My dad served 26 years in the US Army. My mom met my dad during his tour in South Korea in 1975. She immigrated to the United States from South Korea. It was always her dream to come to America. She was finally naturalized in 1984. I was born on American soil in South Korea. I moved to Charleston in 1980 when my father was stationed at Charleston AFB. Charleston has become home, one that I adore and love.
I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be an American. The freedoms we have as Americans make us the envy of many nations. Like the ability for anyone to achieve their dreams and goals no matter where you come from, who you are, or who your parents are. You see, I grew up in a very blue collar family. My mom knew the only way I could "get out" would be to go to college. They didn't have the ability to pay for my college education. I started my first job at 15 years old. I went to a technical college to get my basics. I applied for scholarships, carried 2 jobs, and paid for the rest of tuition in cash. I transferred to a 4 year college and continued to work 2 sometimes 3 jobs to pay for school. I graduated at the top of my class in 4.5 years with $zero dollars in student loans. After a short stint in the blue collar world, I went back to graduate school to finish my Masters which took another 3 years. During my first year of graduate school, I saved up enough money to buy a house with an FHA loan at $79,900. At the age of 24, I was a homeowner. Though much sweat equity, I removed the old blue carpet off the original hardwood floors, ripped out the dated wood cabinets, and removed the wallpaper. With the help of some friends, I refinished the hardwood floors, painted the entire house, and over time remodeled the kitchen. After about 2 years, I thought, wow, that wasn't so bad. So with some more money saved up, I was ready for an investment. I bought another house with 10% down just around the corner. It didn't need as much work as my first home so it was a perfect start. I found a renter right away and the property has been rented since.
Right after graduate school, I entered real estate school. I'm an avid learner and since I knew I was interested in owning more property, it made since at the time to learn more about the process. In no time, it became a full time career. I was passionate in helping others to teach and achieve what I considered a big part of the American Dream. Owning a home! After the 3rd year of living in my house, I met my husband who was in the US Navy. We wanted a new start in "our" house; we decided to purchase a new house together. It was a dream come true to live 5 miles from the beach and downtown. Due to timing of moving into our new home, we decided to rent out my house. I've been blessed with great tenants who have lived there now for 4 years! In 2006, we purchase our first multi family project, a triplex.
It's been 7 years since I bought my first house and I'm thankful for that experience that propelled me into my chosen field. While many folks don't have a high opinion of sales people, or real estate agents in particular, I'm proud of my job, my work ethic, and my experiences which have molded me into the person I am today. I truly work to discover new ways to better assist my clients and consider it to be an honorable profession to help families achieve their homeownership dreams.
To date, I've help over 135 families achieve their dreams. Some have been first time homebuyers, homesellers relocating out of the area, investors looking to build their portfolio, people making their first investment, sellers moving up to their dream home, or sellers moving out of their last home. I'm honored to be part of their lives and part of the process. We are so fortunate to have the luxury of being homeowners, but we are even more blessed to be American. Coming from a family of military service members, it's important to remember that our Independence and freedoms came at a price, even today. There are men and women who are away from their families and their family members who long for their presence while they serve their country. I'm proud of my father and husband who gave their time and service and for those in the past who fought and paid a great price for us to be able to celebrate this holiday. And I'm thankful for those who choose to serve today and for those who will continue the American tradition of service in the future. What does being an American mean to you?