Real Estate Convos with Carly
Scrolling through Zillow and hearing all the news about housing bidding wars of all cash offers has many feeling like they might get lucky to afford a shoebox of a house (or a porta potty in Arizona like I found). The thought of buying a house can be daunting - especially if you've never done it before. BUT, that's where Carly comes in. Despite all the real estate market madness of the last year, I had the chance to sit down and catch up with one of my favorite Instagram personalities - Carly Garland. By sit down and catch up, I mean we talked on the phone while she was driving to a showing, and I was at my house in another state. Full disclosure, I’ve known Carly since college when she was a freshman and I was a senior in the same sorority, so asking her to share her knowledge with me was less of a cold call and more of a “hey, I want to write a blog about a friend.” My undergrad was in finance, and I went into health care IT consulting, so it wasn’t that shocking that someone with a degree focused on recreation (because she wanted to play outside for a living) ended up in real estate.
The jump to real estate isn’t an easy one by any means. While every state is different, Carly had to go through 60 hours of pre-license courses. Then, she had to request permission to sit for the real estate exam from the state commission. The exam is a two part test: sales person and law. And it doesn’t stop once you pass both parts. Each year she has requirements from the state for continuing education to KEEP her license. And then, there’s the ongoing education from the brokerage she chooses to “hang her license” at. Real estate professionals are not people who just decided to go into the profession - they had to actively choose to pursue the required educational components and pass the exam.
For her, picking a brokerage wasn’t as complicated as it sometimes is for others. Her mom is in real estate, and had an opening on her team. With the opportunity to learn from the best, a chance to own her dream dog, and a flexible schedule, Carly decided to stick around northwest Arkansas and give this a shot. But once she had a license, that’s when the real work started. While real estate agents have a flexible schedule, they also work on a commission.
So, as the Schuyler Sisters say in Hamilton, “WORK.”
There’s no identical day in Carly’s planner, but it’s filled with the same things you’ll find on her instagram page: dogs (yes, multiple), gardening (and houseplants), and helping people with navigate the buying and selling of their biggest asset - their home. You can find her working at various coffee shops and locations around NWA between meetings, but regardless of where she’s doing it from, she’s constantly helping her clients, which is exactly why she loves being an agent. During the purchase process, there are a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot of coordinating schedules. There’s a lot of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, and that’s exactly why having an agent is a great thing. Sure, you could do it alone, but you could also raise all of your own meat, grow all of your own veggies, do every repair on your car, give yourself a manicure, and make your own clothing, but you don’t - you let the experts do those things.
I asked Carly what those of us who want to someday purchase a home (or in my case, purchase a home again) should know, and here’s what I learned from her:
Hire a good agent.
I’ve purchased exactly one home in my lifetime. I’ve sold exactly one home in my lifetime. It wasn’t in Arkansas, so Carly wasn’t my agent, but I did have one. Why? Because they are experts in their field. Find one you like and get along with. Find one you trust. Find one who genuinely wants to help you. If you’re buying, you may have to pay an admin fee, but you aren’t paying the commission as the buyer. As a seller, yes, you’re paying the commission, but you are also getting thousands more for your home than if you did a for sale by owner. Your house will be in front of MANY more eyes if you have an agent. More eyes, means more chances at a higher offer.
Save your money. If you’re a first time home buyer, you might not have to save quite as much. Once you have 3-5%+ (as a first time home buyer) you’re ready for an honest conversation with an agent. They can help point you in the direction of lenders. Lenders will be able to help you navigate the approval process as well as help you understand more about specific loans you may qualify for (FHA, VA, etc.) as well as possible grants for your down payment.
Expect bumps in the road. But remember, you hired an agent to help handle those, right? They’re the ones who will help you navigate anything unexpected that comes up. They’ve probably been there before, and can help not only navigate that situation, but can be your advocate. It can be a roller coaster of emotions, but your agent will be there for you every step of the way mitigating some of the stress on your end.
I can tell you, I learned a lot from our conversation, and am selfishly sad that I don’t live in Arkansas and can’t use her when I do buy a house (though she does have a vast network of people all over that she can refer people to). So, for now, I’ll just follow along on Instagram where you can often spot her gardening adventures, her pups (remember that dream dog that kept her in Arkansas?), and TONS of real estate educational content - frequently including luxury houses and her falling into pools. Check her out at @myrealtorcarly