KENOSHA, WISCONSIN — In a beautiful 1,600 square-foot rancher, Mark and I and our two kids felt at home. But something was missing.
As we looked at all the opportunities our kids had, we also knew that there were children in our own community who were not as fortunate. With an open heart, and a fair amount of nervousness, we became foster parents and three more kids joined us in that little rancher. We had the opportunity to adopt these children, and life became one big, beautiful whirlwind.
Unfortunately that whirlwind happened in a three-bedroom house we were quickly outgrowing. We had four girls in a 10 by 12 room – a bunk bed and two cribs right next to each other.
It was time to move.
I remember one REALTOR® we interviewed with asked me if I could move the cribs for the listing photos and showings. Um, no. We still had to live in the house.
Then, I talked with Mini Samuel. I’ll never forget what she said when I asked her about moving the cribs: “But where would you put your children.”
This rush of relief washed over me and I thought, “Here’s someone who understands!”
Mini not only helped us sell that house, but also found us a beautiful 3,000 square-foot house in Kenosha. The deal she got us was incredible. We were so happy in our home.
Then, in 2012, Mark was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He passed away in 2017. My two oldest grew up and moved out. We had made a lot of memories in that beautiful Kenosha home. And healing after Mark’s death – I don’t think we will ever truly get there. Not completely. But I knew that a five-bedroom, three bath house that size was too much for me to take care of – especially now as a single mom with 13, 12 and eight-year-old kids at home.
Of course I reached out to Mini. The funny thing was, she had this intuition. She sensed that I wasn’t quite ready to leave that home and all its memories behind. And she was right. I needed more time.
So we waited another year. All the while Mini kept in touch and she just patiently waited for me. She never pushed, even though there was no benefit for her. She just wanted to know that I was OK. Every so often, I would say something like “I wish that someone could take care of the lawn for me, I’m a little overwhelmed right now.” And she would send me a lawn service referral. It was just a lot of little things like that.
Finally, last spring, I was ready. There were many fond memories there still, but I was ready to move forward. The house had become a burden.
With this move though, I handed Mini a difficult situation. We had gotten such a great deal on our Kenosha house that I had $200,000 in cash to put towards a new place. I felt that with all that cash, this was my chance to live mortgage-free. But there wasn’t a lot of quality housing available in that price range – and what was on the market was going fast. But I really felt like that equity in our home was a gift from Mark. That after all the heartache, this was a way that he could lift one of my burdens and look out for me – like he had always done. I was committed to not having a mortgage.
So that meant that Mini not only had to sell my home first, but then also find me a livable home in the $200,000 range. Everything had to fall into place perfectly.
It was a walk, me going through all these emotions and second-guessing myself. But Mini took that walk with me. She really listened – even to things that weren’t her responsibility.
Somehow, Mini worked her magic. My larger home sold within hours of it being listed.
Mini found an 1,800 square-foot home in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood that had blue shag carpet, obnoxious wallpaper, cabinets hanging over the kitchen counter, and an open concept.
My kids thought Mini was insane.
It was perfect.
We needed healing, and through the process of tearing up carpet and replacing light fixtures, my kids and I have been able to fill this home with wonderful new memories. If it had been perfect before moving in, we would have just been inhabiting someone else’s home. But the process of working on it has been so healing.
Mini really inspired me every step along my journey. It was never about selling a house to her – it was always a very human experience. She cared about me and because of that we could move forward in a very healthy direction.