All Posts by Mary Childress

Who Do You Know?

You probably know a real estate agent or two.

Are you constantly thinking about them?

Are you constantly on the lookout for people you can refer to them, who are buying, selling, or renting real estate?

Are you keeping your ears peeled to hear even the slightest hint of someone making a move?

You’re probably not.

But the real estate agents you know wish you were.

Not everyone is a “connector”

Some people are natural “connectors”, and are always ready to recommend this person or that person to someone looking for some sort of help.

But many people are not.

It’s not like most people are walking around thinking about a real estate agent’s business and needs 24/7. Most people are busy enough with their own days and lives.

It isn’t like you wouldn’t recommend an agent…if the moment came up. It just isn’t the first thing on your mind.

After all, what’s in it for you? (W.I.I.F.Y as it is often referred to…)

It’s totally human and OK to feel that way.

And, given real agents can’t legally compensate you what is in it for you?

Why should you refer an agent?

Four reasons:

1) To look out for your friends, family, and acquaintances

There’s a lot of real estate agents in the field. But not all of them are created equal. Some are better than others.

So, when you know a good real estate agent, make sure to refer your friends, family, and anyone you meet, to that agent.

You’ll save the people you know a lot of time, money, and aggravation.

2) To look out for yourself

It’s hard to understand this until you’ve done it (so just try it and see for yourself), but people really do appreciate a person who hooks them up with a great real estate agent.

Referring a great agent to someone simply makes you look good. It makes you look smart, and in the know. It makes you seem “connected” and hooked up with someone that your friends and family will feel fortunate to have been hooked up with.

Who doesn’t like to look good in the eyes of their friends, family, and peers?

3) To look out for the real estate agent

Real estate is a tough business to succeed in. There’s only so much business to go around, and there’s always a whole lot of agents trying to get enough business to survive, let alone thrive.

Sure, it’s on the agent to prospect, market, and dig up enough business on their own.

But, a huge part of doing that needs to come from people referring them. So, they are probably reaching out to you and reminding you that they are in the business and there for you (and anyone you know) when you buy, sell, or rent real estate.

They aren’t trying to be a pest. They are trying to survive. And ideally, thrive.

Help the agent you know. They want and need it.

4) To look out for the good of the industry

Too many subpar agents exist and flood the field.

When you know a good, trustworthy, honest, and dependable person who is a real estate agent, refer him or her.

It’s for the good of the industry. And, a better real estate industry benefits you, the consumer, in the long run.

Real estate agents and the industry as a whole suffer from a less than stellar perception in the public’s eye. You can help improve and change that by referring the great agent you know, and make it harder for those who are not doing the best job for people to exist.

When should you refer an agent?

Five scenarios:

1) If you have a friend, family member, or coworker moving locally

This is the no-brainer. You know a local agent, and you know someone moving locally…refer them. No need to explain further.

2) If you have a friend, family member, or coworker moving out of area

This one isn’t something you might think to do…

But, if you know a real estate agent you trust, and hear about someone moving outside of the area they specialize in, you should still refer your friend, family member, or acquaintance to that agent.

The agent will then refer the person you know to the best agent in the area they are moving to. Look at this as “birds of a feather”. If you know and trust an agent locally, they’re going to have the resources and be able to refer an agent out of area who does business in a similar manner as they do.

3) Anyone you even hear breathe a word about buying, selling, or renting real estate

It might be in line at Starbucks, or the grocery store. It could be at a cookout, or a wedding. Maybe even a funeral…

The point is, wherever and whenever you hear someone chatting about real estate, make sure to mention the agent you know to whoever is thinking of buying or selling.

(Bonus points if you’re carrying their business card around and can hand one to the person.)

4) You know someone who is trying to “FSBO”

If you know someone trying to “for sale by owner”, and it just isn’t going well, let them know about the agent you trust.

The owner is likely being bombarded by agents calling and knocking, and would probably appreciate having someone just give them the name of a trustworthy agent.

5) You know someone who just needs some real estate advice

Real estate agents give their time, thought, and advice freely. Literally…it’s free. Until and unless a person buys or sells a house through them.

And it’s something most great agents do without hesitation. Without pressure or obligation. A great real estate agent wants to help anyone you know if they have any real estate related questions or concerns — even if they aren’t buying, selling, or renting in the immediate future.

This is a good time for an agent to meet someone and build a long-term relationship, and help someone who needs it.

So, keep your eyes open, and your ears peeled…and refer away. It’ll be appreciated by the agent you know and trust!

If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to contact me! ​

Best Place to Watch Fireworks

First of all I just wanted to wish everyone  a Happy 4th of July since it's right around the corner!

But the other thing that came to mind is that old real estate saying...

“Location, location, location…” 

Anyhow, when I have clients moving in from out of area, they’ll often reach out and ask me around this time…

“Where’s the best location around here to watch fireworks?”

Personally I like watching fireworks at the annual Conway Riverfest, located at the marina/riverwalk area of Downtown Cownay. This year the festival is Saturday, July 1st with events going on all day. Fireworks will begin around 9:30 PM.

On the 4th of July, I know of a few places that will be having fireworks displays:

-Barefoot Landing at 9:30 PM

-End of Veteran's Pier at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk at 10 PM

-2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach at 10 PM

Please feel free to share your favorite spot in the comments below.

Until next time,

THINGS TO DO IN MYRTLE BEACH AREA

Tons of Activities for Everyone

Whether your idea of the perfect day is to relax  with your toes in the sand, or if you prefer a little more activity, you'll find plenty to do along the Grand Strand. 

Here's a look at some things that are available to do and see: 

Fishing

Boating

Horseback riding

Camping

Parasailing

Golf

Mini-golf

​Historical tours

​Dinner shows 

Farmer's markets​

Bowling 

Amusement rides

Auto racing

Helicopter rides

Live comedy

Live music

Wine tasting

Craft beer tours

Countless dining options

Festivals ​

Car shows

Nightclubs

Tattoo/piercing studios

Gift shops

Malls

Flea markets

Antique shops

Baseball

​Outlet shops

Theaters ​

​Here's just a couple upcoming and ongoing summer events in the area:

Music on Main

Main Street: 202 Main Street, North Myrtle Beach
Horseshoe: 11 S. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach 

7-9 PM

FREE entertainment for all ages

Bring a beach chair​

-Thursday, June 22 – Main Street – PaperWork (Rock/Pop)

-Thursday, June 29 – Horseshoe – Too Much Sylvia (Variety)

-Thursday, July 6 – Main Street – Davisson Brothers Band (Country)

-Thursday, July 13 – Horseshoe – The Catalinas (Beach)

-Thursday, July 20 – Main Street – Tru Sol (Motown/Variety)

-Thursday, July 27 – Horseshoe – Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot (Beach/Variety)

-Thursday, August 3 – Main Street – Black Glass Band (Rock)

-Thursday, August 10 – Horseshoe – Midnight Allie (Beach/Variety)

-Thursday, August 17 – Main Street – Painted Main (R&B/Variety)

-Thursday, August 24 – Horseshoe – The Holiday Band (Beach/Variety)

-Thursday, August 31 – Main Street – BrickHouse Band (Variety)

-Thursday, September 7 – Horseshoe – The Embers ft. Craig Woolard (Beach)

-Thursday, September 14 – Main Street – CC & Co (Motown/Top 40)

-Thursday, September 21 – Horseshoe – Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band (Beach/Blues)

-Thursday, September 28 – Main Street – Jim Quick & Coastline Band (Variety)

SummerFest! at Barefoot Landing

Now-Sept. 2

Nightly from 7-10 PM

4898 Hwy. 17 S, North Myrtle Beach 29582

– Performances by Nick Pike from America’s Got Talent Sundays-Thursdays near Castano’s Italian Restaurant​

– Performances by Don Colton, steel drummers John Mastroberti and Justin Matthews, and guitarist Chris Elswick by TBonz Gill & Grill  seven days a week​

– The Shoreline Brass Band will perform several nights a week

– Face painting and a variety of strolling entertainment will be featured all summer long​

– Kids’ Karaoke​ every Friday

– Characters from well-known movies and popular shows will be available for photos  every Saturday​

– Fireworks every Monday​ at 9:30 PM

Hot Summer Nights at Plyer Park 

Plyer Park is the green space off the boardwalk & adjacent to the Skywheel

1309 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach 29577

​Now- Sept. 4

7-10 PM​

-Free nightly events

-Family entertainment

-Music concerts​

-Boardwalk Elvis

-Kids' Carnival

-Fireworks​

Movies in the Park

Riverfront Park

2nd Ave., Conway 29526

FREE ​

Shows start at dusk approximately 8:15

-Friday, July 14: WALL-E​

-Friday, July 28: Twister 

-Friday, August 11: ET 

-Friday, September 8: Mission Impossible Rogue Nation 

I am not hosting these events, just sharing with you. Times, dates, and events could be subject to change. I will definitely be going to as many of these as possible. 

Until next time,

Things Your Real Estate Agent REALLY Needs to Tell You!!

Whether you are buying or selling a home, there will be so much  to absorb.  It's important that you  have a qualified professional providing you with the information you'll need to make the best choices and decisions. Good communication is a very easy way to avoid potential issues and makes happy buyers and sellers. 

I would rather apologize for repeating myself than risk the chance that any client of mine experiences an inconvenience before, during, or after closing.  Here's a list with some common avoidable problems: 

  1. Agency/brokerage relationships are not sufficiently explained nor fully understood -- This  topic could be at least a 3 part series, but I will try to hit the high points. By law, a real estate agent is to explain how brokerage relationships work and provide potential customers/clients with the South Carolina Disclosure of Real Estate Brokerage Relationships.  Buyers  should understand what it means and feel free to ask questions. Home purchasers almost always think that they have to search for their own properties, call each individual listing agent and set up appointments with the agent whose name is on the sign. That is not the case. Buyers are often mistrustful of enlisting the help of a buyer's agent because they don't want to sign a Buyer's Agency Contract. This may be the case because they or someone they know had a bad experience in the past, they are worried about being stuck with an agent who isn't there for them, or it will cost too much.  If and when a buyer chooses to sign a Buyer Agency Contract, it doesn't just mean they agree to work exclusively with that buyer's agent. The agent has a list of duties and responsibilities he or she owes  that buyer, who is now considered a client, not just a customer. The listing agent (the agent whose name is on the For Sale sign) works for the seller and is ethically obligated to represent that seller's best interests, NOT the buyer's best interests. (A listing agent can represent both parties in the transaction with what is called 'dual agency'. This can be done ethically and fairly, but each party agrees to limited representation.) Unless they sign something that says otherwise, the listing agent is bound to give client level services not to the buyer but to the seller they represent. These client level services include: obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting and skill and care. The good news is that a buyer can have an agent who provides them with all of those client level services AT ABSOLUTELY NO COST.  That means that they will have their own agent find suitable properties, gather information, schedule appointments, draft an offer, negotiate that offer, coordinate all the necessary paperwork and inspections, recommend other professionals, and keep that buyer informed every step of the way through closing.  The reason there is no cost to the buyer is because the real estate brokerage fee is paid by the seller and predetermined in the listing agreement they have signed with their listing agency. This may seem too good to be true, but it's available for buyers at no cost to the buyer. Even after explaining this, purchasers still often have the misconception that an agent can only help with that agent's own listings. The fact is that buyer's agents have access to every single listing on the multiple listing service and a good buyer's agent will find their client a suitable property even if there isn't one on MLS that meets their buyer client's needs. 
  2. Timing and procedure are not always adequately communicated -- There are so many details, from small to huge. There are forms to be filled out, things to do, things NOT to do... This could also be a stand alone post, but I will go over a couple things that differ in South Carolina real estate transactions as opposed to buying or selling in other states. Some states don't require an attorney to be present at closing, but South Carolina is an 'attorney close' state. Buyers and sellers often close at separate attorney's offices, usually within a day or so of each other. In Horry County, the closing is not complete and official until the deed is taken to the courthouse and recorded. That can occur on the same day that the documents are signed but not always. It's important to remember, as a seller, that any funds due  will remain safe and secure in the buyer attorney's trust account and will not transfer until the deed records. It's also important that the buyer understands that keys will not be disbursed until the deed records.  If it's important to buyer and/or seller to receive funds or keys on the same day, they should stress that to their agent(s) so he or she can work with the other parties involved to plan accordingly and make every effort to record on the same day. If both parties sign in the morning and on a weekday, and there are no unforeseen circumstances, there's a good chance the deed can record on the same day. It will still take a few hours after settlement before the deed records.  Knowing this upfront can eliminate all sorts of confusion and stress on closing day! 
  3. It isn't always stressed to buyers how to apply for lower property tax rate, if eligible -- If a buyer is going to occupy the home as a primary residence, they are eligible for a better tax rate. 4% as opposed to 6%. They will need to fill out a Legal Residence form  and take it to the Horry County Assessor's office AFTER they get their driver's  license changed to their new address and have a current utility bill with their new legal address.  If a buyer doesn't apply, they will be taxed at the higher default rate. If a buyer is 65 years or older, they should ask their agent about the Homestead Exemption.  

These are just a few things that can be helpful when purchasing property in South Carolina and specifically in Horry County. 

If I can be of assistance  or answer any questions, don't hesitate to contact me. Have a wonderful week! 

      MORTGAGE HELP FOR HOMEOWNERS

      Do you know a homeowner with a hardship who needs temporary assistance paying his or her mortgage? 

      I am a member of the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors Community Outreach team. We meet each month to plan various projects that better our community and assist residents of our area.  We also have monthly guest speakers who attend the meetings. This past Thursday I learned some very valuable news that I would like to share. 

      ​ SC HELP is a program funded by the US Dept. of Treasury with over $317 Million allocated to South Carolina!

      The purpose is to assist responsible borrowers who have experienced hardships beyond their control and decrease unnecessary foreclosures. 

      Here's a list of some of the hardships that will be considered: 

      • Unemployment
      • Death of Spouse
      • Divorce
      • Short Term Disability
      • Significant Medical Expenses 
      • Underemployed-Employed but Income Reduced
      • Self Employed with Reduction in Income
      • Long term/Permanent Disability
      • Retirement-Reduced Income
      • Increase in Mortgage Payment
      • Increase in Household Expenses and Bills 
      • Homeowners affected by recent flooding due to Hurricane Matthew

      Active Programs

      • Monthly Payment Assistance- Assists eligible homeowners with full monthly mortgage payments for up to 24 months! 
      • Direct Loan Assistance- Assists eligible homeowners in bringing current a delinquent first mortgage
      • Transition Assistance- Assists eligible homeowners who negotiate a short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure 
      • Modification/Recast Assistance- One-time payment to help homeowners qualify for an acceptable modification, recast or possible lien extinguishment 

      Basic Eligibility Criteria

      • Must Have a Qualifying Hardship
      • Owner-Occupied/Primary Residence
      • There are NO income limits
      • Can't be in Active Bankruptcy
      • Mobile Homes Allowed with Recorded Mortgage
      • Original Loan Can't Exceed $729,750

      General Information

      • Maximum Benefit per Household: $36,000
      • SC HELP will place a Subordinate, No-interest, No-payment, Forgivable Loan on the Property
      • There is NO FEE to the homeowner
      • Each Homeowner is assigned to an Approved Processing Agency
      • SC HELP Does not 'Sunset' until 2020

      If you have experienced any of the hardships mentioned above, you can visit www.schelp.gov  to initiate application for assistance. If you do not have a computer, you can call: 843-344-5328

      If you visit the website, make sure you select 'Allendale County Alive' as the processing agency and then select the county where property is located: Georgetown, Horry, or Williamsburg. Otherwise, there will most likely be a delay in response. ​

      Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if I can help you with any other real estate needs. 

      Until next time,

      How Much House Can I Afford?

      Notice the name of this article is not “How Much House Can I Get Approved For”. Afford and Approve can often mean two entirely different things. I am a real estate agent, so of course I love helping buyers find and purchase homes.  But I also want each and every one of those buyers to keep those homes as long as they choose to do so. (Then I want to be the one to help them sell, but that’s a topic for another day!) 

      I really do believe that home ownership is a great way to build equity and can provide tax benefits, freedom and stability. But there are many factors that need to be considered to include: the cost of repairs, furniture, appliances, and upkeep. 

       

      HERE ARE A FEW STEPS TO HELP YOU CALCULATE HOW MUCH HOME YOU CAN AFFORD

      • Estimate your monthly payment. This will include principal and interest, property taxes, and home owner’s insurance. If applicable you will need to consider mortgage insurance, HOA dues, and flood insurance. 
      • Estimate the percentage of your income that will go toward paying this payment. A helpful guideline is that your monthly payment should be at or less than 28% of your total monthly income (before taxes). 
      • Estimate your monthly debts. Be sure to include car payment(s), savings, student loan payments, credit card payments, grocery expenses, utilities, gas, clothing allowance, childcare, insurance, etc.
      • Subtract your monthly expenses and the estimated monthly house payment from your monthly income (after taxes). 

      Is there enough to pay everything? If it's close, you may want to consider finding a less expensive home or paying down debts first. 

      • FINDING A LENDER
      • You can and should find a lender who can help you find the best loan option . They can assist you with estimating your payment. They will give you an accurate estimate of loan costs and interest rates. They are knowledgeable about what loan programs are available and help determine what works best for you. They'll go over all the dos and don'ts that will help make the process go smoothly.  

      Make sure you have a strategic plan and don't just roll the dice!  

        Understand your credit

        You can get your credit report at ​the following link and check it for errors. You can report any mistakes as well as submit a request to each of the credit bureaus to have them corrected.

        https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

        Choose the right mortgage

        Fixed Rate Mortgages : Your principal and interest remain the same. Your payment is predictable and there's the possibility of refinancing at a later date.

        Adjustable Rate Mortgage: Your payment starts out lower, but can increase quickly and significantly. Carefully consider all factors before choosing this type of loan.

         

        Your lender will give you a booklet called "Your home loan toolkit". If you'd like to get a head start in reviewing the information or using the worksheets, I've included a link to the booklet below. As always, feel free to contact me if I can help. 

        What NOT to Do When Your Home is for sale and being shown

        A home for sale sign reads Information / Advice – How to Sell – Get Tips Here

        What NOT to do when your home is for sale and being shown:

        There are so many things you should do when you list your home, but we will focus on those things another day. Today we will discuss some things you shouldn’t do when you have your home on the market. These are all things I have personally seen buyers have an adverse reaction to when viewing property.

        – Don’t leave pets roaming freely in the home when there’s a showing scheduled.

        Whenever you have a showing scheduled, it’s best to remove the family pet(s). Even buyers who are pet lovers want to focus on the home, not an animal-even if it’s a friendly, fluffy, cute one. Best case scenario, pets are a distraction. Worst case scenario, the buyer chooses not to look at the home because he or she is allergic or nervous or the pet escapes or hurts someone. It may not always be possible for the seller to take Fido or Sassy for a walk or ride before each and every showing. In these cases, a crate or kennel may be a good option. For the record, I absolutely love dogs, but once had one snatch the listing sheet out of my hand and my buyers and I chased him around the house trying to retrieve it. I also had a buyer rule out an absolutely beautiful, huge, amazingly well priced home just because there were dogs running around and one unfortunately had an accident right in front of her.

        – Don’t stay home when there’s a showing scheduled

        While there are exceptions to the rule, most buyers feel more comfortable viewing a home when the seller vacates. A good listing agent will have all the facts and features in the listing for the showing agent to have and share with the buyer. If a buyer has a question or concern about the house, they will not feel like they can address it with their agent. If they do love the house, they may feel rushed if the seller is present. Sometimes a buyer may show up early, or there may be a reason that you just can’t vacate. If that’s the case, then it’s best to greet the buyer and agent at the door and let them know you are going for a walk or to step outside, but welcome them to take their time. I once tried to show a house where the seller met us at the door and followed us into each room. When he followed my buyer into the bathroom, she got so anxious she asked me if we could just leave which was unfortunate since she thought this house would be ‘the one’. I’m not even kidding, that this guy followed us out to the car and talked for ten minutes before we eventually just had to drive away. These were extreme circumstances, but regardless of how nice or knowledgeable the seller is, his/her presence makes it difficult for the buyer to imagine they are ‘home’.

        – Don’t light multiple candles or go crazy with air freshener right before showings

        Everyone wants their home to smell as good as possible, especially when they have showings scheduled. Buyers wonder what’s going on when there are multiple candles lit. And some buyers are sensitive to air fresheners. It’s true what they say in all the magazines about the smell of fresh baked cookies being a great alternative. Plus, you can leave some cookies out for the showing.

        – Don’t leave out medicine, weapons, jewelry, or money

        Although a licensed agent will accompany the buyers who view your home, there may be times when one buyer will linger in the master bath while another goes back to look at the kitchen. They may get distracted and take their eyes off their child for a split second. It’s just as much a safety issue as protection of your property. Whenever I personally show an occupied home, I have everyone stay together, and would imagine most buyer’s agents do the same. I have never had an issue with my buyers or sellers, in all the years I’ve been in real estate, with anything getting disturbed or going missing, but I advise my sellers that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Guns should be locked in a safe, medicine and jewelry out of site, and money and jewelry put away as well. True story: I once showed a house that had shotgun propped up in the corner behind the toilet. There have been other interesting items as well.

        There are plenty more but these are the ones I see more often than you would think when I’m showing houses, so these are all things I discuss with my sellers when listing a house. If you have any questions or want to know more don’ts (or dos) feel free to contact me.

        Under Pressure

        I decided to have a website with a blog section so I could share useful information on topics relevant to real estate or general information about the Grand Strand area. I am pretty resourceful but realized early on that web design was not something I was going to teach myself by perusing the internet, so I hired a company to help me. They told me they would be able to provide everything I wanted in a website in about a month and all I needed to do was to write my first blog. There are countless topics, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get one blog post written over four weeks, right? After about a week’s worth of pondering and inner-struggle, I asked myself why I was having trouble just choosing a topic for my first post. After all, real estate and the Myrtle Beach area are two of my favorite things to talk about, so why couldn’t I just sit down and write something? I realized that knowing you want to do something and accomplishing it is not the same thing. I’ve lived in the area for almost thirty years and have so much information I want to share, but that doesn’t make me a blogger. So I did some research and learned some basic tips for formatting a blog. While learning the basics, I realized how important it is to me to have a game plan before starting a task. Then, it occurred to me what I should write about.

        I want to buy a house. What now?

        The home buying process can be overwhelming and mistakes can be very costly. Many buyers start out by looking online for homes available in their desired location. While this is a fine way to start out to get a feel for what’s out there, it’s important to have a better plan of action when the decision has been made to seriously consider purchasing a home. I will give some bullet points and focus more on the individual topics in future posts.

        Talk to a lender

        • A lender will help you determine how much house you can afford. Be upfont with lender about how much you are comfortable paying each month as well.
        • A lender can help determine what financing options best suit your needs.
        • A lender will provide you with a pre-approval letter that is expected and often required when submitting an offer.
        • Many lenders will advise buyers on steps to take to become eligible for loan if they are not currently able to get a mortgage.

        Find a buyer's agent

        • You can choose to have a buyer’s agent who represents your best interests at no cost to you!
        • Your buyer’s agent will have access to all homes in the local Multiple Listing Service and can find homes for you to view based on your individual search criteria.
        • Make sure the agent you choose to work with understands your expectations .Your agent should explain the process so you have a clear understanding. If something isn’t clear, ask questions.

        Make your offer

        • Your agent will provide comps and information needed to determine an appropriate offer.
        • Agent will present and negortiate your offer. Once under contract your agent will coordinate inspections and make sure deadlines are met. It’s very important that things are done in the proper order. Your agent will guide you throught the process.
        • Agent will work with lender and closing attorney to faciliate a smooth closing.

        I bought my first (and second) home before I was a Realtor. I had no idea what options were available to me. While I was ultimately happy with my home purchases, there were definitely some things that I would have done differently.

        I would have had a buyer’s agent represent me each and every time. I would have saved a lot of time and money and had less stress and obstacles. The first time I bought a home, I used the listing agent, who represented the seller, and although the same agent can ethically represent both parties as long as both parties understand and agree to dual agency, I did not have a clear understanding of how it all worked. I was not provided an explanation of agency, a seller disclosure, or a lead paint disclosure, which is required by law. I was not told I could or should have a home inspection or given any finance options. I ended up purchasing the home via owner financing with a high interest land sale contract and no title search. I literally cringe when I think of how terribly this could have turned out and how much time and money I wasted.

        I will continue to try and share experiences and knowledge that help others make informed decisions even if it means writing about my own cringe-worthy past. One day I will probably look back at my blog writing style and cringe, but know that my heart is in the right place.

        Until next time,