Broker Associate Megan Ivy will soon be celebrating her fourth year with Usaj Realty. Her upbeat attitude and perseverance has resulted in her being able to grow her business yet allow for flexibility in being a mom to three young children.
While there were many challenges and heartaches in 2020, Ivy has navigated through the “novel” and “bizarre” world of real estate. Virtual home tours, donning masks and gloves during in-person showings and becoming a Zoom expert are just a few of her memories of a truly unique period in time.
Read more about our veteran agent and her take on Denver real estate, raising kids amid Zoom-schooling and her advice to people looking to buy a home in a red hot housing market.
Looking back at 2020, give me a quick review of the Denver real estate market? What made it challenging/fulfilling/memorable?
“It feels odd to say that 2020’s real estate market felt relatively normal given the circumstances, but in the end most of it did generally feel like a continuation of the last few years. While the actual process of showing and interacting with the market was completely novel and bizarre, donned with masks and gloves and more bottles of hand sanitizer than I care to remember, the market itself continued to move at a rapid pace. The single family market saw demand sustain through the pandemic and multiple offers were the norm. The condo market did stall out a bit as we pushed through the year. However, the first few months of 2021 show this starting to pick back up again. The year definitely made me think outside of the box when it comes to staying connected with folks from afar. I’ve certainly become a pro at Zoom meetings, but admittedly still forget to unmute myself on a semi-regular basis.”
List some pearls of wisdom for people looking to buy in this market? How do you stay positive?
“This market is rough. There’s just no way around the fact that there is an unmistakable housing shortage in Denver. My best advice for buyers is to build a strong team of people around you who are intimately familiar with the market, will tell you the truth about where you stand and will rally behind you to weather the storm. A ‘standard’ offer is a tough one to win a contract with these days, but a knowledgeable agent and lender can give you all of the tips and tricks to compete with what’s out there. There is so much more to an offer than numbers on a page! Keep the end in mind and trust that while the journey may not look like you imagined, your dream team will get you to your destination. And don’t forget to think outside the box! For example, do you really NEED a single family home or will a condo/townhouse do for now? Have you considered lesser known neighborhoods just outside of your preferred location?”
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods for first time home buyers? Explain why you like them and what is appealing about the selections.
“I love to watch up-and-coming areas. For my first time home buyers, I am encouraging them to scan the periphery of the city for neighborhoods that match what they’re hoping for. A few of my favorite recent choices include the Alta-Vista neighborhood in Arvada, Harvey-Park in SW Denver, and the North Aurora/East Colfax corridor. All of these neighborhoods, while still incredibly competitive, are priced lower than some of the more sought after neighborhoods very nearby. These pockets also have good access to parks and smaller shopping/restaurant districts as well as homes that have good character and unique style, even if they may need a little bit of love!”
You have three young kids. With light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, provide some advice on how families can survive remote work and schooling under the same roof. What has been your best coping mechanism?
“When we first were acclimating to having a newborn, someone told me that the faster you accept that nothing is permanent and that everything is a stage, the faster you’ll feel better about the struggle. I feel like we’ve tried to approach the ups and downs and left hand turns of the pandemic similarly. We’ve tried to not get too attached to any certain moment in time and have worked to remember that we will come to the end of this and when we look back, there will be some great lessons woven in the tapestry of it all. If you’ve ever read Good to Great by Jim Collins, there’s a great quote about the Stockdale Paradox that feels like it applies here: ‘You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.'”
Explain some of the positives that have emerged from the pandemic for you professionally and personally.
“Professionally, the pandemic has shown me the strength of past relationships. It has reminded me that all of the time and energy I have invested in taking great care of past clients carries well into the future. Not being able to see many people face to face right now has meant that I lean even more heavily on my relationships to continue to run and grow my business. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the referrals that I’ve received from friends and acquaintances.
Personally, the pandemic has afforded our family A LOT more time together! While often this has felt like a huge challenge when it comes to productivity, I try to remind myself how fleeting time with my young kids can be. We’ve tried to take extra time for snuggles and movies and dance parties. Hopefully they remember this period of time not only for the masks and bottles of sanitizer, but for the memories we’ve been able to carve out.”
Any new hobbies, interests or goals that have been met during the pandemic?
“Is home-schooling a hobby? While many people have found themselves bored and searching for new hobbies during this time, our three kids and full-time jobs have kept us more than busy. 🙂 Maybe I’ll get a hobby when it’s all over!”
Tell me about your happy place and why it’s important to you.
“My current happy place is in my garage office with my noise cancelling headphones, streaming a great book or podcast. I know that this may sound a bit lame, but with so much on my plate, any quiet time for myself is a gift. We converted our garage to a detached home office two years ago (and we have been thanking our past-selves during the pandemic!). It’s a cozy space that allows me to step away from the chaos of life without needing to go far. If I’m not in the midst of a global pandemic, my happy place is on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a cocktail in hand. Oh, how I cannot wait to return there!!”