Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team

American Heart Month is special to me…

In Blog Posts, Uncategorized on January 29, 2019 at 2:26 pm


It was Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

It was a pretty normal Tuesday, just like any other really, I had just scarfed down Chipotle during our weekly sales meeting… but I didn’t feel very good. Luckily we had a couch in the office and I thought maybe if I layed down for awhile I’d feel better.

Didn’t seem to be getting any better, maybe I should head home. I packed up my stuff, got in my car and started to head out of Ames. Then it really hit me…

That slight pressure across my shoulders was now a lot of pressure and I broke into a full body sweat… like wet hair and everything.

Something wasn’t right.

I turned around and drove myself to the Mary Greeley Emergency Center. It was quiet in there, just a few people in the waiting room. I walked up to the desk, insurance card in hand and told the nice lady… “I have this pressure…” and gestured toward my chest & shoulders…next thing I know they’ve whisked me away in a wheel chair, down the hall and into an exam room.

A very nice, Doogie Howserish doctor and his nurse hooked me up to every imaginable monitor & testing apparatus, they fed me Nitro, gallons of blood were drawn (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration) and fifty million questions were asked, but after about an hour and a half… they couldn’t really find anything wrong with me other than a high blood pressure reading.

By then Cory was in the ER exam room with me and the Dr was going over what they did and didn’t know. He highly suggested I stay the night in the hospital, they’d keep me on the monitors and do a stress test in the morning. Although I wasn’t very happy (I had plenty of things to do & I’d decided I was fine) I agreed and we were checked into a room.

Somewhere around 8:30pm I was sitting in my hospital bed, Cory and I were talking and I said to him, “That feeling is kinda coming back,” and all of a sudden my hospital room was full of Drs and nurses, buzzers were going off and everything goes really fast from there!

I’ll spare you all of the details of the next few hours, a couple funny stories and jump right to the part where… I had a heart attack.

Yep. 41 years old. By most standards healthy. I was a couple pounds overweight but not much, worked out 2-3 times a week and had never smoked… but I was having a heart attack.

Fast forward to me waking up in a different hospital room around 3am with Cory and my sister in law, Megan watching over me. I immediately started tugging at this tight plastic thing on my wrist but was told to leave it alone! They quickly explained that I’d had a heart attack and they’d gone in thru my wrist to put a stent in my heart.

I was very lucky. I nearly kept driving home that day. I nearly convinced the Dr to let me go home instead of staying overnight in the hospital. Worse yet, I had to admit that I’d felt that weird pressure across my shoulders before…

The pictures above are before and after my stent was installed. My arteries were blocked… my Left Anterior Descending (often called the widow maker)  was 100% blocked (that one got the stent) and 2 others that were 50 and 70% blocked. The Dr also said there was evidence of prior damage to my heart (hence the part where I had to admit I may have had that feeling before…).

All in all, from the time I checked myself in at the ER until they released me was 41 hours! Ah, modern medicine! And I felt amazing. Amazing how much better you feel when your heart is working near 100%!

I’m doing great so far, haven’t had any more problems. I got off most of the medication they sent me home on after about a year although I still take a beta blocker, cholesterol and high blood pressure meds. I cut a LOT of salt out of diet, I eat a little better, still trying to work out 2-3 days a week and see my Dr at Iowa Heart Center twice a year. Good news is I’m coming up on my 5 year anniversary this summer.

Thank you for reading my long story. Since February is American Heart Month I try to re-tell my story in the hopes that it will help someone. Please read up ton he signs of a heart attack, cut back on salt, reduce stress (I’m still working on this one), watch what you eat and exercise. Take care of yourself!

Happy Heart Month!



Buying our house… chapter 4

In Blog Posts, Uncategorized on January 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm

If you haven’t read chapter 1, 2 and 3…

STOP right now, go back & read them.

It’s important.

Let’s get started right where we left off at the end of chapter 3…

It’s finally CLOSING DAY! Friday, August 31st 2019 would be the day that we would buy and take possession of our lake house!!

Here’s how it was supposed to go… sign closing papers at 10am in Ames, leave by 10:30 to drive to Clear Lake, hand the seller his proceeds check by noon, spend the rest of the day/weekend deliriously happy, celebrate our purchase, show it off to friends & family, take measurements, make lists and start planning our remodel.


Here’s how it actually went… arrived in Ames for closing at 10am, had a brand new closing agent so we finally finished signing paperwork around 11am but then we realized there was no proceeds check for the seller, spent 45 minutes tracking down the seller’s proceeds, put a new plan together to have seller proceeds wired to his bank, drive to Clear Lake finally arriving there around 2pm to find the seller still at the house and not completely loaded up/out of the house!


This is not how my plan was supposed to go. Not. At. All.

Even though I had explained the mix up on the proceeds & the new wire transfer plan to the seller’s banker, she hadn’t called to explain it to him. There before me stood a very skeptical, old school gentleman who expected a large check in exchange for the keys to his home. So I explained what had happened and that the funds were wired to his bank so he should go there & close on his new house (closing was scheduled for 2pm) as originally planned. Did I mention he was skeptical? So he called his bank to check… the funds were not in his account… his banker lady was out of the office… great.


We’re still standing outside our new house and now I’m nearly in tears. I’m a Realtor. I do this stuff every day. After 14+ years and over 600+ transactions under my belt why on earth was this happening to my own purchase? Approximately 10 more frantic calls back and forth til we learned the wire had actually gone out, but due to business practices of both our lender and the seller’s bank the funds wouldn’t actually “show up” in his account until after 3pm. He was going to have to trust us and head to his closing.

Luckily he did trust us.

He handed over the keys and headed off to his closing. He left behind a bunch of stuff in front of the garage that he said he’d be back for on Saturday and hopefully someone would come next week to get his boat lift. I was so relieved I wasn’t even worried about the stuff. If he comes back for it great, if not, no big deal. We finally had our house!!

Cory and I promptly walked inside to check out our new dream and the first words out of my mouth… “What the Hell have we done?”

In my defense I was pretty stressed with the highs and lows we’d already been thru that day. The house wasn’t exactly clean. The heavy drapes were all shut and it was pretty dark. Even after we opened the shades you couldn’t really see out with all the plastic on the windows. The orange counter tops were a little brighter than I remembered. The kitchen was painted blue and the living room green. I’d never noticed the heavy accordion doors used to divide the living room/dining room/ kitchen. The tub/shower in the main bathroom was baby blue. And the nearly white carpet in the living room had stains… deep breaths… deep breaths…

Then my amazing sister, Betsi and her boyfriend Brian showed up. They brought tools and lots of ambition. We all immediately went to work on removing the heavy shades, the window plastic and the accordian doors. It was getting better! We had light! Then Betsi and I started on painting… white.. everything white for now. I needed a fresh palate, a clean slate! The guys removed the plate rail from the top of the cabinets, filled holes in the wall (from shades, pictures, etc), cleaned out the garage attic & garage and made 3 trips to the local landfill.

Needless to say Betsi, Brian and many other friends who stopped by helped us all weekend. Cory and I hadn’t planned to start on the house at all that weekend but we were (and are) so happy that we had help. It was truly amazing what some elbow grease and sweat equity could do to a place in 3 days.

Some other things we “learned” about the house that weekend… the freezer side of the side by side fridge only opened about 4″ because the fridge was too big for the space & it ran into the wall, the “stackable” washer & dryer worked great but it wasn’t a true stackable unit so you need a step ladder to access the settings/on/off buttons, the electrical for the house was going to need an upgrade, the original carpet in the house was an ugly brown shag (still in all of the closets), the fireplace doors are just decorative for now (not fastened in the least bit!) and the dishwasher didn’t work (later we would realize the dishwasher wasn’t even hooked up anymore and a wine cork was used to block off the hook up to the garbage disposal!)… on the plus side, the garage was much bigger than we expected!

And the view from our deck… was breathtaking!

sunset 1


Buying our house… chapter 3

In Blog Posts, Uncategorized on December 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

If you haven’t read chapter 1 and 2…

STOP right now, go back & read them.

It’s important.

Let’s get started right where we left off at the end of chapter 2…

“We’ll take it!”

OMG. We were REALLY doing this…

Deep breaths… big, deep breaths…

This is chapter 3 and it’s a really, really long chapter. Well. Maybe the chapter isn’t that long but let me tell you… the time from “pending” to “closing” was really, really long. June 19th (accepted offer) to August 31st (closing & possession date)… that’s 2 plus months… almost 11 weeks… 1,776 hours… 106,560 minutes… you get the picture.


You have to keep in mind a few things about our offer & the time between pending & closing…

  1. We knocked on his door out of the blue.
  2. He didn’t have the house actively for sale.
  3. As hesitant as I may have been in the beginning, I was now ALL IN & IN LOVE with the idea of buying this house.
  4. I’m a REALTOR in my 14th year of helping people buy & sell homes.

Let’s talk about those first two items… we caught him a little off guard. Yes, he did want to sell the house & we had a deal but he didn’t have a plan for the future. No plan for where he would move, he didn’t even have a town picked out…maybe stay in town, maybe move closer to family, maybe buy another house, maybe just rent… no set in stone plan.

Keeping those first two items in mind we offered a long “pending” period before closing, 74 days. In our area cash sales & some conventional financing sales occur within a 30 day period and USDA, FHA, VA financing sales usually take around 45-60 days. When we made our offer to him we wanted to make sure that he didn’t feel rushed and that he had plenty of time to find a place to live. Hence we gave him almost 2 1/2 months before we possession and closing. Not only did he need to do some soul searching and find a property, he would likely need to get pre-approved & have 45 days to close on a property too.

Keeping item #2 in mind… We offered to take the house “as is” and we did no inspections. Ok, that’s a little bit of a lie, we had to do a pest inspection because our financing required it. As is, no inspections was a way to make our offer more attractive and “easy” for the seller. I didn’t want him to worry or be hassled by what we might find and subsequently ask for if we did a typical home inspection. And honestly, Cory and I knew the house would need work (the roof was obviously shot, he said the furnace and a/c system were old, wood siding has issues), we knew we wanted to make a lot of changes (did I mention the orange counter tops?) and we were aware/prepared for items that would need addressed. And just a side note here: I always suggest that buyers do a home inspection, do what I say not what I do. I (and my husband for that matter) were leaning heavily on my experience & knowledge and were very comfortable taking our future into our hands without an inspection. Great article on why to have a home inspected… Importance of a Home Inspection Contingency

Keeping #3 in mind… 74 days is a long time to wait for anything. If you think back to chapter 1 and 2 you’ll remember that we knocked on his door, took a 10 minute tour of the house, made an offer and spent maybe another 10 minutes at the house. That’s a grand total of about 25 minutes. Again, do as I say not as I do… always take your time looking at a potential home before you make an offer.


If you know me, you know I’m a planner and a list maker so I did what I’m good at and started making lists… Things We Need… beds… hmmm… this could be a problem… I have no idea how big the rooms are or what size bed will fit in them. Ok, furniture… another problem… no idea what will fit or where outlets are, windows fall… ugh. Let’s move on…  Things We Need to Do… Call the contractor, flooring company, kitchen guy – easy enough but what am I going to say… we’d like you to come look at our house in 74 days to give us an estimate on projects? Electrician… wait did we even look at the electrical service?

I knew the seller had a lot on his mind already and I refused to be a pain in his you know what. I preach to my buyers that they shouldn’t ask to see the house over & over or schedule follow up showings for measurements and estimates. We were just going to have to be patient. For 74 days…

Keeping #4 in mind… I had 14 1/2 years of real estate experience under my belt when we made our offer. I’ve got stories upon stories to tell of deals gone bad. My colleagues and I often joke we should write a book, but we wouldn’t want to scare away innocent buyers so we haven’t done it. My experience is what makes me a great Realtor (yep, I just referred to myself as great) but it does not make me a great buyer…

You have no idea how many times I reminded myself that this must be what my buyers go through when they are buying a home. The middle of the night panic attacks wondering if we’re doing the right thing, grumbling about tracking down more documents for the lender, all the hurry up and wait, worrying about the 88 things that can wrong in a transaction… oh wait, normal people (read NOT Realtors) probably don’t worry about those 88 items (if you’d like to know what they are, message me & I’ll send you a handy list!) but I did worry. I knew how unique this deal was and I knew how many things could go wrong… What if he changes his mind? I mean we knocked on his door… What if his family or significant other talk him out of selling? What if someone else offers him more money? I mean, I know how unpredictable FSBO (for sale by owner – which is basically what he was) can be… What if he can’t find a house he wants? What if he can’t get financing for what he wants? What if something stupid on our end falls thru? What if the house doesn’t appraise? What if he finds a house to buy, gets a deal put together but then that purchase falls thru?

quiet please

Keeping all of these things in mind I insisted that we tell NO ONE we were buying a house there were just too many things that could fall thru. NO. ONE. Have you met my husband? 😊 I absolutely love the guy but our promise to tell no one lasted about… 22 days. Then it spread like wild fire. So for the next 31 days I fielded “I heard you bought a house!” with “We haven’t bought it quite yet… still have to get the appraisal and thru underwriting, closing isn’t until end of August…” and then the last 11 days I kept replying “Not quite yet, closing isn’t until the 31st!”

We finally made it to closing day… and then… deep breaths…

~  to be continued  ~

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