Our agent in the spotlight this week is Missy Lehtomaki. See what kind of development she’d like to help bring to the area & her thoughts on the oldest building in Marquette!
- What’s the strangest/scariest/funniest thing you’ve experienced on a showing?
It’s a thing for bats to live, to take hostage, in pipes of vacant homes. With that said, “there was a bat coming out of the drain, DEAD!” Another time, “there was a giant gorilla costume hanging in a basement!” There wasn’t anything else down there, but the gorilla costume. It’s almost as if someone planned to scare us…
- Why did you choose to sell homes?
“I had always wanted my own house growing up and then started looking at homes when I was 18. My neighbor was a real estate agent.” In fact, he worked at Select. “I didn’t think about it seriously until after purchasing my second home.”
- What is your favorite thing about working in/with real estate?
“Meeting new people to our area and [working with] first time home buyers.” “I love first time home buyers; they’re my favorite!” “I like to run around with them [like crazy]!” It’s fun when you’re buying your first home. Where as, with a second or third home, it’s more business oriented.
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
Shopping is my hobby. “I also love hanging out with my daughter, Myra, and camping. I love camping.”
- Where are you from?
- What’s your favorite thing about the U.P.?
“The communities…the people. The changing of the seasons too; I love [it]!”
- If you could live in any type of home, what would it be?
“A home with property; a home with acreage.” I’m not specific on a particular home style. Just having acreage would be nice.
- How would you describe your style? For anything and everything?
“Minimalist.” “I like mid-century stuff.” The 70s style of paisley prints, hippies, bohemian, etc…I really like; it’s calming. Messes are no good! I get unfocused and scattered when there’s lots of stuff around. It feels heavy.” For a while, you think you need lots of things and then you realize you didn’t need it at all.
- What are the top 3 things/ pieces of advice you’d give your clients, who are either buying or selling?
For sellers: “Less is more & clean is cash! I think having your house very clean means more money in your pocket when you’re selling (and organized).” For buyers: “Number one: Only you and I (your agent) should know you’re buying!” Don’t tell friends or share information on social media. Also, don’t change your job!
- What’s the hardest deal you’ve had?
“The hardest deal I’ve had was selling my childhood home.” I remained the seller’s agent because they were family. Had I not, it would have been what is known as a dual agency transaction.
- What are a few things people misunderstand about real estate?
“That you get paid hourly or by the company. Also, that you should call the agent on the sign. When realistically, you should contact one agent that you know to work with.” People don’t understand that any agent is able to show and sell any property whether or not they have it listed.
- Any special neighborhood stories you want to share?
“I’ve had several transactions in Shiras Hills.” That’s a lot for one year in one neighborhood. “Based on my past year of sales experience with that area, it seems to be turning over to a new generation.” Majority were people moving in to live in as long-term homes, but wanted a dated house so they could work on it and remodel. “I like learning about that stuff [trends, in this case fixer uppers].” “Everything [popular] now is from/inspired by mid-century and late 70s style. It’s funny, the clothing trend today is inspired by the 90s and the 80s. The furniture trend is inspired by the 70s and the 60s.” It’s crazy how things cycle. “In the 90s furniture was bulky, gold and black and curved.” Some of the pieces in these older homes you can repurpose because they’re ‘in.’
- What’s your favorite type of architecture/building style or home style/architecture?
“I like all kinds, it’s hard to say. I love chalet style, open concept (that’s what my house is).” I like the 60s/70s style too; sleek, mid-century, open floor plans.
- Which building do you think is the oldest in Marquette?
“Our old house on Hampton St. was pretty old. It was the general store for the ship yard down in Marquette, so I’m told.” As far as the oldest building in Marquette, I think it is 220 Craig St. It’s called the John Burt House; a stone house with a dedication to it.
- Are you excited for all of the change and growth in and around the area?
- What’s beneficial about having your own business?
“Being able to plan accordingly and set goals for myself.”
- What’s something no one knows about you?
“I usually say what I feel and give my opinion, so not much is left to the unknown.”
- What are your future aspirations?
“To continue perusing my real estate career and enjoying time with family.”
- What’s the most common issue or problem you face or come across as a real estate agent?
“The most common problem I face as a real estate agent is dealing with a Zestimate! Zillow estimates are so off the wall crazy. They’re either way out of the ballpark or way below what they should be. I have yet to see one that is on the mark.”
- What’s your take on flipping and fixer uppers?
“I think it’s a great idea to consult your real estate agent even before building or flipping a home.” Let them know what your plans or intentions are for the construction, rebuild or redesign of the home. “Get their opinion for resale value.”
- In a perfect world, would you prefer all new construction or old buildings/ homes preserved & renovated?
“New construction is so expensive, but you get more energy efficiency sometimes. It would be a toss up depending on the use of the building.”
- Why choose a REALTOR®?
“From a selling standpoint, to help guide you through the selling process and get the most for your home in addition to selling it in a timely manner with your best interest in mind. As far as buyer representation, a REALTOR® can help you find what really matters to you in a home along with pointing you in the right direction for financing, inspections, and the entire buying process…for FREE!” Majority of the other agencies charge a processing fee, which Select does not.
- What’s your competitive edge?
“I have been told that I explain things at the beginning and throughout the process for buying and selling, more so than any other agent my clients have worked with in the past. And previous clients felt more comfortable with my knowledge [being informative]; disclosing all steps, all known information, or information available to share.” It’s always good to explain why things are the way they are. Simply said, “have reason behind the rule. I educate my buyers and sellers on reasons why we establish an agency contract. It is to disclose my role for them as their agent. Just being informative is always helpful.”
- Who serves the best food in town?
“My favorite place on Earth to eat is Border Grill! Since the day they opened, I’ve been addicted. I’ve spent thousands on Border Grill!”
- What is the one thing you’d like to make your mark on in the real estate world?
“Because I love shopping so much, my mark would probably be to have an upcycled [merchandise] mall, if I had to go big or go home. Where everything in the entire development was geared to sell all upcycled items, such as furniture, décor, clothing, etc…” There’s this place in Sweden called ‘ReTuna.’ It is a mall for recycled and upcycled goods. My idea is to have something similar to a big thrift store, but with repurposed and upcycled things. “[There’s] not as much consumption for big box stores [with an idea like this]. It’d be a neat way to create jobs and spend less money on new items.” Plus, the word ‘upcycle’ is fitting for the U.P., especially as our population grows. We could call it ‘U.P.cycle!’
Thank you Missy for taking the time to talk. If you’ve got any more questions for her, she can be reached at 906.869.2770. Or send her an e-mail through her bio page.