Gibraltar alumna and Shorewest realtor Erin Leline never saw herself as a real estate agent and was initially put off by the notion of even owning property in her hometown.
The global-studies graduate had been traveling extensively, spending winters out of the county and returning home to work during the summer season each year. In the midst of her worldwide travels, however, Leline started dreaming about owning a Door County home of her own to return to between her adventures. The problem was maintaining a year-round mortgage on a restaurant worker’s seasonal salary. It seemed impossible.
Leline thought a tiny house would be a creative solution to her budget constraints, but in pursuing one, she soon found herself buried in rules and regulations, surprised by how much there was to learn about zoning and the systems and construction of a house, tiny or otherwise.
“I was faced with a lot of struggles around what a tiny house could offer me within the zoning rules,” Leline said. “I got a little discouraged, thinking I really wanted this for my lifestyle, but it didn’t work in the zoning where I lived.”
She persevered through the learning curve, however, and succeeded in building not only her tiny home, but also her love of Door County, new and unexpected knowledge about local zoning ordinances, and a desire to help others. And it all converged into a vocation: real estate.
“I put the puzzle pieces of my life together and realized real estate was where I was meant to be,” she said. “I just didn’t know it.”
As a realtor, Leline said she loves helping people navigate the process of buying a home, in part because of her own struggles navigating it alone.
“My personal goal is to help make it less daunting for people,” she said. “It’s a terrifying thing to go through. There are so many contracts and legal jargon [that] people often aren’t even sure where to start.”
Leline advises buyers to get in touch with a realtor and lender as soon as they start thinking about buying – not after they’ve found their dream home. For seasonal workers, she recommended lenders who live in the community and understand the challenges of the Door County seasonal economy.
“We’re here not just to help you buy a house,” Leline said, “but to get you prepared, and point you in the right direction in order to get you in a place to buy a house, to connect you with the right people, and get you positioned so when the time is right in your life, you’ve got the foundation.”
If you’re an alumna or alumnus of Door County who would like to spotlight a local business by sharing your involvement with it, email Vanessa McGowan at [email protected].