Brandon Nelson and Jodi Litt
Age: Brandon, 51; Jodi, 60
Lived here for: Brandon, 21 years; Jodi, 28 years
Originally from: Brandon, Muskegon, Michigan; Jodi, Palo Alto, California
Notable: Brandon (former river guide and carpenter in California, real estate broker for A Hand Up Home, a company that helps people who are in the process of trying to buy their first home), Jodi (formerly worked in corporate sales and business before becoming a founder of A Hand Up Home).
Brandon Nelson stands near his business, Brandon Nelson Partners Realtors, on Wednesday, Oct. 25. (Andrew Ford/Cascadia Daily News) Jodi Litt stands next to Brandon Nelson Partners Realtors on Lakeway Drive Wednesday, Oct. 25. Litt is a co-founder of A Hand Up Home. (Andrew Ford/Cascadia Daily News)
Take me back to that conversation with A Hand Up Home co-founder Susan Burke. When you first talked about this idea, what made you decide to do it?
Jodi: She came from a very modest background, but she saw homeownership [as a way] to build wealth. And a family friend bought half a home with her. And from there, she was able to improve the home, sell it and bring equity into her next opportunity.
She then told me about a family that was looking for this same type of help, and I met that family; I was absolutely sold on it. And from there, then I had to go get my real estate license so I could continue to grow and develop and bring more to the table.
Do you feel like this company has brought you closer to the community?
Jodi: I’ve made some great connections and gotten involved in an area that was new to me. ‘That’ being real estate and homeownership, and helping, really helping, striving young professionals get a foothold into real estate.
Describe your normal workday.
Brandon: Imagine someone trying to hold like a ball of lightning and having 1,000 plates spinning it all at the same time. That's my work. I mean, I wear a lot of hats. Every small business owner does.
I'm acting as a realtor, I'm managing the office, I'm taking out the garbage. I'm meeting with new clients and prospects. I'm meeting with lenders; I have a huge passion to be a good community member.
If you're sitting across from a potential first-time homeowner, what's that conversation like?
Jodi: So, we can walk them through not only how it would look traditionally to buy a home, but also how it works with A Hand Up Home, which is a completely different model because it's a shared ownership.
And so, you can imagine people that have never owned or bought real estate, they have all of the angst and pressure and excitement about owning something – making the biggest financial move that they may be making their whole lives.
What made you decide to join A Hand Up Home when you are taking on a lot of other things?
Brandon: My radar was tuned for, ‘Where can I find a new stream of business to keep the agents at the firm busy [and] also to keep my mind occupied as we change the landscape in the market?’ And that was exactly when Susan called me and told me about A Hand Up Home. So, I saw it as checking several boxes for our firm at once.
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