Cathy Guidry

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since Jul 03, 2019
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dog forest garden homestead
I'm a wife, mom, realtor and fiber artist in Northeast Arkansas. My family and I have been involved with permaculture for the past 8 years, and lived in many climates around the country. We settled down here in Arkansas in an older neighborhood and are building our own little urban homestead. I am building my real estate business around helping people who want to practice permaculture on any scale buy and sell suitable properties, as there are so few realtors who have any clue about permaculture or good ecological design.
Northeast Arkansas
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Recent posts by Cathy Guidry

Travis that is so spot on about neighbors being part of the value of the property (for better or worse), especially in small towns or rural areas where you must rely on each other a lot.  We heard so many stories, good bad and ugly about neighbor experiences when we were attempting to settle down (ultimately unsuccessfully) in VT, and that is something that you can't put in a listing, but a realtor can discuss with their clients.  It's our job to provide the human touch and look out for our clients interest in a transaction, no matter how internet-based the business becomes.   We lived in the Mad River Valley for 2 years and then moved to Brattleboro/Putney area for a year.  Loved many things about VT but ultimately it was not workable for us for a variety of reasons.  Glad to find some other permies into Financial Peace out there!  
Thank you thank you thank you Travis for all this information.  I am so sorry you had a horrible experience with an unethical realtor...that is NOT how it's supposed to be!  And yes, I totally get everything you are saying about the difficulty in pricing a property, and the problems with lenders and appraisals.  Here in AR you cannot get an FHA loan for a property with peeling paint.  The paint has to be fixed before the loan can happen.  Now think about how many properties there are that are older, might make perfect permaculture retrofits (urban or rural) but that have peeling paint and a seller who maybe can't afford to fix all that, and the buyer can't get the loan until it's fixed...it's nuts.  I appreciate your taking the time to write all of this because it helps me learn how to better serve sellers like you and the kind of buyer you're looking for.  I have kind of realized that as Bill Mollison said, "if there's something you want to happen in your community and it isn't happening, someone is going to have to get off their arse and make it happen and it's probably going to be YOU!"  So I'm taking up that challenge!  I'm also starting a Financial Peace University class at our church to help people get away from having to use the banking system to purchase property.  My husband and I got debt-free 10 years ago and now we are mortgage-free (it's old, it's got peeling paint, it needs work, but it's ours and has a big yard for gardens!) and I am just shocked by how crazy the mortgage system is in this country.  I was shocked to learn that 97% of the mortgage loans in this country are government-backed, not conventional.  That means a lot of people can't even scrape together a 20% down payment and their home is 100% financed, and they are at the mercy of appraisers in the purchase process.  It's nuts.  If people could begin to detach from the need for so much financing, they would have more freedom about what they could buy.  So many invisible structures to change....
This is a great thread and thanks Michelle for your great explanation of why agents *can* be beneficial.  I'm a new realtor myself and as I've done my training and gotten into the business it is scary how many stories I've heard, from people (not realtors) of things that have gone VERY wrong because people did not use an agent or had a bad agent.  Michelle is absolutely right, it really depends on the agent.  Having bought and sold several homes ourselves in different states, and different types of properties, my husband and I have had good, bad, ugly and indifferent realtors.  But we would almost always use one for the many reasons that Michelle mentioned above, especially when we are doing a transaction in a state whose laws we aren't familiar with.  The job of any type of "agent", real estate or otherwise (my husband is an actor and has an agent) is to be an expert in the legal matters governing a particular area, a good negotiator, an effective marketer, and someone who generally handles all the annoying details you don't have time or expertise for and who is loyal to you exclusively and looks out for YOUR interests.  And for those efforts they get a commission.  In our experiences with GOOD agents, they've been well worth the fee.  

I am actually building my business around serving people interested in permaculture and homesteading and from what I hear and what I've experienced myself the main issues are a) finding a reputable realtor who takes their job of representing your interests seriously, and actually listens to what YOU want and need, as opposed to what they know and what's convenient for them  and b) finding a realtor who has a clue about permaculture and homesteading and likes working with clients who have these interests when buying/selling a property.  I know a lot of people who take a cookie cutter approach to real estate, they aren't the type of agent I'd want to work with myself, and not the type of agent I want to be.  

AND if you really really want to just do a deal directly without an agent, and you can find a buyer/seller who wants to do this too, then go for it.  Just do your legal homework, get surveys and inspections done and protect yourself.  
1 year ago
Thanks for the great feedback!  Pearl, Jeanne and Travis you all bring up great points that are getting my wheels turning....  It's becoming clear to me that the first step for me is optimizing my website so that other permies can find me through easily searchable keywords (permaculture, homesteading, etc.).  And then inputting listings with the appropriate keywords that signal permies that they are working with a permaculture-minded seller.  People are increasingly doing their property searches online and then only calling agents when they actually want to tour a property and do a transaction, so it seems that having a web marketing strategy that targets other permies would be optimal for a parcel like your 10 acres Travis...to the average buyer it looks like a problem but to a permie it's a dream, and it needs to be marketed in a way that helps your buyer find the needle in the haystack.  Some people would probably love to be off the electrical grid, it's just a matter of finding them.  I am also noticing that most of the listings I see are for rural properties...which is great, but after 3 years of trying to make a go of it in rural VT with a young child and having gone through some medical issues, my husband and I decided that the small-to-medium sized town was the right fit for us at our age (50-60 with a teenager), and moved to a city of about 70,000 in NE Arkansas, we are surrounded by rice and cotton farmers but there are a couple of decent hospitals and a university here, this is the only town of any size in our region and it's nice because it is not too big but we're not driving an hour to see a doctor or attend a dance class.  We purchased a 1930s cottage fixer-upper with a large lot in an older part of town that is beginning to have a resurgence, and are turning it into an urban homestead.  We found that a lot of families "hit the wall" with rural living when their kids became school aged and moved closer to towns for the educational opportunities and access to jobs that earned currency (which they found was still necessary despite their increased self-sufficiency).  The high cost of new construction and the scarcity of builders who have any clue about sound ecological design is also causing a lot of families with kids to reconsider retrofitting an already constructed home and yard to be more self-sustaining and beneficial to the overall ecosystem.  So I'm seeing a market with urban homesteaders in areas without HOAs that already have infrastructure installed, are walkable and have larger lots with the possibility for gardens.  Are you aware of the Strong Towns movement?  I am really geeking out on their content lately, lots of great information.  What I really want to do as an agent is help other permies find the scale/setting for permaculture that works for them individually, for some that's a farm or homestead away from town, for others it's transforming a town environment into a more ecologically sound system.  Thanks for listening to my brainstorming out loud....
I'm really excited to learn more about this topic.  
1 year ago
Thanks Thea for the great explanation of what we handwork teachers do!  Nicole, here is a link to the teacher training program I am enrolled in.  It's really a great program and I'm glad I am doing it, I worked as an assistant to the lead handwork teacher at my daughter's Waldorf school when we lived in CO and I loved it.  I wanted to get the certification so that I could be a lead teacher myself.  https://www.fibercraftstudio.org/applied-arts-program
Hi there my name is Cathy and I'm a real estate agent in Northeast Arkansas.  My family and I have been practicing permaculture for about 8 years and 2 years ago we bought an old house with a large yard in the center of town and are working on our urban homestead-in-progress.  I am new to real estate and interested in building a business that helps permies and other homesteaders buy and sell the kind of properties they are interested in.  I know I have been through a fair share of frustration myself dealing with realtors who just didn't "get it" and know how to search/market properties suitable for permaculture.  So are there any other permie realtors here?  Looking to connect with like minded folks.  
1 year ago
Hi all my name is Cathy and I'm a fiber artist in NE Arkansas.  I'm currently in a Waldorf Handwork Teacher training program and was wondering if there were any other handwork teachers out there?