A labor of love is a task or job not necessarily done for praise or rewards, but for one’s own personal enjoyment. That’s exactly what happens when you find your dream home and embark on the journey to make it your own. We interviewed Kelley Grealis, Union Home Mortgage Chief Compliance Officer, about her journey to find a house and make it her dream home.

  • What were your first thoughts when you first went on the search for houses to buy?

Location, Location, Location. Location was one of the most important factors when my husband and I were looking for places to live. We especially wanted a break on property taxes and a spot that wasn’t too bad of a commute from my job. I also wanted a house that wasn’t too big of an overhaul to remodel.

  • Out of all the houses you looked at, how did you know yours was the one?

I am a planner, so my husband and I had a list of all the things we wanted for our dream home. After a long search, we took a tour of a house and just knew it was the one – it checked off everything on our list! My husband knew it was the one when he saw the three-car heated garage; I knew when I saw the size of the pantry and the master bath. It was at that moment I knew it was the house for me.

  • How did you turn your house into a home?

Being the list lover that I am, I turned my house into a home keeping three simple words in mind: time, money, and vision, “It’s not what’s in the house but who’s in the house. The people turn the house into a home; it’s not materialistic. A home is a representation of the people in it and the love and values they share”.

  • Did you have a particular style you modeled your home décor after?

I am not into the whole home décor scene, spending hours and hours digging through magazines looking for the perfect pieces. I simply just pick what I like. However, when guest come into my house they describe it as contemporary, minimalistic, simple, streamlined, and clutter-free with a lot of touches of metal and glass.

  • Are you into to DIY projects and home renovations?

My husband and I did almost all of the renovations in our home together. I especially remember putting in the wood floors in the house and having to nail hundreds of thousands of nails by hand.

Renovation Realities: While renovating our home my husband was determined to do the tile work in our house on his on his own. I’m laughing as I recall the story because my husband was trying to grind down the cement powders himself but he forgot to seal the door-ways, which left our entire house an absolute mess. The dust went everywhere -upstairs and downstairs, in drawers and in cabinets and every nook and cranny in between. There is a lesson in every project, and it’s important to laugh and learn!

  • From your personal experience, would you like to share any tips for first time home buyers?
  • Know what your budget is and that includes your utilities and monthly mortgage payments. Don’t go “house poor”.
  • Stick to your budget; don’t look at any houses not in your budget.
  • Make sure you have a reserve slush fund for emergencies (e.g. broken furnace or a leaky roof, etc.)


Does Kelley’s story have you excited to find a dream home of your own? Contact the Housing Buzz team for professional guidance throughout your entire homeownership journey!