Alexandria Realtor, client share story of being on HGTV's 'House … – Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — Last fall, Alexandria Realtor Becca Wesley decided she wanted to start focusing on video marketing. She began posting videos on the social media platform, TikTok. She started following some other real estate agents, including some well known agents in the nation.
There was one agent in particular, Wesley said, who had shared that she was going to be doing a new reality TV show about a day in the life of real estate agents. That piqued Wesley’s interest.
About two weeks after seeing that information, Wesley received a vague email about a TV show and thought maybe it was that show, but she also thought it might be a scam. She was leery and cautious, but still responded back.
Wesley, who is an agent at Kvale Real Estate in downtown Alexandria, reached out to a client, Nicole Perez . She said Perez, who was in the market for a house, had a great story to share, but she had to check with her to see if it was OK to not only share her story, but also some photos.
Perez was on board with whatever Wesley wanted to do because she wants to share her story in hopes that it helps others.
Wesley submitted what she needed to submit and at the time, still did not know what TV show it was. The two of them – Wesley and Perez – went through an interview process where they had to fill out questionnaires and then were asked to do a video interview through Zoom.
Wesley and Perez learned that the TV show was the very popular House Hunters show on HGTV . The show spotlights real estate agents working with clients in the buying process. Typically, the selection is narrowed down to three and throughout the process of the show, the agent helps the clients choose the perfect home.
“We both were in shock,” said Wesley. “We thought, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’
It ended up being another two weeks before the two of them knew for sure that they had been chosen and were going to be doing the show.
“It was like, we’re really doing this,” Wesley said. “In real estate, we get so much scammy stuff, but these people never asked for any information that we weren’t comfortable giving and we were talking to and seeing real people.”
They found out that their episode would air on Wednesday, March 8. The newspaper wasn’t able to find out what they thought of the episode as the newspaper went to print before the show was set to air.
But they did say that the show was filmed in October.
Throughout the filming, both Perez and Wesley said the production crew was very professional and they had a lot of fun working with them. Perez noted that they brought multiple outfits with them each day because she and Wesley couldn’t clash and the fabrics had to be just right for filming. “I showed up one day in a plaid shirt and was told that it wasn’t going to work so I had to change.”
One of Perez’s main challenges in finding a home was that she was using a USDA loan. Those loans, Wesley said, help clients because they don’t need to put any money down and they have lower interest rates and most often, the loan is for 33 years instead of 30 years. It helps to lower their monthly payment, she said. Homes also have to go through a rigorous inspection process, she said. They can’t have any safety issues and no issues that would be expensive or detrimental to the buyer, said Wesley.
She also said the down side to USDA loans is that for sellers, “cash is king,” followed by conventional loans, then FHA loans and a couple others. USDA loans for a seller are at the bottom of the pile and in a hot market, that can make it hard to find a home, she said.
Perez added, “With USDA homes, you can’t have a home that is above and beyond the means of your family.”
She also added that Wesley “was amazing” throughout the whole process and was “super helpful.”
One thing that may have helped Perez’s case, Wesley said, is that she wrote a “love letter” to the sellers. They were unsure if that part of her story would make it into the show. Wesley said with love letters, basically the buyer, in this case Perez, writes a letter telling the sellers why they should pick her. Wesley said she often doesn’t suggest for buyers to write letters, but in this case, it seemed fitting.
“This is an emotional process and we, as real estate agents, have to keep everyone level so they can make logical decisions,” said Wesley. “In this case, it was so important for the sellers to know her story. I wanted to do what was best for my client.”
Perez, 35, a single mom to a 14-year-old son, Jaxon, is a recovering meth addict who was involved in a domestic abuse relationship. Her fiance was also an addict. She said he had “more good than bad in his core.” However, it was the addiction and not taking care of his mental health that “created the monster that consumed him in the end.”
After an incident last year, he was arrested and taken to jail. He had been in jail two days before being taken to court. After his court hearing, Perez said his mental health issues got the better of him and he ended up dying by suicide.
She wished he could’ve gotten the help he needed.
“Getting help is not a weakness,” said Perez. “Being vulnerable to your issues and getting the help that is needed is a real strength.” She couldn’t reiterate that more, that mental health issues are real, on the rise and that it’s OK for people to ask for help.
After his death and because her name was not on the house they purchased together or on her vehicle, she ended up losing both and was not only in the market for a house, but also a vehicle. She worked with the Car Care Program in Douglas County to get a car and then worked with Wesley to purchase her house.
But her story really started several years ago.
She started using drugs at the age of 17. It wasn’t until she was 28 when she got sober. And it was all because a social worker gave her another chance.
Perez said she has been in and out of treatment centers and never really wanted to change. She had always been forced to go to treatment and that it had never been her decision.
Until she almost lost her son and the social worker gave her one last chance.
“I had lost everything,” said Perez. “I lost my job, I lost my car, my home, my license, everything. I had brought Jaxon to live with his grandparents.”
She said the social worker opened a case against her and was going to terminate her rights.
This devastated her and she said she didn’t take the news very well.
“I tried to kill myself,” Perez said.
Then, after a series of events, including a heart-to-heart talk with a law enforcement officer who pulled her over, but didn’t bring her to jail, and one more visit with the social worker, Perez found her way to another treatment center. This time, however, it was her decision to go.
“I just kind of kept my head down, didn’t get involved with anyone there because I just wanted to get sober. My mindset had changed,” she said, adding that she just wanted to do what was right and make sure she didn’t lose Jaxon.
She remembers the day her social worker told her she was giving her another chance and that she wasn’t going to lose Jaxon. “I actually fell down,” she said. “Crying to the ground. I completely lost it, my legs went completely weak and I just fell to the ground.”
After Perez successfully completed treatment, she knew she wasn’t ready to go home quite yet, so she checked herself into a halfway house. From there, she moved to Journey Home in St. Cloud, which is a place for women and children. After that, she chose to go to Domus, which is transitional housing that is run through Catholic Charities out of St. Cloud. After that, she moved into her own apartment in Sauk Rapids.
Shortly after, she and her fiance moved to Alexandria and they bought a house together. While she was getting sober, he was in prison in Faribault. That was about six years ago.
The move to Alexandria, however, was a good thing for Perez as she ended up going to Alexandria Technical and Community College where she graduated with honors, getting her accounting degree. She said she was on the dean’s list all four semesters.
While going to school, she was a waitress at a restaurant in town. Eventually, she got a job at SunOpta where she has now been working in the supply chain department for almost four years.
Now she has a house for herself and her son. She said it was something she wanted to do for him, to give him stability.
“This is the first time that I’ve actually ever provided a roof over my son’s head by myself,” she said. “It feels good. It makes me feel awesome. I hope that my son feels relief and that he knows that everything I do, I do for him. I just want him to know that he can do anything he puts his mind to. Anyone can do anything they put their mind to with hard work and determination. I constantly tell him I want him to be the change that he wants to see in the world. But how am I supposed to teach him that without me doing it first?”


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