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This week on the MilHousing Nation Podcast, Ashley Peebles sits down with Lauren Straub, to discuss her experiences as a client of Milhousing Network, and how the real estate agents help her find her new home.

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realtors, tampa, phil, home, house, housing, husband, military, knowing, hospital, dana, details, literally, pete, hiney, people, world, pcs, life, podcast

Lindsey Litton  00:07

Welcome to the Milhousing nation podcast where we bring you stories from real military spouses who have been in your shoes. From New spouses to veteran spouses. You’ll get tips, tricks, and actionable steps that can help you along your military life journey. This episode is brought to you by armed forces insurance. Armed Forces Insurance offers personal insurance options specifically designed for military families. To learn more, visit them online at or give him a call at 1-800-313-1936. Now, here’s Ashley Peebles.

Ashley Peebles  00:46

Welcome everyone to the Milhousing nation podcast. My name is Ashley Peebles, and I’m super duper super stoked to introduce you to my guest today. Because my guest today is honestly, I don’t even know, Lauren, if we should tell them how long we’ve been friends, because it really dates our faces. So we might have to just say, you know, 20 ish years, we’ll just put 20 don’t care. And then we’ll just leave the rest as it is. But she is a really, really old friend. We went to college together. And crazily enough. I mean, as God would have it, we end up marrying almost the same exact man as Air Force standards go. And what I mean by that is they both joined the military. They were commissioned within one day of each other, and they have the exact same career field the same. I mean, everything throughout. So so funny when Lauren and I started talking at our first duty stations. I was like, so what is your husband, James does and she was like, Oh, he’s in calm. I was like, oh, Daniel is too. And then so we got to talk and it’s been so fun to move through our military journey together. Because we know that when one’s up for promotion, the other is, so we need double prayers. So my sweet sweet Lauren strong. Welcome to the meal housing nation podcast. Thank you so much for the help this evening.

Lauren Straub 02:15

Well, thank you for inviting me. I get a break from Munchkins for a few minutes.

Ashley Peebles  02:20

Well, that’s a perfect segue. So how many Munchkins are running around in your house? Tell us about your family.

Lauren Straub 02:27

So we have six Munchkins here. And they range from 13 to three. My man child is my oldest. Nobody warned you about boys, teenage boys is always the girls. But he’s amazing. So we have two boys and four girls. And our girls, I can only imagine when they’re teenagers. I might need to go like on some vacations or something. But they’re they’re amazing. They are my world they are. They’re the greatest thing I could have ever imagined having in my life. And the days are long. They are literally like, my dreams come true that I never even dropped. So then my sexy man. I can’t say his name. Right. So I’m not gonna say it is my world. He’s a pain in my hiney. But he is. He’s my best friend. He hasn’t arrived.

Ashley Peebles  03:20

I love it. So how long have you and James been in the Air Force?

Lauren Straub 03:27

So, together, we’ve been in it for 16 years. He Yeah, together 16 years. He got commissioned like a year before. But you know, it didn’t start until I came along. So

Ashley Peebles  03:41

absolutely. I mean, the party doesn’t start until you show up right after I followed along all the years. So I know you guys have been stationed all over before we get into this last move, which is why we’re talking to you. Where has been your favorite duty station?

Lauren Straub 03:57

Oh, goodness gracious. This is gonna sound crazy. like this because I’m crazy. I so eat there. This is crazy. Either Maxwell and Alabama. Yeah. Or this is insane. JB MDL in New Jersey, and we were there twice. The first time around. I was like, I don’t ever want to come back here. And we wound up getting emergency efmp for one of our medically medically fragile daughter with two weeks notice. And the second time around, we didn’t want to leave. It was just amazing. Um, and my husband’s from Jersey. he’s a he’s a jersey boy. So for him it was you know, it’s home and it gets crazy. I’m like, how in the world could I don’t know. I thought we went to these grand amazing places. Right? But

Ashley Peebles  04:50

yeah, I know his axe was close to your home. So I can see one New Jersey and in Alabama. I can see why those would be your favorites. But it is so hard. Like you join the military to see the world and you think it’s going to be these outlandish places. I know that you were stationed in Tampa. And that happens. I’m personally I know that that was your least favorite place that you’ve been stationed. So most people think, oh, Florida weather Florida, sunrises, sunsets, the ocean. But at the end of the day, all of this really is about our family Anyway, you know, this is about making sure that they are taken care of. So I’m so glad to hear that two bases that you don’t hear often as being the Favorites or your favorites.

Lauren Straub 05:32

Well, it’s crazy. You said that about me being close to home, because I never I never put that together. And you know, we’re we’re two hours away from home from Atlanta. So yeah, but I mean, and nobody could pay me enough money back to Tampa, which is crazy. Everybody’s different. But those that’s one of those places. And same thing with California. It’s just different situations. But yeah, I mean, we’ve gone places that I wouldn’t imagine loving. But places that I could totally see us if we ever moved, which we’re not. If we ever moved again saying like, yo, we could call that home, you know?

Ashley Peebles  06:04

So tell me, I know that you got in contact with the mill Housing Network, in order for your last PCs. So you were in Tampa, and could not wait to get out. I know. So you guys just PCs too.

Lauren Straub 06:19

So we just PCs to Pittsburgh, obviously, we’re not attached to a state of duty station here. And so my husband has command that they look at, at Pitt, University of Pittsburgh, and, and so it was a little bit overwhelming, and not having the military spouses to, you know, because normally you can find the Facebook groups and all that the support groups being like, hey, so my family’s moving into this area. And, you know, this is our dynamic and this and that, and that’s not really the sound option here. And don’t get me wrong, my husband was like, this was his number one. As far as you know, detachments went because, you know, to the Children’s Hospital, we, we, that’s really important for us. And so he was stoked, and he is so excited. And I’m sitting there, like, okay, we’re 1000 miles away. Like, how are we going to find folks who can really truly help us out? And yeah, so it was a little bit stressful, and, and that aspects, but then literally, having, having realtors, that could be our eyes and our smell lawyers and our feelings and our, our touch. I mean, literally, like, I’m that person, like, I need you to explain smell to me. Like, I’m serious. So that was the lesson for us. Huge.

Ashley Peebles  07:42

I’ll tell you. So just like you said, a lot of times you move from base to base. And you just ask a friend who was there? I don’t know, eight years ago, Hey, where are the great places? Where should we not live? Is there a toxic waste up behind this house? You know, is this a great school, but moving to one, you know, PCs going somewhere where there’s not a base to where not a lot of military families have been? I’m so thankful that there is a male Housing Network that you could get linked up with someone. But let’s put on top of that, that I personally know that you were house hunting from the hospital. So from the hospital, you were introduced to your realtor, she had two of them, right?

Lauren Straub 08:24

Yes. So he, Phil, and Dana, they, you know, they have business partners, they were married, decided to go to wall for that. So they went separate ways. But they are an incredible team. And it worked beautifully. And the day before I got hospitalized, Phil, pee I’m sorry. I really

Ashley Peebles  08:45

want to tell everyone why you call him Pete slash Phil.

Lauren Straub 08:49

Oh, okay. So when they were showing us houses in the hospital when I was in the hospital exam, and Phil took me and Dana took my husband. And they went separate directions in the houses because my husband’s one he just, he just needs the basics he needs he just needs he just needs it. And I’m like, I need you to tell me what it smells like. I know Wait, I need to turn the camera up. I need what kind of LOD is that? What was the ceiling like I am? Yeah. Details. Okay. The entire time of them showing us houses. And like, six hours in a day. I’m not joking. I I must have called him miss Kahn. Phil. I’m not joking. At least 300 times and he did not skip a beat. Not once. And I didn’t even know it until later on. My husband was saying he’s a Pete I go, who in tarnation is Pete? He’s like, Lauren or realtor. And I was like, Oh, my word.

Ashley Peebles  09:49

What you’re talking about the guy I was talking to his name’s Phil.

Lauren Straub 09:54

He didn’t even he didn’t even pause like there wasn’t even a skipping his beat. It’s just like he just went with it because I would have felt horrible. And then afterwards, I’m just laughing. I’m like, yo, so clearly Your name is Phil now. He still to say it. I mean, I call it foo. That’s just he knows. It’s cool.

Ashley Peebles  10:09

That’s fantastic. Okay, so they split up in the house and they went two different directions. So was that, okay? You’re in the hospital. So there’s one you’re on medication. But it’s also because you and your husband, just few things like you need to know different things. Right? So when you were talking to the realtors in the beginning, James probably told them, oh, I need this many bedrooms, this many bathrooms, right? And then you told them what

Lauren Straub 10:34

I was like, Okay, so I’m gonna interrupt real quick. And I’m not trying to overwhelm anybody as if I shouldn’t give you my thoughts here. So while he’s telling you, we need this many bedrooms and bathrooms, okay, we need like, lots of sunlight, we need natural light, we need lots of windows, we need open floor plan space, you know, we need division, but not closure. We you know, and just talking about the different things like that we, you know, that we truly needed whereas I think this is a big military thing as well. It’s like, see a need fill a need? Well, does it fill the need, it fills a need, but is it the best that could fill that need. And being a stay at home Mama, and, and our walls pretty much literally being our 24 seven, because of our amazing Eva girl. And, you know, John’s has gone miss a time. I mean, normally despite COVID um, and he’s so he’s not in these walls all the time. And he doesn’t have to think about this is a world for us. This isn’t just, it’s not just like, Come eat to eat your meals, sleeping in your bed. Like this is literally this is this is our world. So, you know, Phil’s out there. And he’s like, You’re exactly what I am trying to push out of my clients, like for four months on like, searching for homes, because like, I need the details. And I’m sitting there like, you hear that bit. You hear that? Yeah, you get cuz because everyone like, cuz I can waste some breath with me wrong. But he’s like, I’m what he needs. I’m what realtors need they need, they need to have the details. Like instead of setting them up for all this, like seeing them in countless houses where it’s like, I don’t want anything of that. Like, he’s like, I just worked off like 20 something houses I had in mind. I’m like, we just saved ourselves some time.

Ashley Peebles  12:22

I think. Brilliant. And when you and I were talking about this, and you told me that, you know, James said this many bedrooms, this many baths, and then you went into detail and they appreciated it. I think it’s so important to say that on this podcast, because I’m someone crazily enough, I know that I’m a talking head. But for a living like this is what I do. However, I use less words, Daniel uses more words. And but here’s the thing, I know exactly what I want. But I was using less words because I didn’t want to be a pain in the butt. And I thought if I got out and I said, Oh, I need this and this and this and this and this, that they’re gonna roll their eyes and pick up you can’t get everything that you want silly Ashley. So that’s how I viewed it. But once I realized that the more information I can give them of what I need my needs, but what what is a non negotiable? And what is something I really like? And maybe something that’s awesome, but it’s not a you know, I don’t have to have it. Once I realized the more information I gave them, the easier their job was, the less houses those sweet people have to traipse me through. And truthfully, they’re sometimes you can you know what I heard that, you know, if it’s your house within eight seconds of walking in, really you find I mean? No, I guess I should say this, could you get the real true experience with them taking you through via FaceTime and zoom.

Lauren Straub 13:52

But all things considered and considering I was like, on a lot of medication, like two weeks in the hospitals a really long time and I was really sick, okay. Um, but not mental sick. Like I literally was sick. I mean, people that she, she, um, they truly like, he walked in, I was like, immediately you can see the kitchen that was like, that’s kind of like yes. And, and I forgot, like our number one thing, which drives did tell him. But our number one thing, which most people are like, are you serious, is something that we realized in Tampa, we moved three times in Tampa and our last move. And our last move was for 10 months. And it was, Praise Jesus, we’re never going back. But we didn’t have backups. And we learned and realized that I’m a person that I need to soak in a tub when I get really stressed or just need a break or whatever. And like a bathtub that doesn’t have jets because I get kind of queasy about that stuff. Yeah, but the very, very first thing he said to him was like, you know, our number one We need a soaking tub without jets. And so about Caitlyn long did like 20 something that he’s like, yeah, just crosses off my list. You know? That’s it we could have budge on right? We could that was when we could not budge on qui at it. Sure. But guess what? That was something we’re like, no, the house doesn’t have it. It’s not our house. And so yeah, I could I mean, I could all things considered. Yeah, I could see it. And especially since I was like, yo, go, like, you know, like, really Pete, but, but I’m gonna go Can Can you show me that? I mean, does that open? Like, it’s like a bread cabinet? I’m like, is that really open? Does it work? Oh, that’s so cool. Like, you know, but he did everything. And when he was going to the kitchen, I go, can you show you the backyard view? Like from the windows? Like, I’m not talking about that? I want to see it from the windows, like, what could I see from different places? And he humored me in every single one. He’s like, absolutely. And that wasn’t it. I mean, for me, being 1000 miles away, in the hospital, in the middle of COVID. And truly, like, scared out of my mind with how sick I was. And knowing that there was a good chance my family was going to leave Tampa without me because my husband had orders. And I was sick. And the surgeons and everybody are like, you know, you may not be able to leave with them. And I was a wreck. And but knowing that, even if I couldn’t leave with them that we found a home our home that they could call home and know that like, this is ours, right? I mean, that was really where I was. And so they, yeah. Yeah, we’re grateful. I love it.

Ashley Peebles  16:40

I personally cannot wait until Pete hears this podcast. Like, I’m so excited. He’s gonna share it on. Hi, I’m just so I was so excited to see that you were on my schedule, considering I’ve known you for so long. But also because I knew that this was something that people needed to hear a military family in a not great situation in Tampa, a house that was killing you a house that did not fit your family’s needs. And that your situation in Tampa, which we don’t have to get into that but your situation in Tampa of a home that was not good for your family, dangerous for your family, even it made the search for your real home. Even more important, and I can’t imagine trying to find a house 1000 miles away from the hospital, not knowing the area not near a military base without having incredible realtors. But then knowing that they come vetted by the middle Housing Network, know that they are connected to the military. All of those things had to just give you you know, a peace about it that you were in good hands. And when you can’t do it yourself, knowing that you’ve got someone with your best interests at heart that’s willing to bend over backwards to show you the light fixtures, show you the Breadbox and show you the views from inside the kitchen. That is something that I don’t think people fully understand. But in this COVID environment where you can’t travel around, a lot of people are going to feel like you felt maybe they’re not in the hospital. But they’re 1000 miles away from somewhere. And you can’t just traipse on over and grab the mask and go in anywhere these days. So I do think it’s so important for people to hear your experience, tell them the extra details, asked to see the view from the kitchen window. Those are really big things. Because what I would hate is to show up to Pittsburgh, if I were you get to Pittsburgh, and you see the outside of the house and the outside of the house looks just like the picture. But the inside only the good parts. Because I just bought a house. And if I had bought my house only by pictures, the majority of it I would have still been gloriously excited about but not in the pictures with a hunter green bathroom and a pink bathroom. They don’t show you the ugly parts. So it’s up to us. And it’s up to our realtors to investigate to dig in to figure out what those things are because no house is perfect. Right. So is there anything else from this experience? Anything that you learned anything that you want to share about your experience working with the meal Housing Network realtors?

Lauren Straub 19:25

Well, I think like you’re talking about Tampa, and you know, again, our last time I mean, within 30 days of moving in it was deemed uninhabitable when is a seven year old home that we were promised was safe prior and promised all this stuff was done that just wasn’t done. And so I’m a detail person anyway, it’s just important to that’s just how I’m wired. Like, you can’t just say Oh, it’s a cookie. Well I need to know is like is it is it chunky like chocolate chip cookie? Like I’m just I drive my husband nuts. Okay, um, but he loves me. And so with this situation from Tampa, we are dealing with serious, serious dangerous mold and infestation and really high co2. Really, really high. Humidity in our home and list goes on and on really dangerous, dangerous things. So something for us as I was like, Listen here, I was like, seriously, like, Phil Miller, I was like, Listen, I’m not joking around, like, it has to have all the tests. And before we will sign anything, like, and he’s like, Well, what do you mean? And I was like, No, I’m not joking. Like, we need to have a full air quality test done, like professional high quality, where they are testing for all the things like in our 15 minute period testings. And

Ashley Peebles  20:44

let me interrupt one second, because I want our listeners to understand that you do have a medically fragile daughter that in the wrong situation. Her life is in danger. So it’s not just you going into a house and being a normal homebuyer that’s being picky. This is this is, you know, this is like, for your, for your baby. So I’m sorry, keep going? No,

Lauren Straub 21:08

I mean, we’ve, we’ve literally fought with every breath for the past eight years, she has turned eight on January 7, and we were told she would never see her first birthday. And they were wrong in so many ways. And we have fought with every breath we have, and every beat and every beat we possess, for her life, and not just the life of living but a life of abundance. And so I’ll be darned if, you know, I’m not going to ask the questions. And I met Personally, I don’t wanna be a pain in the hiney. I say sorry, way too much. I’m like, Can I add one more because I get stressed about that stuff. I don’t want to inconvenience folks. Like, you have to understand like, I’m a detail person. But I’m also one that I am so sensitive. It’s a really weird mixture. Okay. But I don’t mean, I don’t want to hurt folks, I don’t wanna be a pain in the hiney I don’t want to be that one that like, Oh, my word, she is so annoying, like less, but I don’t be that person. And then I think about my little girl that with every breath that she has, and every beat that she that she pumps that she’s literally fighting for her life. And I know the situation that Tampa put her in and all of us and and it threatened a lot and a lot his life. stuff can be replaced. Life can’t. And so they are wonderful in that. I was like, we need a full blown air quality tests, you know, 15 minute increments, they have to be accredited. They have to add this, this this. I need someone to come in and do this testing in this testing. And without pause. He’s like, Okay, I gotta wait. Like, I need to know who they are first like, and it was boring because I’m in hospital by going. Listen, I’m not trying to be a jerk. Like, it’s easy to say okay, but I want to be able to research who they are to make sure they’re accredited. And I don’t and he he didn’t even bat an eye. Like, he was like, I’ll get to you within like an hour. And it was like 30 minutes. But no, and there are a couple of things that you know, like our our radon was high, and they installed a fence there wasn’t a fan for the radon. And then they retested not once but twice to ensure that it was completely safe. And just big things because it’s like, Listen, this isn’t just a house. This is our home. This is her world until she’s strong enough and healthy enough to go out into the world which will happen and that’ll be here in Pittsburgh and I’m telling you good old Phil be by our side. You know, just watch out world Phil it was whenever he showed us the basket. I go Okay. Can you get in there? Cuz like I’m tall. Okay, I’m five nine. I’m not Ashley I’m not small and petite like UK. I’m a five nine mama right. And so when I think it was soaking tub, I’m like, I need to soak my body in this. And he nixing You know, he had his booties on his shoes the whole time. He’s like, he just jumps on, he gives me this comfort.

Lauren Straub 24:09

And I don’t wait to meet Phil, I’m gonna come visit and we’re gonna go out to dinner.

Lauren Straub 24:15

I am telling you he is like him and Dana are just, they. They were such blessings in a time where there were so much uncertainty. And buying a home is terrifying. And it’s exciting. But it’s also terrifying. And then buying a home that you’re planning to beat your forever. I mean, roots for Munchkins, I mean, this is our 13th move in 15 years, like our eighth grader just went to his eighth school. And like we were like, We want them to have roots. We want them to spread out here. And so for us, there are so many factors at play, but knowing that we had folks in our corner knowing that it wasn’t just like Facebook mamas that were like, Oh, we had a horrible experience here. Great. So we didn’t have that. But we had, you know, we had we had Phil and Dana and, and they were wonderful.

Ashley Peebles  25:10

Alright, so if anyone’s listening, and you’re moving not just to the Pittsburgh area, but your PCs in anywhere, it doesn’t have to be to a base like the shrubs. It could be anywhere. mil Housing Network is a network of pre vetted realtors all over the country, they have been put through the wringer to make sure that they are super duper in the know, on every in and out of the VA, as a matter of fact, they have to have a certain percentage of their business be VA loans, because so many of the military, we’re going to use it, it’s one of our great benefits. But also, they just make sure that these are great people, and that when you are matched up with them, you’ve got a friend there, your first friend, at your new duty station, they’re your first friend at your new home. There’s someone that can crawl into bathtubs for you. There’s someone that if you’re there forever, I bet you Pete and Dana, are going to be there when Avery graduates from high school. I just think it’s so important for us not to get ourselves stuck in a house with a landfill behind us because you don’t see that on the MLS. Or somewhere where it smells bad, like Lauren was talking about outside the house or just somewhere that you’re not going to be fully happy. I’m someone our family motto is maximize life. It’s what we believe in is what we live with every breath and every beat of our heart, we believe that we need to maximize this one life that we’re given. So even if you’re somewhere for 10 months, why not make it the very best possible 10 months that you can have. So make sure that you go to the middle housing, the middle Housing Network, Facebook pages, we’ve got several of them, we’ve got one page, that’s things you wish you knew before you PCs, what a great website is that? Now it’s awesome. We’ve got movie night pages where you can go in and you can get a movie night box for your whole family and watch movies with all of these people all over the country and we play games throughout. Then you’ve got just the regular middle Housing Network sites in the big hubs all across the country. Or you can visit mil housing Either way, we’re so excited that you’re listening to our podcast and we hope that we can match you with a pre vetted REALTOR with your next booth. Thank you so much, my dear friend Lauren, for being thankful that you found your perfect forever home and I can’t wait to come visit it.

Lauren Straub 27:34

And y’all better come and tell you otherwise, we’re gonna have to walk some homies. We’ll be there

Ashley Peebles  27:38

Y’all make sure you subscribe to the podcast and we’ll see you next week. Thank you for listening to the male housing nation podcast. To connect with no Housing Network, visit us online at m i l housing

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