Where did you grow up?
Emily grew up in Palo Alto and Adam grew up in Dallas, Texas. Emily went away to the midwest for college but always knew she'd come back home. Adam moved to the bay area for college and knew after about the first week that he never wanted to leave. We met in grad school at UC Berkeley and have spent the last nine years bumping around the bay area until we finally bought our first house in San Mateo. We love everything about the bay area (well, except the house prices :) - the weather, the culture, the proximity to wine country and Tahoe, and the fact that we have so many friends and family here.
What do you love the most about the San Mateo Terrace/Beresford neighborhood?
We love everything about our neighborhood! First, everyone is so friendly - almost all the neighbors on our street came by and introduced themselves within the first month of us moving in. The walkability is also fantastic; there are always people strolling to the three or four parks in our area, and it's easy to walk to shops on 25th ave, Hillsdale Mall, grocery stores and the weekly farmer's market. Finally, the weather is fantastic - not too hot or too cold - and we're within easy driving distance to downtown San Mateo or Redwood City, and only 30-40 minutes from SF.
What was your journey like buying a home?
We had been renting a one bedroom apartment in Menlo Park while we were both postdocs, but when Adam got a job in South SF we decided to move to the peninsula. We were also about to add a third member to the family, so it was clear we would need to upgrade our space. At first we looked at everything from condos to single-family homes, from Half Moon Bay to Foster City. We spent a couple of months going to open houses on our own and getting a sense of what we did and didn't like, but our knowledge of the various neighborhoods wasn't granular enough until we starting working with Raziel, who really helped us narrow down our search and take the steps we needed to be able to put down an offer. Once we committed to a budget that let us look seriously at single-family homes in the San Mateo/Beresford Park area, we were able to be much more efficient with our weekends. We went to probably a half dozen open houses before we found our current house. We knew as soon as we saw it on the MLS that it was a front runner, so we took a little time off work to check it out before the official open house the following weekend. And just like that, we got the disclosure package, put down an offer, sweated for a couple of days, and then it was accepted!
What surprised you the most about the home buying process?
We never thought we'd end up the Beresford Park area - it wasn't on our radar at all when we first started looking, but Raziel brought it to our attention, drove us around the area, and we loved it. We were also fully expecting to put down many offers and get rejected many times, since that's what has happened to many of our friends. Instead, our very first offer was accepted, in large part because Raziel did a great job of managing our expectations about what kind of offer would be required to be successful.
Our experience working with Raziel was: ___________
Raziel explained that we needed all our funding approved ahead of time, with conditional underwriting approval, that we needed to write our offer without contingencies, and that we had to be ready for a 15 day close. And when the time came to write down a number, Raziel made sure we were fully aware that we'd have to go way above asking to get the house. When we saw a house we liked, he'd tell us straight whether it was even worth considering based on our budget. As he always reminded us, "list price doesn't matter. market price matters". He didn't sugar coat the reality, and we really appreciated that. Throughout the whole process, Raziel struck the perfect balance between being friendly and professional. He was always informed, always happy to answer questions, and never made us feel rushed or unimportant. We're extremely glad we decided to work with him.
Which is your favorite room in the house?
We love our family room - it's the coziest room in the house.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Well we're about to have a little girl, so that will probably take the cake as soon as it happens, but for now it's getting our PhDs!
What is your top bucket list item?
One day we want to take a sailboat around the world. #2 bucket list item is learn to sail.
What is your biggest challenge?
Walking into and out of Home Depot without buying anything.
What was your childhood ambition?
Emily wanted to be a professional soccer player and Adam wanted to be a Jedi.
What was your first job?
Adam was a waiter at a mall cafe/chocolate shop, and Emily was a camp counselor.
What is your favorite hidden gem?
25th Avenue in San Mateo - It's only a few blocks from our house, and we walk down there at least once a week to pick up sushi, go to one of the Italian restaurants, or get pho. It's the perfect spot for a casual weeknight dinner.
What is your favorite movie?
Adam likes Dirty Dancing, and Emily is a huge fan of Jurassic Park. Or vice versa.
What organization do you love?
We love the Cal Academy of Sciences (and it's where we got engaged!), and Emily worked at the San Jose tech museum, which is a great way to introduce kids to science.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Terry Prachett said it best, "Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life". But seriously, one of our grad school professors told us "learn to fail as quickly as possible", and that's stuck with us.