What do you love the most about your neighborhood?
Burlingame Village has so many great things to offer. Village Park, well kept homes, tree lined streets, easy walk to BART & CalTrain, easy walk to the Broadway Downtown area, quick and easy access to shopping amenities in Burlingame and Millbrae, easy freeway access, and it is one of the last neighborhoods in Burlingame going through gentrification so there is excellent opportunity for capital appreciation on the properties in Burlingame Village.
When we first moved in -- coming from San Francisco, where neighbors never really talk to each other -- right away we had neighbors introducing themselves. They were so excited because I was eight months pregnant and about to give birth, and we got all these presents for our little Hunter. Everyone was so welcoming, and so friendly, we felt like we were part of the family right away. When I first got here, we smelled this great, beautiful, amazing brownie smell. We thought, there’s a neighbor here that makes brownies! We need to find who this person is and see if they’ll make brownies for us, or at least give us the recipe. Then we found out it was just the chocolate factory [Guittard Chocolate, just across the way].
One of the other great things about Burlingame Village is having our own park here: Village Park. There are peewee soccer matches and all sorts of great and fun kids’ events all the time.
My experience working with Raziel to buy a home was:
We were both living in a small condo in San Francisco, and we naturally gravitated towards the peninsula. One of the things that was great was Raziel took us out on a peninsula tour and showed us micro-neighborhoods. Both of us grew up here in the Bay Area and we didn’t actually realize that there were micro-neighborhoods within each of the small towns along the peninsula.
We got to know some of the amazing neighborhoods in San Mateo, amazing neighborhoods in Millbrae, and of course, amazing neighborhoods in numerous places in Burlingame. Having an understanding of the small micro-neighborhoods and how different they were was important in our home search. We were informed and able to really hone in on the type of home that we wanted based on our budget. It also helped us become more realistic with what we could afford, set the expectations for what we might have to do if we needed to buy a fixer-upper, or whatever the case might be. We knew that we wanted to stay in close proximity to San Francisco, both for work and just the fact that we had both lived in the city for a long time and we wanted to maintain certain proximity. Our initial search included Marin County, as well as San Mateo County, along the peninsula. We really wanted to find neighborhoods that just felt right, felt homey, and neighborhoods and cities that had good school districts. That was really important, since we were going to be having a child and those factors really played heavily into our decision.
Transportation was an important aspect as well. We love Marin, but we realized that it was very limiting when you’re up there. Both of our jobs were always going to be either in San Francisco or along the peninsula. Burlingame really hit a lot of marks for us with the amazing schools and the amazing downtown areas. Having two downtown areas that are both great is a rare find, and. Almost all of the neighborhoods here in Burlingame are just incredible. It’s really nice to be able to walk down the streets and enjoy the area that you live in.
The best decision we ever made. While all our friends had complained that it took multiple offers to finally get a home, we got our dream home the first time we made an offer. Why? Because of Raziel. We had researched the Burlingame area for a couple of years before meeting with Raziel. We knew what we wanted and when we saw our home we were ready. Raziel told us exactly what we needed to do to get the house. He had us write a personal letter to the seller that came from our heart, complete a pre-offer home inspection, and multiple other things that impressed the seller. Plus, Raziel's great reputation and strong relationship with other brokers helped present us in the best light. We got the house over many other bidders and I strongly believe it was Raziel that make all the difference!
We first came across Raziel in a Yelp review. He had, 80 top five-star reviews by all these people, it was like, “Wow, who’s this guy? Why is everyone giving him rave reviews, I got to meet this guy!” We had a meeting with him, and right off the bat, the biggest smile and so friendly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be in a bad mood. Always super, super informative, friendly, welcoming and we were very comfortable with him. You feel like you’ve got a buddy right away. Raziel is very well informed about Burlingame because he grew up here, and of all the markets nearby. He spent so much time teaching us about all the neighborhoods and all the little cute submarkets within the neighborhoods; he walked us through the whole process. At first we were so nervous, we were thinking, how long is this going to take? I’m about seven months pregnant; I need a house in a month. How are we going to find a house that fast? And Raziel’s said, “You’ll have a house in less than six weeks”. I thought he was crazy. But sure enough, we kept looking at houses, we found the one that we knew right away we loved, and he got us completely prepared. He told us exactly what to do, including writing this personal letter about ourselves that really spoke to the seller, and all the things that you need to do in order to really have your offer shine. We did everything he asked, and sure enough, we got the house. It was all because of Raziel. We had our house, right before the baby was born. It was perfect timing.
What was the offer process like?
The great thing about having that home inspection is that Raziel was absolutely right that doing that before we even put an offer in really showed to the sellers that we were very serious. We were actually the only one out of six offers that did a home inspection before our offer. The home inspection, along with letter showed how much we wanted this house. All those factors that Raziel mentioned, we did them all, presented a package that was compelling and got the seller to pick us as the buyer.
Another thing about Raziel that is pretty incredible is unlike a lot of brokers who go through the transaction with you, you buy a house or sell a house and then they are gone. You never see them again until maybe seven years from now when they think you’re going to move or you’re your house again. Raziel has not done that! He is still around and inviting us to dinners, he’s coming to our parties; he’s bought my son a birthday gift. It’s really cool. He’s like a family friend. I would never have thought he would even care about us after the sale, but instead Raziel spends the time to build relationships with his clients. He really cares, and it’s really nice. Raziel is definitely a family member; he’s part of the family.
Going through this process, it’s obviously a sizable purchase. Raziel connected us with a great home inspector who was absolutely amazing. He was supposed to spend an hour, but ended up spending over half the day combing every inch of the house. He wrote an extremely detailed report that gave us the confidence that we were buying a property that we knew every single thing about, including a basic plan of little improvements we should make in the next year or so. He was so detail-oriented and found all sorts of things that were quick and easy fixes, and things that we then requested the seller’s agent to fix before we took over the property. Things were fixed within 24 hours. Everything was taken care of. We’ve been absolutely happy with the purchase, the home was in excellent condition, and there have been no issues that we’ve not expected.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
The birth of our son and becoming parents.
What was your childhood ambition?
Skiing in the Winter Olympics.
What is your favorite gem?
The curvy street on the back side of Potrero Hill in San Francisco. Very few people know there are two streets like that in the city. Most only know about the famous section of Lombard Street.
What is your biggest challenge?
Saying no to chocolate chip cookies.
What was your first job?
Flipping burgers as Wendy's.
What inspires you?
Nature. It's amazing ability to evolve and the sheer beauty of it never ceases to inspire.
What is your favorite movie?
Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What is your favorite room in the house?
Our family room / kitchen. Where life happens.
What is your top bucket list item?
A scuba diving trip to the Maldives or skydiving over the Great Pyramids in Egypt. I'm not sure where the idea for the second originated, but I thought of it when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure it's illegal...but it still sounds awesome!
What organizations do you love?
Disabled Sports USA Far West. I was a volunteer assistant ski instructor for them for many years. I'm also a fan of any organization that strives to save the environment or looks out for the rights and welfare of animals (wild and domestic) around the globe.
What is the best advice you've received?
Never stop learning.
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