Jennifer Mark & Mark Van Looy

San Mateo, Laurelwood/Sugarloaf | client since 2007

Purchaser at City & County of San Francisco | Chief of Household

What do you love about the Sugarloaf neighborhood?

One of the main reasons we moved down to San Mateo was for the weather; it’s much better than the Daly City fog. Sugarloaf is a very family-friendly and walkable neighborhood. Laurelwood Shopping Center is just a few minutes away; College of San Mateo is right there and they have a few events that are really good. The Saturday farmers market is really cool to go too.

We love that CSM is nearby too. There’s Jazz on the Hill every summer and they even have the planetarium show once a month. The other reason we moved down here is for the schools. We’re really happy with the schools in our district. They are very close by and there is fantastic parent participation and an amazing PTA.

How did you discover Sugarloaf?

We came down to the Highlands area to look at a specific house, but there were mostly Eichlers. We checked them out, and then moved on to some other neighborhoods and fell right into the Sugarloaf neighborhood, which has a little bit more up-to-date homes. I think they were built in the late ’70s or early ’80s, which was a little bit more modern for us.

Sugarloaf was much more appealing because it was so much more modern. We didn’t have to do any work to it. We had done so much more work to our Daly City home and thought we’d like to move into a turnkey house. The other appealing thing about this home was it was a really a nice open floor plan and that’s something that we were looking for.

I was kind of concerned about how close the houses were to each other, but it seemed to be no concern. We don’t hear the neighbors, and we’re in a nice corner space, and it’s been really convenient. We love entertaining, with the open floor plan, and having people be able to mill about with lots of space. It’s a really nice side yard, and a garden that was already established for us, so that was extra nice.

What was your experience like working with Raziel?

Harmonious. Working with Raziel was easy, pleasant, and simply harmonious. He was our advocate from start to finish and was consistently available to support us with his expertise in buying and selling our homes.

We met Raziel in a really interesting way. My dad was going to a number of open houses in San Mateo looking for a house for us. He met Raziel and was just enthralled! Raziel took the initiative to give us a call. We happened to be interviewing a number of agents at that time and we were just so happy with what Raziel had to offer, we hired him. We asked Raziel to sell our house in Daly City and help us find a house in San Mateo. We only had four or five weeks to get out of our Daly City house and into a new home, so it was really, really stressful for us. Raziel negotiated four weeks of rent back, included in the price for the sale of our home, so it allowed us a little bit more breathing room.

Double duty but he’ll do it for you! Raziel pretty much took the stress out of this for us. Any family to have to leave after four weeks or so could be pretty stressful, but he took care of us.

We were really happy to find this beautiful corner house in Sugarloaf and we fell in love with it. The bathrooms were redone, the floors were redone, and the windows were all redone. We were really happy to find this house! Raziel helped us negotiate the price and determine what the right bid was to put in for the house. And we won the bid!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

It's not a single accomplishment, but rather a culmination of moments as my family continues to achieve, succeed, and grow.

Pulling off a surprise marriage proposal at my own birthday party.

What was your childhood ambition?

To become a physical therapist specializing in sports medicine and more specifically rehabilitate members of the San Francisco 49ers (this was in the glory days of the 49ers). I think I may have actually solidified my decision after THE CATCH!

To become an actor. I was inspired by a children's comedy called "The Little Rascals (Our Gang) that originally aired in the late 30's. The re-runs played for many years after.

What is your favorite hidden gem?

Ono Hawaiian Restaurant in Honolulu, HI. It's a small hole in the wall with authentic Hawaiian cuisine. You'll find the best lau-lau and Haupia. If you've never had authentic Hasaiian cuisine, get on the plane and go try it now!

Arancina, Traditional Sicilian Pizza in Notting Hill London. We discovered this place as we walked by the window with a vintage,bright orange Fiat 500 car used as an unconventional display for the variety of pizza they were serving that day.

What is your biggest challenge?

Finding balance.

To avoid being reactionary.

What was your first job?

Wrapping holiday gifts for a neighbor when I was a kid. It was a fund holiday project and I got paid to do it!

The Parkway Movie Theater at the age of 11. I was lucky enough to work the candy counter (my older sister was the manager).

Who inspires you?

Athletes. In any sport, I truly love to watch the human element in both "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat". It inspires me to see athletes train, persevere, and have moments of incredible success.

My father.

What is your favorite movie?

Goodfelllas. I have seen the movie at least a hundred times, but there is something about that movie that I just can't resist.

Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

What is your favorite room in the house?

The kitchen. Our family loves to cook and eat, so we spend a lot of time creating and feasting.

The family room because I love to play with the kids and watch my favorite sports on TV.

What is your top bucket list item?

Seeing the Summer Olympic Games. I just have so much admiration for the talent, hard work, and dedication it requires to perform at that level.

Drive around the US in a RV and discover our nations gems.

What organizations do you love?

Peninsula Humane Society. I think they do such a great job of rescuing pets and finding the right adoption families for all their pets.

The PGA, NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA, SCCA, MLS, you get it....I love sports organizations. For Raziel, I also love the Burlingame Dragons.

Best advice you've received?

"Go with your gut", I can't adequately underscore the importance of your intuition.

"No matter how good you are, be humble"