Everyone has a story. The experiences that have shaped us into the people that we are now and often times, what we choose to do as a career. I too have a story that I would like to share with you about why I do what I do.

Sue’s Story – Why I do What I do

My parents have been tied to agriculture all their lives, as apple farmers and then grape farmers in Sebastopol. In the 70’s, my dad always dreamt of moving back to the family farm that he grew up on and when I was 4 years old, my dad’s dream came true as my family moved to the house I grew up in, which was the house my dad grew up in. It was a converted chicken house that my grandfather built. He was not a builder by trade, so the house was eventually falling down around us, with roof problems, foundation problems and plumbing problems.

FullSizeRender_5With little income to make major repairs and renovations, my mom was forced to be very creative in making our house a home. She shopped at second hand stores for furniture. I watched her put in the adhesive plastic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom all by herself, put up wallpaper and paint all by herself. I helped her sew new curtains with little flowers on them. Our house was homey but by no means a showplace.

During a rain storm one winter, we woke to water pouring into the living room. We scrambled to get buckets, pans, bowls, anything to hold water. The roof was so old and needed to be replaced, but the only thing my parents could afford was a plastic sheet that my dad tacked down. I used to complain that we had no dishwasher, no microwave, no cordless phone and one fireplace in the living room to heat the entire house. Everyone else I knew had more than what we had in our house. We made many great memories there, especially centered around food. My mom was a great cook and being Portuguese, she loved to feed people. There was always something on the stove, usually a pot of chili beans or chicken soup, and that aroma filled the entire house. We had family dinners around the table that took up most of the room in the tiny kitchen my mom cooked in. We would sit for hours even after dinner was done, just talking and laughing about our how are days were and listening to my parent’s stories from “the good old days.”

As a teenager, I felt ashamed and embarrassed to bring my friends home to my house. I was worried what they would think of me and my family, and possibly not want to be friends with me anymore. My mom was also embarrassed to show people our home and I felt sorry for her because she worked so hard to make it homey. My mom loves to entertain, but she rarely had anyone over.

In the early 90’s when I went away to college, my mom decided to get her real estate license. She called me often for study tips and techniques and lamented about how hard it was to go back to school at her age. I was so proud of her when she passed the test and got her license. She entered the real estate market at a very difficult time and while she worked very hard, she got discouraged and was even at the point where she put together a resume to look for a “real” job. She stuck with it though and a couple years later, she was on a roll and carefully saved what she could of her commissions. She had finally saved enough money to build a new house – her dream home at the top of the property with a view of Mt. St. Helena and the Laguna de Santa Rosa. It had floor to ceiling windows, a wrap-around porch and a huge kitchen that she could finally entertain in.

My parent’s original dream of living on the family farm had changed a bit with a move to that beautiful home and a farewell to the chicken house. The day my dad bulldozed the old house was a bittersweet moment in time. We had so many great family memories inside those walls. We wrote on the walls our final farewell’s to the house I was raised in. As we watched the home be reduced to a pile of rubble, we laughed between the tears and hugs and assured each other that it was time to move on! I often dream about that house – the way it felt to walk through the door, the way it smelled, the colors of the wallpaper and the warm feeling it gave me. It makes me sad that I can never go back to that house to see it again.


FullSizeRender_2Years later, when I got divorced, I moved back to my parent’s property into a small apartment. It was small, with just a hot plate and microwave to cook with in the kitchen. With my limited income, I did what I could to make the place nice for my kids. I assured them we would only be in that cramped space for a year. After five years, the day came when my kids became teenagers and they shared with me that they too were embarrassed to bring their friends home. I wanted to cry when I heard this, because I knew just how they felt. I felt like I had let them down and wasn’t providing something better for them to grow up in. I felt like a failure.

I had always admired my mother for doing what she did and I had spent many years hearing about her real estate victories and struggles. I decided to follow in her footsteps to build a better life and a better home for my children. Having a home that my kids were proud of was important to me because I knew exactly how it felt to not be proud of where I lived. I wanted to break the cycle for my kids and help my clients to realize their changing real estate dreams and perhaps help them break their own cycles. After just 3 years as an agent, I saved enough money to buy my own home. A home that my kids and I are very proud of and that we lovingly call “home.”

I strive to help my client’s transition from one home to the next so that they find a place to be proud of. A home that is filled with positive memories and the promise of a life well-lived. It is an honor to help my clients fulfill a lifetime milestone.

And THAT is why I do what I do.