ABOUT SUE

SUE BONZELL

Sue’s natural spirit for, and experience in hospitality and marketing means she knows how to provide just the right experience for each one of her different clients. Sue’s respectful and sincere nature shines through in each and every transaction she gets to be a part of.

Her easy and down-to-earth nature was likely derived from her upbringing on a local Sebastopol apple farm where her family worked hard in this small farming community. She was a 4-H member for many years, raising lambs and learning about sewing and cooking. She spent many years serving as an officer for the Active 20-30 Club where she was voted a Past Active Life Member. These leadership experiences have contributed to her direct communication style and how she gets things done with a high level of resourcefulness and attention to detail.

Sue has a Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and translated her natural people skills, design training and a head for business into her own design and marketing company, where for nearly 20 years, she served a variety of business clients to achieve measurable results utilizing innovative marketing and social media strategies. Her very broad network in Sonoma County has served her well and her promotional efforts are stellar.

Sue has a passion for our area and the high-level hospitality service that goes with it, so she trained to become a Certified Tourism Ambassador for Sonoma County. As a natural promoter, she landed in local radio as a hobby, where she continues to promote all things Sonoma County. She serves on the Sebastopol Council of Realtors and on the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association, Sonoma County Chapter.

As a second generation Realtor®, Sue naturally gleaned real estate acumen and skills from her mother, Barbara Paul who has been in real estate for more than 20 years. Sue was recently voted Best Real Estate Agent in the Press Democrat and she feels honored to do the work she does with tenacity and enjoys bringing a whole lot of fun to her work!

 

MEMBER:

  • North Bay Association of Realtors NORBAR – Vice Chair on the Sebastopol Council
  • California Association of Realtors CAR
  • National Association of Realtors NAR
  • Council of Residential Specialists

 

Sue’s Story – Why I do What I do

 

The entire process was as stress free as possible thanks to Sue.

- Pete & Nancy

Sue provided great advice and was knowledgeable throughout the entire process.
- Peter & Kris

Sue was truly wonderful to deal with and we are so thankful to have found her!

- Mario & Leah

Sue was very attentive to all details in the process of selling our home. Her marketing strategies were well thought out and her drone photography piece was excellent!

~ Linda & Dean

My parents have been tied to agriculture all their lives, as apple farmers in Sebastopol. In the 70’s, my dad always dreamt of moving back to the family farm that he grew up on. When I was 4 years old, 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.

With little income to make major repairs and renovations, my mom was forced to be very creative with 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 in that house, 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.

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.

 

 

Years 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 are proud of is important to me because I know exactly how it feels to not be proud of where you live. 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.”

 

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.

 

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.

ABOUT TERRA FIRMA GLOBAL PARTNERS

Terra Firma Global Partners founders, Bill Facendini and Heidi Rickerd-Rizzo believed the traditional real estate model was broken and that much of the industry was more focused on generating ancillary fees and related services to stay alive rather than focusing on the client. The business had become more about quantity of associates rather than quality, and about production rather than service.

Facendini and Rickerd-Rizzo had a vision. With passion and fierce commitment, they started from scratch to build a company based on trust and strived to make the business a team sport, rather than an individual one.  As recognized leaders in the industry, and known for their innovation and professionalism, they believed a company built around a client-centric focus and a team that has the experience and knowledge necessary to meet and exceed the client’s expectation had a place in the market regardless of its larger competitors. Shunning the traditional brokerage model of cut-throat agents competing against each other, Terra Firma fosters a culture of partnership in which all clients and listings are represented in a collaborative environment by all its agents, thereby ensuring its clients and listings have the competitive edge in both sales and purchases.  Terra Firma Global Partners extends far beyond what a conventional brokerage firm offers.

Controlling their own destiny, bringing flexibility in operations and creating a culture where associates can thrive was a key focus for the partners.  They understand the ebb and flow of the real estate business and created a model that is responsive and nimble.  It has the ability to adjust to trends and market changes and explore and invest in technologies and innovation to keep Terra Firma Global Partners at the forefront of the industry. Community is very important to the company culture and is one of its core company tenets.  We believe in giving back time, talent and treasure in each community we work and live in.  Developing and maintaining positive business relationships in our communities also adds value for our clients because our peers enjoy working with us.

Our company vision, which drives every decision we make, is to provide our clients with a very personal experience that keeps them a client for life, and gives them the trust and confidence to refer friends and family to Terra Firma for all their real estate needs.