I was born in Chicago and grew up an “Army Brat,” living in mostly big cosmopolitan cities, such as Berlin, Munich, New York, Chicago, London, Cincinnati. It was great to have all that big city exposure to art, culture and food well into my thirties, so I was surprised when I slowly began going rural. It was a by-product of all the time I’d spent building my interactive advertising business located in Sausalito.
In 2001, the “Dot.Bomb” hit, and my boutique company wasn’t impacted at first. It was weird to watch all the lay-offs around us, all the while our contracts were honored and our small firm stayed busy. We provided state of the art design with emerging tech and seamlessly communicated our clients’ message to their customers. Our nimble style enabled us to pull major clients away from the much larger advertising houses. And we didn’t stop there – we solved problems; the top San Francisco-based stock broker attributes $2 billion in newly earned assets as a result of a tool we conceived and built for them.
It wasn’t until 2002 that my firm felt the pinch, the contracts expired, and work dried up. Suddenly the pioneering rush of the past decade had come to a standstill. I took the opportunity to build my home in Little River, California, just four miles south of Mendocino. I hadn’t actually conceived that there was actually life outside the Bay Area, so I’d expected to rent it; but when it came time to let go of the keys, I couldn’t do it, and so moved in. Two years of tech in an ailing market in the woods just didn’t seem to make sense, and so I got my Broker’s license in 2005 taking my tech experience into a new area altogether.
I was immediately courted by two companies. Big River Realty offered me a partnership and Century 21 offered me extensive training. Facing one of the harder decisions of my life, as I truly loved the Big River opportunity, I really felt like I needed training. I chose Century 21 to better understand the business.
My personality suited the Community and I took to it right away, soon finding myself one of the Mendocino Coast’s top brokers. I was in love with Mendocino real estate.
Despite my inexperience, I made some good initial decisions. A Bay Area judge sought to buy a north coast home, and well after the twelfth hour-papers were already signed, he told me he wanted out of the transaction. I immediately did an about-face, focused on my client’s priorities as my top concern, and got him out of the transaction. Deposits are often lost when you back out that late in the game, and yet I got him out without jeopardy; his deposits were returned. The seller’s agent approached me in disbelief as to how that happened, and so I grabbed the contract and showed him. I hadn’t realized it at the time, as I know little about Japanese culture, but it was also important to this judge that he was able to “save face” and I had helped him do just that. I won Century 21’s Rookie of the Year award that Year.
And so I began winning most every award that Century 21 had to offer, including Centurion, Ruby, Gold, Emerald, Pacesetter, and numerous others.The Century 21 company created and maintained a top 100 agents list, and I was included in the Northern Californian sector, which covers quite a large region – from San Jose to the state border. Though rankings mean less to me than a job well done, I am pleased to report that I was in the top 100 agents on that list most months; an agent in the office checked it often and told me as much.
After just a few years, I’d learned all I could from this office and was ready to set out on my own. With the worldwide economic collapse of 2008 hard upon us, such upward movement was suddenly very difficult. It took me more years than it should have to make the transition, but in 2016, I set up my own brokerage – a Mendocino County realtor now fully on my own.
When I left Century 21 my broker, understandably, didn’t want my listings to go with me. By right the listings belong with the office even though the clients have the relationship with the agent, and I believe there were ten or twelve properties involved at the time. He did not accept that the clients had signed a cancelation agreement and reengaged me as a new firm, with a clause even noting that point. He insisted that each Seller write him an individual email saying they no longer wished to use Century 21’s services, but would rather go with me, the fledgling firm. I am pleased to report than 100% of my clients signed and came with me. When you provide top service, clients get it.
I thought I would need an office in town and just didn’t find a space that suited me. I wanted location, light, and ability to have several agents working for me. I was surprised that so many principals were now virtual. Sometimes meeting with Big River Beach as my conference room and my three wonderful dogs as companions was so novel that it really became a part of my signature style, and part of the nuance of Mendocino realtor I wanted to impart.
In 2020, I finally found an office space located squarely in the center of town that fit all my present and future needs. After painting it my signature orange and blue, I opened shop, only to have COVID change the world forever. And so began the time of putting properties into escrow, sometimes without actually meeting the clients or viewing the property at the time of contract. An unusual time, for sure. Still, my clients have done well in the increasingly competitive market.
As vaccines became the norm, and business began opening again, I find the center of town is a very vibrant location. I’m down to one dog now, and she’s a perfect and affectionate greeter. If you’re not a dog-person, though, please let me know. I may still be the realtor for you. My iconic orange bench is right outside. Rest on it a while if you like.
To my surprise, I am one of the very few locally owned real estate offices remaining, though I maintain connections with other major firms. If you want to support local business, I am one of very few such choices on the Mendocino Coast. Hiring locally is oh so important!
I have twenty-two years experience living on the Mendocino Coast, and almost seventeen as a Mendocino County realtor, always my own broker. Since I also served twelve years as a volunteer firefighter in Albion-Little River, I have probably been inside more homes than any other real estate agent on the Mendocino Coast.
Contact me to let my professionalism, affability, and low-pressure approach, backed by my ethics and marketing acumen, help you with all your Mendocino real estate needs. I’m right across from Frankie’s Pizza on Ukiah St. in the town of Mendocino. Stop in and say hi!