My Mom is a Realtor

Written by Joyce Chen
Class of 2009 at Stanford University
Growing up, I was never lonely.
As a working parent, my mother often brought me along to her home showings. I remember sitting giddy in the back passenger seat, en route to some new, exciting destination. As we whooshed through San Francisco’s neighborhoods, my mother acted as my impromptu tour guide, explaining the history of this street or this building. Through these frequent outings, I learned to appreciate the beauty of my city and its architecture—the stately symmetry of Colonial houses, the slender grace of Victorian homes; the elegant Spanish Mediterranean mansions. It was a revelation.
I also remember the streams of “aunts” and “uncles,” all clients of my mother, who would talk business in the kitchen during the open house as I romped around outside. Sometimes, these aunts and uncles had children. Sometimes, they had pets. Always, they trusted my mother to sell their homes.
My mother's dedication to her clients continued beyond regular work hours. Preparing dinner, she would stir soup with one hand and hold the telephone with the other, chatting animatedly with her newest sellers and buyers. During the holidays, without fail, she would send out handwritten cards and purchase gift baskets. Imitating her, I learned to answer the phone politely and greet everyone with a smile. Through these meaningful touches, my mom taught me the importance of treating clients as family.
A lot has changed since these childhood lessons. I am in college now; I drive myself around. Nine months out of twelve, "home" for me is a messy two-room triple on campus. However, one thing has not changed—my mother's unswerving commitment to meeting her clients' needs, whatever they maybe. I still meet "aunts" and "uncles" who have kept in contact with my mother years after the sale.
Purchasing or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions we make in a lifetime. I am very proud my mother is able to help lots of people going through this stressful transition.

Dear Jin

This is to congratulate you on your excellent performance as Realtors at Coldwell Banker this year and in prior years. You have excelled both as
specialists in your local Country Club neighborhood and in representing buyers and sellers throughout San Francisco and the SF Bay Area. You
have my utmost confidence and trust in representing clients and there is no one I would trust more than you for the Country Club area especially.
As you know, there are nearly 100 agents in our offices here on Ocean Avenue. Your clients have repeatedly spoken to me in the most glowing terms about their satisfaction with your services. I know from my personal experience the great care you take to assure that your clients’ interests are put
first when you are representing them. Your integrity and honesty are unsurpassed.
Please encourage anyone considering using your services to contact me directly if there are any questions or topics for discussion. It is my great
pleasure to work with you in our office.
Don Diltz
Managing Broker

Dear Jin,

We would like to thank you for helping us in our recent property purchase and sale. It all worked out in our favors in spite of numerous challenges in the
offers, counter-offers, wheeling and dealing. If not because of your professional guidance, we might not have made it through and achieved our

We truly enjoyed working with you. You have been professional and amicable, paying attention to fine details without losing sight of the big picture. Your
personal skills and perseverance were instrumental in sealing those sweet deals for us and put you head-and-shoulder above other agents that we had met and
worked with over the years. There was something in you that kept yourself, as well as us being your clients, calm and hopeful all through those emotional and
uncertain moments. It might have been your personality or your spirituality; whatever it was, it worked out to our mutual benefits and enabled us to buy our
new house and sell our old house at the price we wanted. There is an old English idiom: Actions speak louder than words, indeed! The results you have
accomplished for us are obvious and self-evident of your dedication in your profession.

We believe in continuous improvements. In that regards, we would like to offer the following suggestions for your consideration in my typical candid fashion.
As a selling agent, I would suggest you be more forthright in the disposition of property existing conditions that are not in compliance with
current codes and regulations, those "Unwarranted Conditions". An example for our house purchase is the in-law unit and the associated kitchen.
Neither the listing agents nor you yourself ever gave us a straight answer regarding the legality of those additions until we were asked to sign off those
“unwarranted conditions” at close of escrow. As a listing agent, your desire and push for perfect house showing conditions get into the sphere of the
Law of Diminishing Returns. An example of such is the Energy and Fire Detection compliance works for our house sale. It was not necessary for the purpose
of open house, but we did install the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors per your request. However to our dismay, one of the carbon monoxide detectors got
lost and we have to replace it with a new one. We could have installed them just like the Energy Compliance work during the weeks for close
of escrow.

Thank you for your interest and partnering with us in our property buy and sale. We have no reservations in referring you to our family and friends who
may need your professional services. We look forwards to work with you again in the future.
Tin and Mabel

Thank you!

We just wanted to write to THANK YOU for everything you did for us in helping us sell our home in San Francisco. As you know, it was a very
emotional decision to leave the home that we had lovingly designed and lived in for so many years. Your gentleness and understanding was
Your wisdom and experience in knowing exactly how to market the house was invaluable. You intuitively knew exactly the kind
of buyer who would be interested, because it was such an unusual property with only one bedroom. And, as you had predicted, a young
couple, one of whom worked out of the house, bought it. Also, because of your constant vigilance, it was less than six weeks from the
day the house was put on the market to closing. Amazing! Thank you for taking care of everything while we moved 2500 miles cross country and
were not close by to take care of the "leftovers" like making sure that my friend got her vacuum cleaner back, to sending my clock and mail to
us here in Buffalo.
We really appreciate the way you also kept in close touch throughout the process and went far out of your way to attend to every detail.
I'm so glad that I chose you to be our realtor. Please do not hesitate to give our contact information to anyone if they would like a reference about you and your caring professionalism. We could not have had a more perfect experience.
I look forward to keeping in touch with you and cannot thank you enough for making a what could have been a very stressful time into a joyful

Take care and Warmest Wishes,
Mary Gin Starkweather and Bruce Werner

May 6, 2011

Jin Chen has been our agent since Summer 2010. We met Jin in an open house visit. Since we met her, she has been emailed us all possible properties' information very consistently. Whenever she saw some new listed properties that met our housing needs, she emailed to us immediately. Whenever we wanted to write an offer, she never said 'no' but gave us very precise and knowledgeable advice and guidance on those properties. We've been writing many offers but they didn't work. Jin never gave up on us. She continued to help us and follow up on us. She always tried her best to help us. She cares for us very much. She gave us very valuable and knowledgeable opinions on listed properties. She treats us not just as her clients but also as her friends. She is a very caring, considerate, patient, sincere, intelligent, knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent and friend. She is an expert at negotiating with sellers' agents because of her rich and great knowledge of the real estate market.
Finally, after many months of house hunting, Jin helped us to buy a house in April 2011 from all her hardwork, precious time, valuable and knowledgeable opinions and experience. After we bought the house, she continues to follow up on us of the remodeling process and gave us a lot of precious opinions. We highly recommend Jin as a real estate agent to anyone who are looking for properties or selling properties. Thank you very much, Jin! We're very lucky and blessed to have you as our agent and friend.
**Yeely & William

Kimberly Kuo has recommended you on LinkedIn

Kimberly Kuo Product Manager at Workday
To: Jin Chen
Date: March 11, 2011
Dear Jin,
I've written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

Details of the Recommendation: "As my agent, Jin was an invaluable guide throughout the process of purchasing a SOMA condo in early 2011. In the beginning, Jin patiently arranged and showed me and my out-of-state parents many condos, providing information and feedback that I greatly needed as first-time home buyer. Over the course of several months, Jin never pressured me to buy, and I felt very comfortable waiting until the right moment to find the right condo for me. Most importantly, Jin provided calm, measured, and expert advice during the negotiation and closing process. I would highly recommended Jin as an agent."
Service Category: Real Estate Agent
Year first hired: 2011
Top Qualities: Great Results, Personable, High Integrity
-Kimberly Kuo

To: Jin Chen

Date: January 14, 2011
Rosanna Chen has recommended your work as Realtor at San Francisco Association of Realtors.
Dear Jin,
I've written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

Details of the Recommendation: "January 13, 2011

I had the great fortune when marrying my husband Jerry to be welcomed with open arms into his family.

I first met my mother-in-law, Jin Chen, when my husband and I first started dating. Even from our first introduction, I could sense that Jin has an open heart and easily offers herself without any pretense to be a friend to anyone.

My husband and I were further blessed when we decided to purchase a house. Not only does Jin Chen have years of experience as a Realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area, we also could entrust in her in finding the perfect house for our needs.

The process of purchasing our first home was not the easiest path. As anyone will tell you, there is a clear distinction between your “dream house” and what reality you are faced with. Jin carefully navigated us through the entire process that included: setting up appointments with a mortgage broker, e-mailing us frequently regarding the market conditions, accompanying us to multiple open houses, and most importantly, offering her expert advice, patience, and compassion when certain things did not go as anticipated.

After searching for almost ½ year, I am now writing this recommendation at a house that Jin found for us. Despite the months of anticipation and let-downs, everything was worth it when Jerry and I could call this place “Our First Home.”

Jin listened to our needs and found the perfect place for us.

In any business like real estate, you commonly hear the phrase: “It’s not personal. It’s just business.” I disagree. When you are purchasing a home to be the place you’ll be raising your family, it IS personal and emotions do have a heavy hand in any decision you make.

Jin was both our Realtor and Mother and didn’t sacrifice one title for the other. She could not accept a “good house” for us from a Realtor’s perspective because as a Mother she would have a conflict in her heart. At the same time, Jin could not let any of our emotions take over the business transaction. She had a firm grasp of the market and could explain to us what was a good deal or not.

I have seen her treat her clients with the same regard, respect, and professionalism as she did for us.

I whole-heartedly recommend Jin Chen to be your Realtor, and to guide you through this incredible personal and fulfilling path in owning your home.

Rosanna Chen, Optometrist
Westlake Vision Center Optometry
Daly City, CA 94015
Service Category: Real Estate Agent
Year first hired: 2010
Top Qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
-Rosanna Chen

Dear Jin;

Thank you so much for being an excellent agent for us. You were always patient with us. You really listened to what we want and never pressured us on anything. You went extra miles to accommodate our schedule: after work private showings, late night meetings to write offers, etc. You guided us through frustrated and emotional moments: the house hunting, writing offers, more house hunting, signing loan docs. You kept assuring us that we would find the house that we love and we would get it. You are right! We did get our dream house. We love it! The more we stay in it, the more we fall in love with the house. It’s not only a house, it’s our home! Thank you Jin, for helping us to get our home. Even after we got the house, you guided us through. You helped us with our housewarming. You helped us with the minor fixing that we need to do.

I think we found our agent for life when we met you for the first time at your open house 5 years ago =) You helped my sister to get her first home and now you help us to get our first home. You are not only our family agent, but you are also our friend and family. Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication. You are always welcome to our house.

- Agus & Vicki

Thank you

During an open house visit we fortuitously met Jin Chen, the patient and sincere real estate agent. With her 20 years of Bay Area real estate experience she tirelessly guided us in selecting the residence we were looking for. Every step of the way she was very accessible, helpful, and pleasant. We are very pleased with her service and because of her wonderful personality in addition, we are honored to have her as our friend. Let us share our fortune and have Jin Chen be your friend as well!
-Lisa and David Li, Radiologist, M.D.

House of your Dreams

Jin met my husband at an open house and they instantly connected because Jin cared about his profession (he's a kindergarten teacher, and she values education). We met with her over several years to find just the right house and value. She never pushed, pressured or made us feel like we were wasting her time when we were being very particular. She is highly knowledgeable about the real estate market, works very well with others and offered her guidance when asked. Of great value to us is her integrity, honesty and ethics. In the end, after 5 years (we were picky!), she negotiated the house we wanted and despite the sellers being very difficult, she got it for us and never let on how much trouble they were. She never wanted us to feel bad and only wanted us to get the house we wanted. Now, we're settled in the house 6 months later and truly couldn't be happier. And btw, Jin still visits, keeps in touch, even cooked for us during move-in time--she's a truly gifted, caring, intelligent, ambitious and savvy agent who will get the job done exactly as you want every time; I'm sure of it. I highly recommend Jin as the agent of choice because she offers "old-fashioned" service and has the years of experience and knowledge to get you the house of your dreams.
-Barbra Blender

Terrific Experience

I am writing to tell you about the terrific experience we had listing and selling our home with Jin Chen. My mother died in late April, and the house was owned by her and occupied by my brother. It was under very sad and trying circumstances that the house needed to be prepared for sale.
Throughout the entire process, Jin was not only a top-notch professional but also a wonderfully compassionate person. She helped through every stage of repair work that needed to be done, communicated regularly about the progress, and ultimately listed and sold the home in record time. We were thrilled that the house sold for over $75,000 greater than the list price- and the list price was higher than we ever anticipated the house would be worth. Jin’s research on comparables gave us great confidence in the price and her marketing was amazing.
My wife and I live in Washington State which could have made the preparation for sale and the sale itself very stressful, but Jin’s continual contact with us gave us constant assurance. We are thankful to have gotten Jin’s name as a referral when we were searching for agents in the San Francisco area.
I apologize for the tardiness of this letter. We have been very busy with family matters related to my mother’s death. Thanks to Jin, however, worrying about the sale of the house in San Francisco is off our list.
-Tom and Diane Flynn

Thank you -

Joshua and I would sincerely like to thank you for all the hard work you put into finding a house for us to buy and sell in such a tight time frame. We trusted your knowledge of San Francisco's competitive real estate market and knew you had the experience to get it done. Your keen sense of what our housing needs were and applying that quickly to homes that were newly listed really made us comfortable as well as competitive with other buyers. We always felt current and informed, and knew that you were always looking out for us as friends and not just clients.

You've been a pleasure to work with and would highly recommend your services to any of our friends and colleagues that may have real estate needs. Thanks again.

-Joshua and Lucy

Only good things!

What can I say but good things about our real estate agent! From the very beginning it all started with one email and Jin Chen is one who is right above each and every email I have ever written to her! From that Lakeshore flyer that my girlfriend sent me I have encountered a change in a lifetime real estate agent! Of course we were not really in the market for house hunting but then Mom wanted to look for a dream home all her life! Okay, I said to myself I will email Jin Chen and see what will become of this one email!
History is now that Jin Chen has taken a journey with us for the two months we started! Her knowledge of the market and of course her years in the business gave me the confidence that I will and have worked well with her! Jin Chen is very respectable to us and especially to Mom! I appreciate her kindness and always she answers questions and explains every detail and even questions that are too small she will answer them. She is patient and not aggressive to let us decide what to do.
Being a first time buyer I highly recommend Jin Chen! Everything just went so smoothly and if there were any problems it was only minor. Jin Chen is very polite. We love to work with Jin Chen and all future businesses.
I think I have a cherish friend for life now!!!
Gloria Yee (buyer)


March 18, 2014

Dear Jin:
Congratulations on achieving the Coldwell Banker International Sterling Society designation for 2013. The hard work, commitment and determination you displayed last year resulted in this tremendous accomplishment earned by only a handful of Coldwell Banker Independent Sales Associates worldwide.
In a company filled with the finest professionals in our industry, it is quite a feat to stand out as truly remarkable. Your dedication to excellence and superior service are shining examples of what makes Coldwell Banker so successful and I am proud to have you as a member of our professional family.
I offer my sincerest congratulations on your outstanding achievement. I wish you all the best in the year to come and may you enjoy continued success in 2014!
Rick Turley
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
San Francisco Bay Area

Dear Jin ,

I am very grateful to choose you as my agent, you did a really great job. It has been a long journey since we first signed the contract early March and now everything is settled. Thank you so much for your help.
During our first meeting, you came to checked my property thoroughly and gave me a list of things that needs to be done in sequence. Since I don't know much about selling house, with your knowledge and experience in the Real Estate you had lead me through step by step and patiently answering all my questions and comforting me when I have any doubt on some issues.
You provided me all the possible help and support; great on follow up and providing updated information. You also gave me a lot of good advices. We worked together for 4+ months and you had been very supportive, courteous and professional. I really enjoyed working with you and would definitely recommend you to someone who needs to buy or sell their property.
Best Regards,