They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions for at least six months after a traumatic event. Yet there we were at an open house in Los Gatos, considering buying a new home just one month after a fire swept through the Santa Cruz Mountains and burned our house to the ground.
Two days later we made an offer on the house. Somehow it hadn’t bothered us that it had no garage. “Thanks to the fire, we don’t have anything to put in it,” my husband reasoned, forgetting that we love to build things and would likely replace the tools we’d lost. Somehow we hadn’t minded that it was on a small lot, even though we were coming from 20 acres and valued our privacy. The next day we realized our mistake and told the real estate agent, Brian Bernasconi.
We were impressed by how he handled it. Brian offered us time alone in the house to decide if it felt like home. It didn’t. He graciously accepted our decision and took the time to get to know us
and learn what type of home would better suit us.
Several months later he found us a home. It was on a large lot and would involve a ground-up remodel, which suited us fine since it meant a lower price and the chance to use the skills we’d developed remodeling our mountain home.
Even though our bid wasn’t the highest, Brian negotiated well and got us the home. He persuaded the sellers that we were motivated and that our bid, with its large down payment from insurance money, would be sure to close.
More impressively, after we bought the house and Brian had been paid, he continued to be a resource. He scheduled a rep from the solar company to come teach us about the panels on our roof. He referred us to two contractors who bid on the remodel. He came by the property several times during planning and construction to provide ideas and advice as we made design decisions.
The remodel was an intense but gratifying experience that helped heal the wounds from our loss. We ended up with a beautiful, solidly built home designed for our needs and to our tastes.
Several years later we finally took on the yard, an eyesore of overgrown weeds framing a cracked concrete patio. Brian referred us to a talented landscape designer who transformed our backyard into a peaceful resort-like space. Brian even invited us to see another client’s courtyard entry, which directly inspired our own design.
I’ve often thought how different our lives would be if we hadn’t stumbled into that open house and met Brian. It wasn’t easy surviving the loss of our house and all our possessions, but now I’m grateful every day for our beautiful new home and the memories we’ve made in it.