An Open Letter to My Fellow Veg(etari)ans
Are you a vegetarian or vegan preparing to buy or sell a house?
Are you dreading the thought of the contact you will be forced to have
with real estate agents, as part of the process (the same way most
people dread upcoming encounters with used car salesmen)? You are not alone!
Several weeks into the homebuying process, a client confided in me:
"We were very nervous about the prospect of becoming involved with a
realtor. The truth is that we had never met one we liked. We’re so
thankful to Victor for having referred us to you. Our experience with
you has come as a tremendous relief."
Why would it matter that you, as a vegetarian, have a real estate agent who is also a vegetarian?
Simply stated, it’s a matter of shared values, an approach to life and
a way of relating to others. If you’ve been a vegetarian or vegan for
any length of time, you know what I mean. (For a more detailed answer to the question, please click here.)
I began following a vegetarian lifestyle more than 30 years ago,
as a teenager. At that time, it was considered quite a radical move
(especially in the conservative Midwest, where I was living at the
time). There were far fewer vegetarians and far fewer options in terms
of vegetarian dining and food products than there are today.
In recent years, prompted in part by health considerations,
I have been following a vegan diet.
One of my greatest
sources of pride is that my family followed me in my decision to stop
eating meat. Even my grandmother, who lived to the venerable age of
101, enthusiastically joined in. And my father, a psychologist, wrote a
book on the subject, as an outgrowth of his initial concern for my
When I lived in Asia,
my dietary practices obliged me to seek out vegetarian restaurants,
where I made many friends, kindred spirits, whom I otherwise would not
have gotten to know. And the connection in Asia between vegetarianism and Buddhism led me along a spiritual journey that has enriched my life beyond description.
It seems my destiny in
life to be a sort of oddball, to gravitate toward involvements and
activities where most people would not expect to find me. So it is that
I enjoy the distinction, for example, of being the only non-ethnically
Chinese real estate broker in the Bay Area who is fluent in (Mandarin)
Chinese. I may not be the only vegetarian real estate broker in the
area or the only one who happens to be a former college teacher but I
am certainly a member of a small minority in either regard.
Why should the real estate profession be the exclusive domain of meat-eating right-wing conservatives?
I don’t think I have to apologize for my presence in a profession that
is overwhelmingly populated with people who don’t share many if not
most of my views. I believe there is a need for people with my
perspective, values and sensibilities, for a number of reasons, not the
least of which is to offer an alternative to consumers like the client
I don’t make nearly as
much money as many of my colleagues. I drive a 94 Honda. I don’t wear
flashy clothes and I don’t live in a big, fancy house.
That’s because I often
do things that do not serve to advance my financial interests. I
encourage people to buy less expensive houses, for instance, to make
their payments more affordable and to live within their means.
Sometimes, I advise people not to buy or sell at all, simply because I
honestly think that’s the most intelligent option. Much of my work is
done on a pro bono basis.
Depending on the size of the transaction and the work involved, I offer either commission discounts to sellers or “rebates” to buyers
(to help pay for certain closing costs). Or that money can be donated
to your favorite vegetarian or animal rights group, if you prefer.
Fortunately for me, I
have a supportive spouse, who shares my values and perspective, with
whom I also have the pleasure of working together, as a team, on a
Frankly, I would rather
make a more modest living, working with people I enjoy helping, than
making more money while interacting with people I don’t enjoy helping.
I began my career in real estate more than 20 years ago,
here in the Bay Area, so what I have to offer goes well beyond a value
system and particular set of sensibilities or financial incentives. I have a wealth of experience to draw upon, for the benefit of my clients.
If you’ve read this far,
you probably have a serious interest in finding someone suitable to
represent you in your real estate transaction. I would like to suggest
that you review two other web pages, which will not take you more than a few minutes: the Testimonials and 25 Advantages
pages at our main website. For most people, buying or selling a house
is the biggest financial transaction they ever engage in, so another
ten minutes of reading is highly appropriate.
At that point, you
should have enough of a feeling about the kind of person I am and the
unique combination of benefits I am offering, to decide whether you
would like to speak with me about buying or selling a home. If you feel
you would, I would welcome your email (db @ pacific-century.com) or phone call (650-888-4321).
Pacific Century Realty
P.S. If you’re
wondering why I’m using “Reeltor” in my URL instead of the correctly
spelled version of the word, it’s because of a trademark issue. The
National Association of Realtors has policies that would make it
problematic for me to spell the word the correct way.
By the way, although
most people nowadays use the word Realtor synonymously with real estate
agent or broker, the two terms are actually not the same. Though all
Realtors are necessarily real estate licensees, not all real estate
licensees are members of the national and regional Realtor Association,
as I am. Realtors are sworn to uphold a higher set of ethical standards than is the case for non-Realtor licensees. Another good reason to consider engaging me as your real estate professional!
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