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Mikki Cardoza is a 16-year veteran of the real estate industry and owner of MikkiMoves Real Estate, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (707) 200-1355 or by email.

Mikki Cardoza

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Mikki Cardoza: Working from the Heart

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Before she was moving real estate, Mikki Cardoza was molding young minds in the classroom, a vocation she loved in spite of its exhausting nature. When she transitioned to a career in real estate, she encountered a new set of challenges, but more importantly, she found a fresh opportunity to work from the heart. “In 2000, I was working as a middle school teacher and also had four seventh- and eighth-graders at home,” she remembers. “I got to a point where I was completely exhausted, which prompted my decision to take a year-long sabbatical from teaching. During this time, my neighbor who owned a real estate brokerage suggested I give real estate a shot. It wasn’t long before I’d passed my realtor exam and was working locally. I was enjoying it so much that I started to consider staying in real estate rather than returning to teaching.”

In contemplating the transition from teacher to realtor, Mikki’s principle concern was whether she’d still be able to make a positive impact. “I told my best friend, who also happened to be a teacher, that I was worried about going from a rewarding profession like teaching to a career in sales,” she explains. “She responded that buying a home is one of the most difficult decisions people make in their entire lives, and it’s important to have a caring, honest, ethical person guide them through the process. Hearing that made me realize I could still do good and find fulfillment in this new field.”

After going into real estate full-time, things began to ramp up for Mikki, and it wasn’t long before she found herself in a familiar state: exhausted. “I found myself working pretty much nonstop, with barely any time to see my family,” she says. “I could feel a burnout coming, but I knew I didn’t want to give up my business. So, I sat down and wrote a dream business plan that addressed the issues I was currently facing. For example, I imagined how it would look if I could actually take time off without impacting my clients.” Soon after, Mikki found a chance to put her plan into action. “In February of 2012, I had the opportunity to purchase a commercial building, and a month later, MikkiMoves Real Estate was born.”

Today, Mikki says her favorite part of her job is making a difference in the lives of others. “I love working with my clients and helping them achieve their goals. Also, as a lead broker, I like helping the other agents on our team be successful. In everything we do, my hope is that we always work from the heart and keep our clients’ best interests in mind.”

A resident of Santa Rosa (where she lives with her husband, Art), Mikki spends her time outside of work engaged in a variety of hobbies and activities. “Art and I have two grandchildren, so my number one thing is spending time with them whenever I can,” she says. “I also enjoy traveling, going out to eat, talking walks in the park, reading, cooking and relaxing at the beach.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Mikki says she would have no trouble filling the extra time. “I would definitely like to travel more, as well as spend more time with my family. My husband is already retired, so when I’m headed to the office, he’s usually headed to the golf course. I’m looking forward to my chance to play!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: It’s a tie between Sea Thai Bistro and Willi’s Wine Bar, which are both in Santa Rosa.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Fiji, for the beaches.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: The ability to get along with any kind of crowd. You might say I was socially ambidextrous.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “The Princess Bride.”

Read more

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent


SANTA ROSA — As the saying goes, when it comes to relationships, there are a lot of fish in the sea. If you think about it, this phrase can also apply to finding a real estate agent. There’s an ocean’s worth of… Read more

How to Buy and Sell a Property at the Same Time


SANTA ROSA – Buying a home is a complicated endeavor, but when it comes to buying and selling simultaneously, you need to have a carefully planned strategy. In most cases, your best course of action is to place your property on… Read more

Real Estate Contingencies


SANTA ROSA — In real estate, when a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the two parties enter into a tentative contract, which gives the buyer a chance to more closely evaluate the property. One of the most important features… Read more

Avoid Tax Surprises When Selling an Investment Property


SANTA ROSA — Before selling an investment property, make sure you educate yourself about the potential tax implications. Selling an investment property is different than selling a primary residence because the sale is subject to capital gains taxes, or taxes… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Value of a Dedicated Real Estate Agent

Complete Video Transcription:

SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: When hiring a real estate agent, one trait you should look for is a dedicated disposition. Today we’re in Santa Rosa with… Read more

Tori Atwell is a 31-year veteran of the real estate industry and a broker associate with Alain Pinel Realtors. She can be reached at (650) 239-6032 or by email.

Tori Atwell

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Tori Atwell: Licensed to Sell

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LOS ALTOS — When asked how she got into the real estate industry, Tori Atwell recounts an amusing story from her college years. “I had a friend who was planning to take a real estate licensing prep course,” she remembers. “She was a very shy person, so she asked me if I would take the class with her. Three months later, she had dropped out and I was still in it. After finishing up my business degree, I decided to get my real estate license…and I’ve been doing it ever since!”

While seemingly coincidental, Tori’s initial foray into the real estate field wasn’t completely without precedent. “As a teenager, I used to go to real estate seminars with my dad, just because I found it interesting,” she says. “I guess I had a predisposition for it.”

After 28 years as a Bay Area real estate professional, Tori says her favorite aspect of her job is the opportunity to impact the lives of others. “Whether a client is buying or selling, oftentimes it’s much more than a mere transaction—it’s a huge life change. I find it very rewarding to guide people through that process and help facilitate a positive transition.”

A lifelong Bay Area resident, Tori expresses her appreciation for the region’s characteristic diversity. “I’m a people person, so I enjoy meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures,” she says. “Plus, because of my local experience, I can generally sit down with a client, get an idea of what their life is like, and match them with a community that fits their lifestyle and personality.”

Outside of work, Tori engages in a variety of pastimes, from gardening and collecting art to international travel. “I have a home with a pretty big yard, so I like spending time working in my garden,” she says. “I also have several animals, including dogs, cats and a potbelly pig.” Tori also seeks out opportunities to volunteer her time, whether with her local Rotary chapter or as a mediator for the city of Mountain View. Additionally, she enjoys keeping up with her two grown children: Kyle, who currently serves in the military, and Amber, who lives in Santa Cruz.

In her life and career, Tori espouses the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. “I’m a big proponent of doing things upfront so you don’t have to redo them later,” she affirms. “In some cases, this may mean telling a client something they don’t want to hear. However, as their realtor, it’s my responsibility to be honest and upfront with them if they’re headed toward a situation without a good long-term outcome.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Tori says she’d relocate to a fresh setting. “I would either move to the coast or to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love Santa Fe—it has a great art community and the architecture of the homes is really interesting. I also have a lot of friends there who, coincidentally, are all real estate agents!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first pet?
A: A mouse named Pinky.

Q: If you could visit any country, where would you go?
A: France. I’ve actually been to Europe a few times, but for some reason I still haven’t made it there.

Q: What’s your favorite Bay Area winery?
A: Picchetti Winery in Cupertino. It’s basically an old barn, and all the servers are volunteers so it has a very funky, friendly vibe.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit by the fire and read.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Strawberry shortcake.

Read more

How to Start (or Avoid) a Bidding War


LOS ALTOS — It should come as no surprise that homes that sell for the highest prices are the most attractive to buyers. That’s why, if you’re a seller, you’ll want to use every available tool and technique to boost… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Two Sides of Staging a Home

Complete Video Transcription:

LOS ALTOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: Whether you're in the process of buying or selling a home, when it comes to staging, it's important to know… Read more

Dave Keefe is a 15-year veteran of the real estate industry and a broker associate with The Dave Keefe Real Estate Team, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 915-8030 or by email.

Dave Keefe

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dave Keefe: An Inspired Contribution

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CUPERTINO — Dave Keefe got an early introduction to the real estate business when, as a mere teenager, he bought his first home. “I bought my first house when I was 19 years old,” he affirms. “By renting out the other rooms, I was able to pay my mortgage and basically live rent-free through college. Through this experience, I came to believe in the value of real estate as an investment and wanted to share that with others. This inspired me to sign up for some real estate courses and eventually start working in the industry. I hit the ground running and I’ve been at it ever since.”

Today, as a broker associate with The Dave Keefe Real Estate Team, Dave says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity to connect with others. “Working in real estate, you get to make a lot of really good connections, many of which become friendships. From past and present clients to the other professionals I work alongside, there’s a great sense of community, which I really enjoy.”

A resident of Mountain View (where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children) Dave expresses his appreciation for the versatility of the Bay Area. “I enjoy everything about the Bay Area: the natural beauty, the recreational opportunities, the innovative tech scene, the diversity of the people…it’s just a fun place to live.”

Outside of work, Dave spends as much time as possible on two wheels. “I’m an avid cyclist and have raced in several masters world championships,” he affirms. “I also sponsor three different bicycle racing teams, so I’m active in the scene on multiple levels. My son actually raced in the state championship this year, so it’s neat to see him getting involved as well.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Dave espouses the virtues of a helpful attitude. “When we serve clients, we always try to come from a standpoint of contribution—that is, of helping enrich their lives,” he says. “We believe that by helping our clients get what they want, we’ll be able to live the lives we want, so it’s an approach that benefits everyone.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dave replies that he wouldn’t. “I don’t really think of this as a job,” he explains. “It’s not like I wake up every morning dreading my day. On the contrary, I truly enjoy what I do, so I plan on continuing to do it for as long as I can.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: The Galápagos Islands.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Bikes.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: A ghost.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Go on a long bike ride.

Q: Is there a book that has been really influential for you?
A: “Transcending the Levels of Consciousness: The Stairway to Enlightenment” by David R. Hawkins.

Read more

First Impressions in Real Estate


CUPERTINO — One of the most crucial aspects of marketing a home is creating a good first impression. While part of this involves things like staging and curb appeal, in today’s Internet-driven market, a more important aspect to address is your… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: First Impressions in Real Estate

Complete Video Transcription:

CUPERTINO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to sell your home, one thing you’ll need to keep in mind is the importance of first impressions. Today… Read more