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veggieREELtor & friends

 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.)

Love Us, Not Eat Us

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 health.

Vegetarianism and Buddhism are closed linked

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 quoted above.

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.

Chinese character SU

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 daily basis.

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.

Assorted veggies

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 @ or phone call (650-888-4321).


Daniel Berman
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.

The planet belongs to animals, too

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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"Dan is one of the smartest and hardest working Realtors I have ever known (and I have been in real estate since 1981). He is an expert at marketing through conventional means and the Internet. If I were selling my own home, Dan would be MY agent!" 

Roger Dewes, Realtor
International President's Elite
Coldwell Banker


"My house had been previously listed with a well-known 'top producer' with one of the large national chains. The experience was a disaster. Fortunately, my experience with you was completely different. You presented the property very well and you applied the skill, good judgment and intelligence that facilitated a prompt, smooth sale."

Dr. Inge Harding-Barlow
Palo Alto


"A real estate agent living next door who specializes in our neighborhood told us that we would have to settle for less than $900,000 for our house at the time we were selling. Dan managed to sell it for us for $1.1 million. He is a truly dedicated, thoughtful and flexible individual who really knows what he's doing, truly an expert in his field."

Jonathan Yu & Christine King Gilbert, AZ
(formerly of Redwood City, CA)


"You always made yourself available to patiently respond to all our concerns and endless questions, by phone, email and in person. At the end of the process, I counted 88 emails I had sent to you, often with multiple questions in each. You responded promptly and thoroughly to every one of them! We especially appreciated the many creative solutions you offered and the special services, like scheduling an entire day to meet with different contractors, individually and then get their competitive bids. We also appreciate the cultural sensitivity you showed throughout the process."

Subbarao & Rajeshwary Jaldu San Jose


"In a down market, when other houses around us were not selling, you helped us get an offer higher than our recently appraised value. Everything about your service was top-notch, including your negotiating strategies and skills. We especially appreciated your promptness and patience in answering all of our questions, so thoroughly, at all hours of the day and night. You managed to strike a perfect balance between advising us and following our instructions. Our experience with you could not have been more positive."

Wilson & Michelle Kee, Belmont (formerly of San Jose)



"Mi familia y yo estamos muy agradecidos y satisfechos con el trabajo q' Daniel realico en la compra de nuestra primera casa, sin su eficiencia, responsabilidad y dedicacion nuestro sueño no hubiese sido posible. Recomendamos a Daniel Berman de una manera incondicional."

Sergio & Lidbia Salguera
Daly City


"While signing the documents at the title company, Dan caught a mistake on the part of the escrow officer, saving more than $3,000! Most real estate agents don't even show up for those signings. I'm sure glad that I had Dan there, to watch out for me."

Stephen B. Olson
San Francisco


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