Lights Up This South Bay Realtor
By Monica Lander
Longtime South Bay Realtor Rebecca Jepsen, with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty (GGSIR) in Los Gatos, considers it a privilege to help seniors navigate all the ins and outs of the real estate market. She honors the memory of her late father every time she reaches out to help a senior.
GGSIR’s philosophy “aligns perfectly with my standards in real estate,” says Jepsen, “to deliver exceptional customer service, exceed expectations and treat clients’ money as if it was my own.” Downsizing from the family home and transitioning to a new residence can be a daunting task, both emotionally and physically. However, with her plethora of resources, limitless energy and passion she turns what is often a stressful, turbulent, and overwhelming experience into a smooth, straightforward, and hopefully, even enjoyable one.
“Helping seniors lights me up,” Jepsen says. “Having the opportunity to help so many people, regardless of their age, is a major reason why I became a Realtor in the first place.” Her best friend, aka Dad, who passed away at the age of 94¾, instilled in her the desire to help. His motto: “If you’ve done well, you need to do good,” resonates with her every day.
Even though 2020 was a trifecta of challenges, including COVID, social injustice and political tension, Jepsen says she is incredibly thankful that she had a very busy and productive year. “It has been such an honor to help so many wonderful people with their real estate needs, especially in such a trying and turbulent year.”
“Those who need a helping hand seem to find me and are continually referred to me,” Jepsen says. “A current client, who called just before Christmas, told me she actually saved a story written about me for over three years until she was ready to make a move,” Jepsen says.
With a team of trusted professionals at her fingertips, Jepsen is quick to get to work. The normal “to do” list includes sorting and shredding documents, organizing and packing, donating “thousands” of books, and collecting treasures, clothing, kitchenware, tools, and even plants for local nonprofits or other organizations. She has even been known to plan and run a garage or estate sale. But there’s more. Getting a property ready for the market also requires her to call upon electricians, plumbers, carpenters, gardeners and tradespeople of all sorts. “I only recommend those that I would use in my own home,” she adds.
“I pour my heart, energy and efforts into my work,” Jepsen says. “Although I work with all demographics and age groups, I enjoy making seniors an integral part of my work. They (seniors) often need a little extra care and consideration, which I am happy to give.”
Jepsen also prioritizes giving back to the community and local charities with her time and financial support. She makes a donation with the proceeds from each transaction.
After 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur in the tech industry, Jepsen focused her seemingly endless energy on real estate about 10 years ago. The tough and savvy negotiating skills she learned working in high tech have undoubtedly helped her in the competitive real estate industry. Additionally, she devotes her time and talent to a variety of volunteer projects. Her “people skills” are invaluable when working to build community.
Jepsen served on the first city of Saratoga’s Public Safety Task Force and is the Neighborhood Watch Lead for her own Saratoga neighborhood. She is also a Santa Clara master gardener and was a garden columnist for the San Jose Mercury News for over 12 years. She continues to lead the Master Gardener Corporate Outreach Program helping corporations “go green and garden” and served as the executive director of Sustainable Community Gardens, where she helped promote garden-based education for children.
Jepsen is currently a board member with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley and, for the last two years, assembled a team of volunteers, Rebecca’s Rockin’ Rebuilders, that participated in Rebuilding Days that benefited Uplift Family Services in Los Gatos and Campbell.
Her reputation of giving backing, coupled with the extraordinary care she affords all her clients, is why people entrust Jepsen with the sale of their homes, often their biggest asset.
Penny Rigsbee and Betsy Nordmeyer called her “a Realtor they could trust to help them every step of the way.” After living in their Sobey Road home in Saratoga for 47 years, the pair of retired teachers called on Jepsen to sell “the home that meant everything to us.” “We developed an instant affection for you,” wrote Rigsbee and Nordmeyer in a note to Jepsen. “We were lucky to have you take care of everything. We felt completely at ease in your hands.” The fellow gardeners expressed their full confidence in Jepsen’s ability to prepare their unique home for the market.
“I can handle that” were the four little words that meant the world to 86-year-old Margaret Chaffee. She was looking to move out of the Campbell home she and her late husband, Paul, had shared and into a senior community.
Jepsen swept in and found homes for Paul’s collection of tools and the furniture they would no longer need and helped sort the possessions they had accumulated during their more than 50-year marriage. Cleaning and staging their home for the market came next.
More than just a client-Realtor relationship, they are friends for life with Jepsen, including Chaffee in subsequent family gatherings before COVID.
Dodi Benaron had lived in her Saratoga home for 55 years when she called upon Jepsen to help her put her house on the market. Like so many others, she had accumulated quite a collection of treasures and possessions during that time.
Just the thought of sifting through it all was debilitating, said the 88-year-old. Jepsen jumped in and, wanting to take advantage of the market, “gently and persuasively encouraged” her to start the process even though she was still on a waitlist at her preferred Palo Alto retirement community. Lucky for her, a unit became available, and the jump-start on sorting her belongings proved beneficial.
“Rebecca is so good at getting things done and figuring out the bumps in the road,” Benaron says. “She also makes sure you stay on course.” Benaron adds that she valued Jepsen’s knowledge of the market and trusted her to know it was an excellent time to sell. Benaron says Jepsen has a “sincere air of confidence and honesty. She is also personally interested in getting the best of all possible worlds,” including the best price.
“I trust her. I have confidence in her and her remarkable energy to burn,” says Benaron. Jepsen took care of the details, including purging, staging, listing and marketing her home, which ended up selling within one week.
“She (Jepsen) even threw a catered party and invited all my neighbors so that I could say goodbye. It just doesn’t get any better,” she adds.
John and Barbara Cellar’s son told his parents about Jepsen when the couple was contemplating selling their downtown Saratoga condominium. Jepsen and her team swept in and helped them sort their possessions, shred years of accumulated paperwork, pack, and move boxes to their new home in The Terraces in Los Gatos.
Even after the move, Jepsen’s work was hardly done. The discovery of a broken floor tile in the master bathroom of their condo revealed extensive damage resulting in the need to completely gut the bathroom to make repairs. Jepsen instantly found a licensed contractor, selected all the finishes, and managed the demolition and repair. Three short weeks later, the condo went on the market. Two weeks after that, the condo sold.
The Cellars were so impressed and couldn’t believe Jepsen made it happen. Did they mention that Jepsen and her husband also assembled a desk and delivered it to their new home during this same time?
“Selling real estate is not about the transaction,” says Jepsen, “but the creation of a relationship and hopefully a lifelong one. My clients touch my life as much as they say I touch theirs.”
For a 96-year-old friend and fellow master gardener, Jepsen found homes for nearly a thousand botany books that she had collected over the years. Why did she go that extra step? Jepsen doesn’t hesitate to say, “Because it mattered to her. If it matters to my client, it matters to me.” Jepsen adds, “It can often take more time and energy to help seniors navigate the sale of their homes, but I consider it an absolute honor and a way to keep alive my connection with my father,” she says. “I treat them the way I would want my Dad to be treated.”
Contact: Rebecca Jepsen, Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, (408) 357-3990, email@example.com