As children of immigrants who moved from the Philippines to the U.S., both Valerie and Raul Francisco-Menchavez Jr. have always felt uprooted and in search of a place to call home.
Valerie, a tenured associate professor of sociology and sexuality studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU), said the urge to find a community grew in 2017 when the couple’s second child, Cy, was born, joining Aya, who is now 6.
“We had moved around and wanted to settle down,” she said. “We wanted to put roots down and rent was getting untenable.”
But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that the couple really got serious. They were sharing a three-bedroom apartment with their best friends and their child, and the space was too small for the sequestered life of working and schooling at home.
“When things were bleak, we went to Landed webinars,” Valerie recalled. “That was summer 2020 and we dove right in in the fall.”
Valerie, Raul, and their two children inside their new home in Daly City, CA.
The couple wanted a three bedroom home with at least two baths. They wanted a backyard; after living without one in condos and apartments in New York and Portland, they wanted to try their hand at growing plants.
They also wanted to live in Daly City, which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area.
“We wanted to live in Daly City because it has the highest concentration of Filipinos outside of Manila,” Valerie said. “As a Filipina American, it is the closest thing to home and we wanted to raise our children, who are second generation Filipino Americans, in Daly City.”
Valerie and Raul, who is a developer at Apple, originally looked at Landed’s down payment program, but ended up not needing it. What they did need, however, was help understanding the homebuying process as first-time buyers.
After living in condos in New York and Portland, the family values having their own backyard.
“It was important for me to make this a learning experience and Landed answered all our questions,” Valerie said. “Every step of the way someone was supporting us and if they couldn’t help, they found someone who could.”
This was very valuable, especially as they entered a rapidly changing housing market.
“We were looking at houses in the middle of a pandemic. We were not ready for the crazy market,” Valerie said. “People said ‘It’s crazy,’ but when you’re in it it’s really an emotional rollercoaster. Because buying a home is one part logistics but in equal parts it’s about getting real with yourself – what do you really want?”
They eventually found the perfect home for them, a sunny, three-bedroom, two-bath mid-century home with a large backyard space and amazing views of the San Francisco Bay and Oakland.
They couldn’t be happier to finally have a wonderful home of their own in a community they love.
“When we had keys in hand, it was just disbelief,” Valerie said. “We were like, ‘Wow, we really did it. We persevered.’ It’s been such a long journey – the story of our family.”
“We are nourished by the community here and want to nourish this neighborhood. It’s our home.”
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