Hearing a person's story, what influences them and the journey to where they are in life can be a huge inspiration! Get to know The Girl and The Home’s leader and founder, Juliana Maziarz with a little glimpse into her background, personality and vision.
Where did you grow up and what is your background?
I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley area, Glendora, a charming little town in the foothills, in Los Angeles county about 20 minutes from Pasadena. My father’s family emigrated from Mexico to North East LA in the1940s. My family has deep roots in NELA, and my great grandma raised her 8 children in Highland Park and Lincoln Heights. My grandparents met at Franklin High school in Highland Park. My mother’s family moved from Cuba to New York City in 1968. My parents met in New York and moved back to SoCal when they found out they were having my sister and I who are twins! I went to Cal Poly Pomona for business, though the greatest training I ever had was working with my parents who also work in real estate, having the opportunity as a child to be on construction sites with dad during summers.
Tell us a little bit about your own homeowner story and what you’ve experienced as a homeowner.
In 2010, at the age of 23 there were a lot of foreclosures coming through our office (Southern California Homes Inc.) and one of those was a beautiful but distressed craftsman duplex built in 1903, in an area that at the time was not considered desirable. This area today is known according to the NY Times as "a thriving neighborhood of cool restaurants and boutiques that draw young trendsetters in skinny jeans, flannel shirts and Converse high tops"...who would’ve thought!
I learned many lessons along the way, and in the beginning it was scary and risky committing to an old house (great bones, though) that had many problems at the time, but I am so grateful to my parents who instilled in me a fearless attitude. My husband (a photographer) who I was just dating at the time, twin sister Cynthia and I were committing to put all of our life savings into this investment, but we are so glad we took the risk because we see the rewards of owning a home that allows for income in an incredible area that has appreciated in value dramatically.
Initially, we had planned for this home as an investment property. In order to compete with the investors, we had to get a high interest hard money loan and use all of our savings to rehab the property, then after the year that it took us to fix it up and rent it, we were able to rent both sides out and then refinance to a conventional loan.
We saw this house in phases:
Step one was, make it into a legal rental, not fancy, but it was clean and livable. My sister and I became first time landlords and we learned so much from the experience.
When we finally decided to move into one of the units, the smaller of the two, because we were living there, we wanted to put in nicer upgrades… great flooring, all new appliances, new wall heater and a/c units, light fixtures. It was more thoughtful because it was for us to enjoy, rather than being just a rental. We always kept money in reserve for big repairs, like the roof, and sometimes our savings would get wiped out, but it still felt like we were investing in our own financial future.
Then we decided to move into the larger unit (rather than paying rent somewhere else) we started upgrading the larger part of the house because that's where we were living and is where we are today. A house is always a work in progress.
For me as a first time home buyer, I had to have a "no risk, no gain" attitude because everything in real estate can be risky, but I knew buying a home like this was an opportunity to personalize a house to my taste rather than pay for someone else's upgrades, and invest in my own financial future. Being able to be generous and hospitable to my family and friends has always been important to me and being a homeowner has been a pathway to reaching that goal.
Juliana and her dog Ollie in her 1903 Craftsman home in Highland Park, California.
Other things you want people to know about you as a person.
I love Dogs (and all animals). My dream job, besides real estate would be running an animal rescue. My dog Oliver was a little puppy abandoned on the streets of Silverlake and has become such a joy to my life and one of TGATH’s mascots.
I love Travel. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many countries. Meeting new people and seeing beautiful architecture, and being able to learn about how cultures are expressed around the world is so fulfilling and makes you grow as person. It expands your viewpoint and also your appreciation for how things are done in other countries.
I love Music. I’ve loved music all my life and grew up hearing my grandpa playing bolero music at family gatherings, and my dad playing guitar every morning while eating breakfast with my family. Then I married a man who moved from New York with a trumpet, guitar, banjo, accordion, and very little else!
I love Volunteering and taking time out of my life to put other people first. I think having balance as a person and seeing other people's needs as being more important than mine helps me achieve happiness and also enables me to be the kind of person I want to be.
How did you get into real estate and why do you like/love it?
I was basically born into real estate. My grandfather started working in construction in Los Angeles and then eventually moved up near Yosemite and started building homes. He taught my dad the real estate and construction trade and by the time my dad was 16 he was building his first home.
It’s kind of funny because people think that real estate is only all about sales, but actually that’s not what I love about real estate; what I love about it is people and their experiences. One of my favorite lines in a song by a musician who I listen to all the time, is “in a world full of mouths, I want to be an ear…” It’s really rewarding to be part of a person’s journey to one of the biggest milestones in their life. Sometimes that means being a therapist, but there’s nothing quite like sitting down and talking things out with a friend or a client (or both) about their journey to homeownership over a latte at Civil Coffee or a glass of wine at Cafe Birdie.
What are the things that influence your approach to working with your clients?
I was raised around a family that is very entrepreneurial. A common saying in my home was, “If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.” So when I work with my clients, I try to instill in them a sense of empowerment and confidence in whatever goal they are trying to reach, whether it is finding an investment property, a starter home to get their foot in the door to home ownership, or their forever dream home. There are so many opportunities as a homeowner to build equity and to also use your home for other opportunities in building a solid financial future, and I am always thrilled and eager to share my tips with people.
What are your goals for The Girl and The Home?
As I transition into taking over my dad’s brokerage, I look forward to working with other creative, fun, and approachable people. I am super excited to bring a high quality of service to a diverse set of creative people, families, professionals, and anyone who wants to own real estate. I'm also looking forward to expanding my team and working with my friends who have the same ethics, values and (balanced) drive to make people happy and have empathy for those taking on this very emotional journey to owning or selling real estate.