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Op-Ed: ‘Scream’ movie begins a Sonoma realtor’s career to Top Producer (Includes interview and first-hand account)

His face and name are seen regularly in ad spaces at the check out stand at the local markets and in all the real estate publications. Casabonne has been the top producing realtor in all Sonoma Valley for more than 15 years.
And, simply to clarify his last name is French not Italian, as he noted, “ironically the name means ‘good house,’ he said. Yet, a career in real estate was not my initial intention.” His path to real estate was due to that 1996 horror film that to this day, he is taken aback how unusually serendipitous things can turn out.
Originally from Saratoga in the Santa Clara Valley, Casabonne had just graduated from college in 1990 with the intent to go into the banking industry. Yet when the opportunity to go to Europe and live in Paris popped up, he jumped at the chance.

His name and photo is seen regularly in all the real estate publications throughout the wine country...

His name and photo is seen regularly in all the real estate publications throughout the wine country of Northern California. While he may appear and live like a movie star, Casabonne is very approachable and always happy to help people with one of the most important decisions of a lifetime, the purchase of a home.
Courtesy of Daniel Casabonne

Looking back, he can see that Serendipity still brought him to a banking job. “But to be able to live in Paris and work for a bank there for three years, how romantic is that?” He said. His plans to stay longer were cut short, when his parents, Yves and Annette Casabonne beckoned him home to help them in their new family business venture.
He credits his strong work ethic to his parents Yves and Annette who instilled in him the value of hard work. “I was helping out at my mom and dad’s shop, when I was nine years old,” he said. “I started doing little things like sweeping up, helping my dad fix a lawn mower. But eventually, I learned how to listen to people and recognize what they needed and try to help them.”
Not all that ready to retire, his parents had sold their lawn mowing shop in Saratoga and purchased the Little Switzerland restaurant and bar on the Westside of town near Agua Caliente. They wanted their son to come home to help out. For Casabonne, family is important and even though he admitted he did not want to give up the Parisian life he had started in his early 20’s, he wanted to help his parents.

This is what  Little Switzerland  restaurant looked like about the time Yves and Annette Casabonne p...

This is what “Little Switzerland” restaurant looked like about the time Yves and Annette Casabonne purchased the old roadhouse establishment. They later sold it and then in turn was just recently made into Rossi’s bar and grill.
Courtesy of LoopNet

Little Switzerland had been a local haunt in Sonoma since 1906. Rusty, musty, dusty and in need of some TLC, the family had a lot of work ahead of them. While waiting on tables, tending bar for a couple years, was an interesting experience, Casabonne yearned to find work in something more in line with banking where he could develop executive level skills.
He found it as an assistant executive director at the Sonoma Community Center. Fortunately, for Casabonne, he just happened to read in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that a film company was looking for a ‘old school building setting’ to shoot the final scenes to an upcoming movie. Casabonne saw it as a ‘win-win’ situation. “The community center gets some money and the film company gets to complete a film, sweet deal right!”

Little did Daniel Casabonne know that his willingness to help out the production crew of the 1996 mo...

Little did Daniel Casabonne know that his willingness to help out the production crew of the 1996 movie “Scream” would motivate him to enter into real estate. And, thus eventually become the “Top Producer of the Valley.”

Well, Casabonne under-estimated the controversy. He did not think the Board of Directors would mind, his pushing a deal through quickly. The film completed was the now well-known horror film called “Scream” by Wes Craven. Back then, it seemed like just another horror flick. But the 1996 movie was a hit and since has become a cult-classic. Needless to say, even though the community center got a check, Casabonne had to find another job. His father recommended he try real estate.

“I realized from that experience that I like negotiations, he said, and helping people make decisions.” He understood implicitly that he would have to work hard to establish himself. “I have never been too proud to hold open houses. But what he was taken aback by was the attitudes he encountered from fellow realtors. “They winced at my first modest listing and would act condescendingly.” Casabonne realized right away what his advantage would be. “Part of my success, he said is that I represent all price points within the market and quite often represent as many buyers as sellers.” Casabonne is not affected by any price range be it let’s say $400,000 or over $4 million. “For me it’s all about working with clients. I like to treat them like family and hopefully consider them as friends.”

Never too proud or shortsighted to take any listing in need of a realtor, Casabonne, likes helping everyone. “Listening to clients and learning to read people and their nuances is crucial in this business,” he said. What makes Casabonne different from his fellow realtors is, “I like it when a curve ball is thrown at me. I don’t give up and when challenged with ‘you can’t do it,’ I am eager to respond with oh, just watch me!”

“I am super-straightforward with everyone, he said, especially my clients.” He likes to help people make their own decision on what is probably the most important purchasing decision of their lives – a home. To learn more about realtor Daniel Casabonne visit his web site.

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