Berkeley Homes

Ira & Carol Serkes
Pacific Union/Christie's International
Berkeley, CA USA
Skype Serkes


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About Us - Ira & Carol Serkes
What we're about!

Well, you probably know just about everything about us from our interests, but here's some more.

First... why a vest? I'd like to tell you that it all started growing up in The Bronx, when my father, Max Serkes, would give me... in his strong Russian accent... the same advice he took when he was a teenager "go vest, young man!"

But that never really happened

We tried using sweaters or sports jackets... but I carry so much gear that the pockets sagged! Not surprising, since I usually carry a lockbox key, cell phone, digital camera, flashlight, note pads, post-its (don't leave home without it) and more! I thought that a vest might work well, so bought a nice fabric one but the cloth vest didn't hold its shape well. We were attending a real estate convention in Las Vegas... and Carol found my first leather vest. We now have them custom made at Fog City Leather in San Francisco.

We enjoy scratching the cats - Lucy adopted us from across the street. Gouger, Snidely and Beau are now together, helping to raise poppies in the back yard. Gouger died a few years ago, and I still miss him dearly. Lucy's parents (Marybeth and Tony and sons) are great, but her brother and sister cats and dogs were bugging her too much.

Lucy's now gone too ... and Poudini and Baby T have taken her place.

We really enjoy being with each other, eating out and going to movies (I bet you could tell that from our web site), travelling together, eating spicy foods, riding on steam trains and photographing Art Deco buildings.

Carol's British (born in Newcastle-on-Tyne... and now a proud American Citizen) and Ira's Yiddish!, which makes for some interesting times.

We like to travel, and have been focusing on "infill" travelling the past few years - Once I visit North Dakota I'll have been to all 50 states.

I used to say that we've been as far west as Mendocino, but in 2002 we went to Hawaii. And in 2008 Shanghai, Xian, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Kyoto. We've been as far east as Budapest, Hungary (on a trip to Prague, Vienna & Budapest). The latest count? About 29 countries (including some which no longer exist) and over 500 cities!

Carol says that "there's nothing Ira likes more than being in a new city with a bunch of guidebooks and maps" and I'd have to say that she's right. I'm trained as an engineer, and always love reading maps and guidebooks and figuring out how to see 12 hours of sightseeing in 6 hours. That's why I enjoy guidebooks so much.

Ira's a train buff - enjoys riding on trains, taking pictures of them, and listening to the whistles.

Carol has been an avid gardener in the past, but now really enjoys reading.

Ira speaks Bronxese, New Yorkish, Spanish, Macintosh, PDP-8 Machine Language, and Fortran. He also studied Hebrew and Arabic, but found that he was a better Realtor than linguist. Carol was born in Newcastle-On-Tyne in England, so speaks American English reasonably well. We're the British - Yiddish team!

Ira thinks that any place in the great outdoors is fine as long as it's not more than a mile or two from the car, and within an hour or two from a decent cup of coffee. Our newly found cousin Mimi, on the other hand, is a rock climber, and we had a great time with her in Yosemite (she even climbed Half Dome.) Fran Lebowitz said that "the great outdoors is what you see on your way from the apartment building to the taxi"... I tend to agree.

Ira's been rediscovering his past. Met met Mimi when she called in mid 1996 to say she's in town, and would we like to get together? We said sure, and though I've only seen her once or twice in my life, it was like we'd known each other for years.

A few years back, Ira got an Email from another Serkes, asking if we were related. That inspired me to search on the net to see how many Serkes' I could find. I sent out about a dozen Email messages, and within a day got a call from someone who said we're related! Within a few days, I found another 20 family members I didn't know existed. Wow - the net is amazing!

Ira Serkes, grew up in The Bronx, graduated from The Bronx High School Of Science, received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union, and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He worked for 10 years as an engineer for Chevron Research, and holds two patents for his research. He teaches Realtors how to use computers to better serve their clients.

Carol Serkes is trained as a para-legal and has been affiliated with one of the Bay Area's largest law firms.

We're fortunate in that our referrals from past clients are so bountiful that we only work half days. It doesn't really matter which 12 hours I work, but I tend to come in a 10 AM and work till 10 PM.

Ira & Carol Serkes