The Perfect Proposal: A Real Estate Love Story

Picture of Jonni and Jonathan on their engagement day
Jonathan swept Jonni off her feet with roses and a proposal the day they closed escrow.

Editor’s Note: This story has been the talk of our Marin County offices for the past two weeks, and it’s such a wonderful tale we wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Most real estate transactions begin with an offer. But for a young couple buying their first home together, it ended with one – an offer of marriage.

Jonathan Graves and Jonni Offenbach, both in their early 30s, had been dating while maintaining separate homes and running businesses in Santa Rosa and in San Jose, respectively. But the distance was getting difficult, and they both agreed that they’d like to move in together.

“We also knew that we wanted to make it official first,” said Jonathan. Jonni has 8-year-old twins from her first marriage, and Jonathan felt they needed to “make things right” for the sake of the kids. When it came to popping the question, he said, “We both knew it wasn’t an ‘if,’ it was a ‘when’.”

They found the perfect 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in Novato, thanks to the efforts of Pacific Union International’s Sean Solway. And that’s when things got tricky.

Jonathan wanted to propose, but Jonni’s sister’s wedding was looming – and Jonathan didn’t want to steal her thunder. But he knew that waiting until after the wedding would be exactly what Jonni expected, and he wanted to create at least some element of surprise for his bride-to-be.

“Jonni would know that at some point between her sister getting married and us moving into the new house, she’d be getting engaged,” he said. “It wouldn’t be exciting. I needed to create the perfect opportunity to catch her off guard.”

So Jonathan hatched a plan, got the green light from Jonni’s sister and her family, and contacted his trusty real estate professional.

“I schemed together with Sean, and we pushed the house to go through to make sure the dates and timing worked,” he said.

“They were closing escrow on Friday, September 21,” added Sean, “and Jonathan asked if me if he could get the key early that day. He told me he was going to have Jonni meet him there after work on some pretense, and then propose.”

Jonathan spun a tale about meeting with contractors at the house and asked Jonni to join him afterward. When she got there, she was none the wiser.

“He opened the door, said ‘Welcome home!,’ picked me up and carried me over the threshold,” she said. “I thought it was really sweet but I had no idea what he was doing.”

That changed when Jonathan carried her upstairs into an empty bedroom with roses strewn on the floor in the shape of a heart.

“When he started talking, I realized what was happening. I was totally shocked!” she said. “I had no suspicion at all that this was what he’d been planning.

Mission accomplished for Jonathan: Jonni was taken completely by surprise (although she retained enough composure to say yes). As for Sean, he was happy to be in on the secret.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had clients get engaged when they closed escrow – it was great,” he said. “They are a stellar couple, really solid people, and I’m thrilled to see how this turned out.”

So are Jonathan and Jonni. Although they haven’t yet set a wedding date, they’re both excited to start their lives together in their new home. And Jonathan’s proposal already has a place in family legend.

“It was an amazing moment, and a great start for all the good memories that we’ll be creating,” said Jonni.

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