The Nob Hill Gazette’s April 2022 Issue (p. 49) features another Amy Andersen success story from the Bay Area based Peggy and Douglas who found one another through Linx and the help of Andersen. Linx caters to all ages (20’s to 70’s) and is dedicated to the endless possibilities of love and romance that can happen at any age. The article in its entirety is included below.
Love can happen any time in life. Take the modern love story of Douglas Spreng and Peggy Lucchesi. Spreng, a retired 77-year-old executive, decided to try online dating in 2020.” I dated through the pandemic,” he says. He used Our Time, a website and app geared toward adults over 50. “There were peaks and valleys. I was dating the whole time and I probably dated 20 women in a year.’ Tired of striking out, Spreng contacted a fellow Harvard alumnus who started a boutique matchmaking service in San Francisco. “People usually reach out to me,’ says Shannon Lundgren, the founder of Shannon’s Circle, “and I get to know them and find out, can I help them?”
Any person can sign up to be in her database of singles, but paying clients get the benefit from being set up on dates and finding a potential match. “When Douglas came to me, I did a lot of getting to know him,” Lundgren recalls. “The most common qualities that people tell me they’re looking for is someone intellectual curious and kind.” Lundgren set him up on several Zoom dates, but no Sparks Flew. Having combed through the possible candidates in Shannon’s circle, Lundgren called Amy Andersen, another local matchmaker, to see if anyone in her database might be a good fit for Spreng.
Enter Peggy Lucchesi. When Lucchesi moved from New Jersey to the Bay Area in 2014 to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, she met with Andersen founder of Linx Dating. “I got a call from Amy Andersen after about five years,” Lucchesi recounts. “She said, “I think there’s somebody you might be interested in. Do you want me to send you his profile?”
Spreng and Lucchesi agreed to an online date. It was supposed to last 45 minutes but extended for hours. She invited him to join her for lunch and a swim at the house she shared with her daughter’s family – and the rest is history. “Just imagine a couple of 70-somethings in their bathing suits, jumping around the pool,” Spreng says enthusiastically. “We didn’t kiss on the first date. That would’ve been premature. But there was something about her that made me feel special and relaxed.”
Their relationship progressed rapidly from there. Was it love at first sight? Not quite, but almost. Now the couple lives together, and although they have yet to celebrate their first anniversary, they haven’t ruled out a proposal. What’s their advice to older people looking for love? Don’t let yourself go, stay in good shape, pursue hobbies and be social. But most important: “Accept the idea that it’s possible,” Lucchesi says. “You can find the love of your life at this stage of life.”
Although matchmaking has been my profession and one of my greatest passions for the last 18 years, I have many other interests, and residential real estate is one of them… I love driving and walking around and noting homes that are for sale and, more so pre-COVID 19, touring open homes. I believe deeply in serendipity – random discoveries on Sunday open home drives have led to my two home purchases. There was clearly luck involved, but had I not put myself out there to get lucky, I would not have had the chance to get lucky.
Please humor me today as I engage in some residential real estate comparisons to shed some light on what I do at Linx Dating. Please forgive any simplification in my analogies – I am simply trying to make a few broad points.
In the old days pre-internet, as a prospective home buyer, you generally relied on a broker to do even the very basics of your search, unless you were willing to settle for driving through neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs or perusing the Sunday local newspaper real estate section. A good broker would get to know you and your needs, would generate a list of potential properties to view from a listing service which was not easily accessed by non-brokers, and take you around to open homes and private tours until hopefully you found what you were looking for. They would then generate paperwork to help you complete the various phases of the transaction, along with your bank if you were obtaining a mortgage, and then earn a brokerage fee calculated as a percentage of the sale price of the home.
The question is, why, in the age of the publicly available and online multiple listing service and seemingly endless choices of secondary apps and services such as Zillow or Redfin, do we still need real estate brokers? They basically do what they used to do.
It’s a fair point. Why should an agent, today, earn 2.5% for creating a list for you that looks like the MLS list and auto-generating paperwork from a repository of documents using “find and replace?” Yes, they can get you into a home during non-open home times, etc. etc. But what distinguishes them? And why, somehow, in light of this, do only 7-10% of homes get listed directly by sellers, meaning they are not using a broker? There has to be more going on.
The parallels to dating are noteworthy. Why invest in a personalized concierge matchmaker when there is Match.com, Tinder and all of the countless others available like the MLS?
Well, this is where it gets complex.
Are all of the available home properties on the MLS? Many are, for sure. But some of the best properties are “pocket listings,” “off-market listings,” or might never even make it to any listing. A good broker has a strong local network and can hear about properties that might be coming on the market in the future, or even owners who might be worth proactively approaching about selling their homes. You don’t get this on Zillow. A great broker is worth their weight in gold – certainly 2.5%.
In the dating world, not all of the great “catches” are on the apps. Why? Maybe they are just uncomfortable with putting themselves out there publicly and they value their anonymity and privacy. Maybe they don’t have the time or energy to invest in volume dating – to cycle through all of the prospects, messages, phone calls, texts, zooms, coffees, drinks, dinners and all of the rest. Or maybe even if they *are* on the apps, their profiles are hidden or they are burned out on the games. Or maybe they are *thinking* about trying online but haven’t yet.
At Linx Dating, we are discreet, we protect your privacy, and we tap our existing massive vetted and trusted network of referrals to find your match whether they are online or not. We can also do highly tailored outbound recruiting on your behalf and come with a stamp of credibility for the “buyer” and the “seller.”
All of this aside, I still haven’t touched on what might be the most important function of a broker – something that for me can be the most frustrating and yet most fulfilling part of my job – and that is working to be a bridge builder, confidante, and psychologist to both candidates at the same time, nurturing the “transaction” and serving to smooth the lines of communication so that a potentially great long term match is not permanently impaired by some early turbulence, miscommunications, and reluctance for candidates to give each other the benefit of the doubt early in a relationship.
I know this is true in dating – and I am told it’s true in residential real estate. There are so many pitfalls that can derail a home purchase – problems with bank mortgage approval, a housing inspection gone awry, weird neighbors, or just the raw emotions of buying or selling a home. This is where a seasoned broker with not only domain experience, but the right personality, can make a huge difference in closing a transaction that otherwise might have headed into the large abyss of the majority of deals that never get done.
I spend a large chunk of my day walking through my neighborhood with my Apple airpods cranked up, accumulating miles and steps and getting my exercise, as I talk to multiple clients, hearing how their early dates and communications with their matches are going, offering a listening ear, advice if needed or requested, and, on occasion, direct intervention if I feel it is warranted and can be helpful.
In the earliest stages of any relationship, when two people are just getting to know each other and to build trust, differences and misunderstandings can get completely blown out of proportion when emotions run high, and they can sink what could ultimately be a beautiful relationship. It is often my job to steady the ship, to communicate with both people, and to help them see the big picture. This can be as basic as my helping folks interpret signals from each other, or as in depth as providing “color” to both people if they might not initially be willing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
Just one recent example comes to mind – I was recently working with a successful 30-something male entrepreneur who had already successfully sold a company and had matched him to a 20-something female entrepreneur who was raising one of her first rounds of financing for her startup. They clearly clicked, had chemistry, and long-term relationship potential. However, a few of the dinners crossed over into business talk and, before you know it, he was giving her stern advice about the mistakes he thought she was making in her business and she, in turn, felt lectured, and that he was condescending, unempathetic in his inability to understand that she might not have the resources to follow his advice. She was deeply hurt and needed to take a break. He did not understand where he could have gone wrong as he was truly trying to help. Enter Amy, as I tried to help them both individually understand how they could listen to each other and save something that could be really special and I am glad to say they are back on track.
I am not here to deny that homes can be bought and sold without a broker, or even that some home transactions use a broker who still basically only does what is available online with a little looking. Similarly, online dating absolutely can work – with some luck and perseverance, there have been countless happy couples that have emerged from the apps.
But I am a believer in economics and survival of the fittest – ultimately, brokers need to justify their worth if they want their 2.5%. This goes for residential real estate and elite matchmaking.
Exactly one year after being matched to each other, this beautiful couple tied the knot this past weekend.
It was the third Linx match for each of them…
Her first date feedback included: “it was easy to talk freely and openly with him and just to be myself…the entire night felt comfortable, enjoyable, and just ‘right’.”
As happy as I was to hear this feedback, I couldn’t help but recall that it was not easy, at first, to get her to even meet this gentleman.
When I had initially presented his “baby bio” to her last August, she had reservations and was inclined to take a pass on him. I had to do what felt like an intervention with her (emails back and forth and phone calls) to make her see *why* I thought he was an excellent fit for her. She had come to me to help her find love, but was she ready to truly “let go” and trust my judgment and that I had her best interests in mind?
Since she was on the fence about meeting him, I suggested we add an extra layer of vetting and do a deeper dive of offering her the chance to ask him some questions. She developed a list of questions and I emailed them to him. Once I received his response, I emailed her back.
Although she really appreciated his rapid response and answers, she still wasn’t satisfied and wanted more answers from him before committing to a first date and using up one of her “official” Linx matches per her contract.
More phone calls, more emails and finally… she said yes!
I remember being very concerned about their meeting over Zoom (due to Covid) and suggested in person, outside, distanced, at a nice restaurant. Zoom can be so flat and impossible to detect chemistry! They listened, had such a great time, and stayed so long that they nearly closed the restaurant down.
After a handful of dates, he shared the following feedback with me: “we can’t get enough time with each other and I am loving every minute of it. I’m ready to be taken out of your Linx database and hope to share some more milestones with you in the future.”
I am so lucky to have matched this exceptional couple. Based on their geography, backgrounds, and a myriad of other criteria, I can firmly state that I know with 99.9% certainty that their paths would have never crossed had it not been for Linx.
They stayed steady with the “3” theme and became exclusive after 3 months, got engaged 3 months after going exclusive, and had a quiet wedding ceremony 3 months from the date of getting engaged.
This past weekend was a celebration with loved ones….surely a very very lucky day that could have hung delicately in the balance and never happened had the Linx process not been permitted to work its magic. 💫
1. How did you get into matchmaking – why do you do what you do?
2. How, and from where, do you source potential matches as “leads” and what is your subsequent vetting process? In other words, what is the “secret sauce?”
3. Are my ideal match criteria realistic and do you honestly feel that you have high quality candidates for me in your existing database or would you need to source outside the current database?
4. At what point does a “match” become “official?” May I veto potential matches or do you unilaterally make that call?
5. Tell me about a recent success story of yours and why you matched that particular couple.
“The first time I heard about Amy was back in 2011 when a friend and Stanford classmate of mine asked me to attend a holiday Link and Drink event with her in the city. I decided to attend the event with a few female friends. I had previously never been to a matchmaking casual event and did not know what to expect, but left the night having met a few interesting friends.
A year or so had passed, and I was still in the midst of founding my startup from Stanford, so I was quite busy with fundraising and entrepreneurship. Since I did not have much time to go out to many events, and more importantly, since I believed in Amy and in her well-regarded reputation in the Valley, I decided I would sign up to be an official client in the beginning of 2013. Shortly after joining, I met with Amy and her colleague and they went through a detailed questionnaire and interview process with me. Amy then set me up on one date- a good guy but ultimately not my soul mate. Afterwards, and mostly since at that time I was too focused with my company, I decided to put her services on a pause until my work schedule cleared up a bit.
In 2016, she reached out to me to meet a potential VIP client. By then, I was very much ready to be in a happy long-term relationship and build a family as my startups had matured and I felt it was the right time in my life. I decided to give her match a chance as he sounded like a great potential fit in the description.
And I’m sure glad I gave him a chance, and listened to Amy. As the match and I got to know each other, we realized we were soulmates searching for each other this whole time. It may sound cliché, and I did not know that these phenomena can occur outside of movies, but it was truly love at first sight. The more time we spent together, the deeper became our love and adoration for each other. We were compatible from all aspects of life, including our similar cultures, our dreams and goals in tech, our visions in how we would raise a family, and more importantly, our outlook on the everlasting power of true love. I am happy to say that it is through Amy that I found the love of my life, and I cannot thank her enough for bringing my soulmate and I together. Since him and I lived in different geographical locations, we would have never been able to meet without Amy connecting us.
My soulmate and I are now happily married, and expecting our first child in the coming months. Amy is an angel for bringing us together. I highly recommend placing your trust, time, and patience with Amy, as she is highly capable of finding the perfect match. She is the reason my husband and I met each other, and I cannot wait for her to meet our little one soon. My husband and I cannot thank Amy enough for bringing us together and helping form our growing family. She really does make magical dreams come true.”
-30-something Stanford University educated entrepreneur