Shedding San Francisco in Favor of SoCal

747-28th Ave., San Francisco

“Anna is perhaps one of the most genuine realtors in the industry. While some realtors might tell you what you want to hear, she tells you what you need to hear. She really knows the industry in and out. After briefly meeting Anna back in 2008 (during the downturn in the real estate market) I knew that I wanted her as my agent during my recent sale. From the start, her and her partner Greg provided me with a very accurate analysis of my home with intelligent recommendations. She is very thorough and throughout the whole process, she always kept me updated of necessary repairs, inspections and legal matters that need addressing – and she was always there to handle it.

What I really admire about her is her ability to handle every situation diplomatically and in a professional manner, that is something worth noting in today’s industry where there is almost an endless supply of realtors. She is able to keep the focus on the main goal of getting things done in a timely manner even when unexpected situations come up. And most of all, she cares. At the end day, there may be some realtors who see a transaction just a sale, but Anna realizes that for some (as in my case) that it was not just a home, but the home I grew up in. throughout the entire process she had great respect for that and always kept that in mind during the sale of the house.”

C.L-W.

From One Hill to Another: Hayward to Castro Valley


Hayward property sold, then Castro Valley home purchased

Anna and her team were very professional from the onset. Before we even listed our house we were presented all the comps in our surrounding area. We had the opportunity to carefully look at the information and make the best decision for our family. Her team advising on staging our house along with the professional photos helped us attain the selling price we were looking for. Anna May at Realty World truly sets the benchmark for Real Estate Companies. The next time we want to sell our house we’ll be calling Anna May. 

Thank you,

Carlos Pantoja

A Family Affair: Hayward to Redwood City

Sold for $1,200,000
Sold for $1,200,000 in Redwood City

“Greg Jones and Realty World (Neighbors) far exceeded our expectations. Greg updated us at every stage of our sale. We were never left to doubt what had happened THE flier in JPEG Rollin_on_Prospectand what to expect in coming days. His contacts removed much of the anxiety related to the selling of my Mother’s home. I will not hesitate to recommend the services of Realty World (Neighbors).” 

-Ilse and Larry Rollin

 

“Greg Jones is an incredible real estate professional. He was instrumental in making our real estate transaction possible. Even meeting with us pro bono to go through the complexities and options available to us. With our son, we were buying a piece of property held in trust, by a family member. Greg represented both the buyers and seller and, without his expertise and his ability to keep us all informed and on track, our son’s new house might never have become a reality. In addition to representing all parties in this endeavor, he was also the agent for the sale of our son’s present home; which was to be used in part for the down payment. Greg did an amazing job of both selling our son’s home (6 days of the market) and closing in record time; which in turn allowed for the closure of this deal weeks ahead of schedule. We would definitely recommend both Greg and his associates at Realty World Neighbors for your real estate needs.”

-Bruce and Dottress R., Redwood City, CA

“I could not be happier with the quality of service Anna & Greg provided, very professional, great knowledge, and very respectful to our needs. We were on a tight timeline to sell our house, and Anna & Greg made it happen without any issues. I would highly recommend Anna & Greg to anyone needing help selling or buying a home!!”

-Eric Rollin

Shedding the Excess: Scaling down the portfolio

Saint Helena“We are very pleased with the service Anna provided. Excellent and professional in every way. We had tried Sale-by-owner and at least another agent and had really unsatisfactory results (none). We signed on with her and within 15 day we had multiple offers and sold it. We closed on an offer of 14k over asking price. It happened so suddenly we found ourselves still reading the HOA news letter a week after the sale- LOL. She provided personal customer service that is hard to come by. She payed special attention to details and all flowed smoothly like clock work. Her hard work made our experience care free and stress free. Thank you Anna May!”

Ignacio & Alicia Lucero

Over the Hill: Hayward to Arnold

Call Ave.“We’ve known Anna and Greg socially for many years, but when we decided to sell our Hayward home after 22 years, we thought, well how about professionally. We’ve been guided by them for seven months in the process of readying our home for sale, and putting it ‘on the market’. Anna and Greg were amazing….we had several minor bumps along the road, but they helped us through. Commitment is actually Anna’s middle name; don’t let the Laveria fool you. Her firm Realty World Neighbors is dedicated, and their work product is superior. Although we’re leaving Hayward after 40+ years, we’ll be back in the area frequently, and we look forward to seeing our friends in the real estate office.”

-Linda & Steve Bristow

Yikes! Un-permitted Square Footage???

Sadly, it isn’t uncommon to come across properties that, over the years, have work done without proper City or County building permits.   Older homes that have had multiple owners lose the history of what has been done and when, so getting to the “real” facts about additions, changes, etc. becomes very difficult.  And shudder to think, government records aren’t always accurate either!  Even though an owner may think they got their worked signed off by the City or County, the jurisdiction has no record of it!  Common improvements done without permits that we have seen in our years of real estate sales:

  • Decks
  • Garage conversions
  • Garage bathrooms
  • Patio/sun room enclosures
  • Electrical work (both indoor and outdoor)
  • Window installations
  • Hot water heaters
  • Attic access improperly made
  • Kitchenettes
  • Second dwelling units

So, what to do….

HOMEOWNERS:  Please comply with your local building regulations regarding modifications to your home.  If you want to ensure the work is done properly and up to code, hire a licensed contractor who knows what they are doing and acquires the appropriate permits and inspections.  Ensure the permits are “finaled” meaning that they get the final sign off by the appropriate jurisdiction.  Then and only then can you represent to a future buyer that the work was done with permits!   Work done without permits must be disclosed to any potential buyers, and the value of your property can be severely impacted by not having work done to code.  In some cases insurability may be impacted, as well as a property appraisal for a potential buyer’s lender.

Bottom line:  get the necessary permits, use a licensed contractor, and add value to your property, not diminish it.

BUYERS:  So, you see that dream house, with that added family room (used to be the back patio sunroom) and 1/2 bathroom in the garage…but were these building modifications done with permits?  The Seller is required to disclose what they know about a property, but perhaps they bought the property with those “improvements” already there, so they don’t the status of any permits.  We assist our Buyer clients in researching such matters at the appropriate governmental agency.  If work has not been done with the necessary building permits, it may have been done unsafely.  Worse yet, if the work results in some sort of other governmental code violation (such as a garage conversion), a Buyer may later be required to tear out the improvements either permanently or have them redone with permits.  Both of these scenarios can be very expensive.  Finally, a Buyer’s lender may not accept square footage that was added without building permits and where the public record does not reflect the additional square footage in the County Assessor’s tax records.  With square footage excluded from an appraisal, the available loan amount may be severely impacted and the Buyer unable to finance the purchase.

Bottom line:  review thoroughly all disclosures available regarding the property.  If there is ANY discrepancy in the square footage being represented and the County Assessor official records, get to the bottom of it by checking on issued building permits.  Have a general property inspection done to determine the overall safety and quality and condition of the property.  Unfortunately, in this very hot real estate market, there are property investors/flippers that cut corners to get the property back on the market to make top dollar.  Be wary, check the disclosures and the quality of the work that’s been done.  As they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover:  investigate the property thoroughly or risk years of disappointment.

So YIKES…be careful when a property has non-permitted improvements: for your own safety and physical and financial well being!

Patience Is A Virtue

Patience (George Michael album)

We have wonderful clients.  Believe it or not, we have some buyer clients who grow concerned that THEY are wearing US down because they haven’t yet found their dream home.  We gently remind them that until they find a property they are excited about, that they can picture themselves in for years to come, that meets the majority if not all of their requirements in a home, we will be with them every step of the way.

The current market can be very frustrating for buyers, with historically low inventories and multiple, sometimes irrational, offers in competition.  However, buyers who are patient (with patient agents too!) will eventually get into a place to call home.  So, don’t be discouraged…be patient and let the process and market unfold.  Then schedule the housewarming party LOL.

Working for Buyers: The Representation Agreement

Brown eyed rufusAll of us get our butts out of bed in the morning for different reasons. For us, it’s this pesky dog. Rufus the Dufus whines and cries and whimpers at the crack of dawn until we let him out to go potty. He is an annoying little 50 lb.-creature, but he gets us out of bed. It’s hard to be mad at him once our sleepiness subsides.

What gets us into the office is something entirely different. Our Clients have an expectation that we be at the top of our game when it comes to representing them. There is a big difference between a “Buyer Client” and a mere “buyer customer”. We ONLY advocate for the interests of Buyer Clients after they’ve formally retained our services to do so. We’d rather avoid working on behalf of buyers for weeks or months, putting aside our evenings and weekends and family time only to (argh!) have a buyer suddenly decide to have their newly licensed cousin represent them, for example.

Part of formal buyer representation includes an “Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement”. This document outlines what the buyer and agent parties can expect of each other and what documentation is required to get started.  We take representation of Buyer Clients as seriously as we take our representation of Seller Clients. Here are a few of the benefits of formal buyer representation:

  • We’ve built a reputation among fellow agents in our market area for having rock-solid buyers. Our Exclusive Buyer Clients benefit from this by having their offers submitted by us be taken more seriously, especially in multiple offer situations which are common in our area. This means we have compiled a complete Buyer Package before we show even one property to a buyer.
  • Exclusive Buyer Representation ensures our Clients that they are our first priority. Evenings and weekends, for example, are reserved for Clients first and foremost.
  • Many of our Clients are high profile, very busy individuals. We take the time to preview properties for Exclusive Buyer Clients and record walk-thrus and report to them whether or not a property is even worth seeing.
  • We attend weekday real estate marketing meetings where we broadcast what our Exclusive Buyer Clients seek, and often learn about upcoming listings long before they hit the market.
  • We send out monthly real estate e-newsletters to broadcast to our databases what our Exclusive Buyer Clients want, and through this medium, we also learn about properties that will be available before they hit the market.
  • If our Exclusive Buyer Clients MUST move into a specific neighborhood, we’ll knock on doors and send mailers out to ask those neighborhood property owners if they have interest in selling rather than wait around for something to come available.

Right now, our Exclusive Buyer Clients include a recovering peninsula dweller buyer, the newly engaged couple, the seller of this gorgeous home who’s buying in the San Ramon area to be close to family, and also the family of a US veteran who’s seeking an affordable home in the East Bay.

We’re darn good at what we do, so there are certain steps we take before we use our talents, expertise, network and experience to advocate and help protect a Client’s interests. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all…

 

Say Yes First, Then We’ll See

Image-wedding and engagement ring 200

In addition to the Exclusive Buyer Clients we have who jump in head first or take their time to make a decision, we also have those who are “perpetually engaged”.

One such Exclusive Buyer Client of ours has been “engaged” for quite a while and for a number of reasons, has not sealed the deal.

Being “engaged” in a real estate transaction means that a proposal has been offered and accepted. The engagement is sometimes dragged on and on for many months while one or both parties work on some issues.

Sound familiar, all you serial monogamists?

Seeking an Ideal Match

Marissa headshot
Recovering Peninsula dweller seeks urban oasis in hip, diverse, warm Hayward or San Leandro. Marketing geek, takes all corners on the tennis courts, easily persuaded by cabernet, burgers and new cuisines, loves food & podcast recommendations.
Her ideal mate is a home that has two-three bedrooms and at least two bathrooms on a single level on a large lot with room to build, or even a duplex.
Serious suitors for her purchase only. Show your goods and she might be interested!

 

Jumping In Without Contingencies

client photoMeet our daring and dashing Exclusive Buyers Clients, M & B!

The subject of putting all your eggs in one basket doesn’t allow much wiggle room for an “out” — not without penalty, anyway.

When it feels right, there’s no denying taking the plunge. That’s what M & B did recently, in two ways:

  • They made an offer on a property with NO CONTINGENCIES
  • They got ENGAGED! To be married!

Let’s hope they don’t find anything wrong … with the property, of course. Otherwise, they’re stuck!

CLICK HERE for an artist reception featuring the work of “Slate Quagmier”, shown here.

 

How To Spend Sunday (and Thursday Night and Monday Night)

So, the “He Said” part of this dance card already has his plan for Sunday, and Thursday night and Monday night for the next few months.  A lifelong fan for the NFL, my beautiful bride looks at me in bewilderment as I confidently log my plans onto to our joint Google calendar.  If you are an outsider looking in at an NFL fan, we appear irrational, boring, beer drinking, salty snack loving creatures.  You would be correct.

“She Said” frequently asks throughout a Sunday “when is the game over” and I kindly respond “it’s almost over, but….”  meaning there is another game following that one.  So what’s in it for her?  Free time to spend with Mom…isn’t that a great gift?

See you Sunday (and Thursday night and Monday Night).  Go Seahawks.

 

Monday Night Football came to Gillette Stadium...

 

PS.  Don’t even get me started on my first attempt at Fantasy Football….

Making the Case for Stairs

 

dogs on our stairs
(This is not a photo from a scary movie. These are our dogs Piglet & Rufus. If you can’t tell who is who, then you have no sense of humor.)

 

I don’t know about any of you, but I like tight buns. I like having them too, which is why I love living in a three-story house.

We have many clients who love stairs. They feel as if they’re on top of the world when their homes are up high. I remember shortly after moving in to our home, I sat in the hot tub located on the lower deck of my home with my mom. It was dark outside and the house was lit from within. I looked up at the three levels of my home and said, “Mom, I feel rich.”

I’ve also had dreams of living in a home with many levels and the higher up I climbed, the less “stuff” each space had. I’ve also had dreams of a vast “basement”-type area with what appeared to be hordes of space and so much potential for improvement.

Although I sometimes get winded going up the stairs when hauling up the laundry, I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. I know that walking up stairs helps me to keep my muscles strong and adds to my overall health.

So, how about a nice home with a built-in opportunity for a healthy daily work-out?