As a Windermere agent since 1995, I’ve helped more than 500 individuals and families buy and sell over $750 million in residential property throughout the Greater Seattle area. As Managing Broker at Windermere’s Yarrow Bay office, I have the knowledge, experience, and connections to provide my clients with the highest echelon of professional service in the process of buying and selling homes. Because nearly all my business comes from past clients, together with their personal referrals of friends, family, and co-workers, I’m able in turn to devote the full focus of my workday to serving clients rather than advertising to the public and otherwise shopping around for new business opportunities. If you’re reading this page, it’s most likely because a friend or colleague recommended my services. I appreciate the referral, and hope you’ll read on.
Adding Value for Buyers: Knowledge, Experience, and Fiduciary Trust
What attributes should a real estate agent possess to add substantive value to the homebuying process…? In my view, the following are key: (1) a detailed knowledge of the local housing market garnered from decades of practical experience working in that market; (2) an eye for home design, both in terms of function and aesthetics; (3) an understanding of residential construction and remodeling – methods, materials, best practices, and cost/value analysis; (4) an in-depth experience working with real estate contracts across a wide range of situations, understanding how to structure due diligence processes for the purpose of maximizing opportunity whilst mitigating risk; and (5) a long history of effective advocacy and judicious project management.
When working with homebuyers, my role is that of a fiduciary and educator, not a salesperson. The practice of “selling”, at its core, seems to be about trying to convince others to do things that might or might not actually be in that person’s best interest. As an educator, by contrast, my singular purpose is to empower my buyer-clients with the knowledge and insights to enable them to make better decisions for themselves based on an actual material understanding of their unique circumstances and objectives. In other words, my goal isn’t to “sell you a house” – rather, my intention is to assist in building up your own analytical abilities so that you can make better choices for yourself, in your own time, on your own terms. This is the core of the fiduciary trust: the client’s interest and well-being always comes first.
In evaluating candidate properties, I provide my clients with complete information and detailed analysis on such matters as neighborhood and school quality, zoning, growth and development patterns, commute optionality, floorplan and design/build condition, remodeling potential, topography and landscaping, sun exposure and privacy, as well as potential future-development risks and rewards. These various components matter not only because they will affect your personal enjoyment of the home, but also because they determine any given property’s investment potential – both considerations are vital.
An integral part of being skillful in any practice is recognizing both what you do know and also what you don’t. Or, even when you have a preliminary idea about something, always being able, ready, and willing to get second and third opinions from other experts. Part of the value I add for my buyer-clients comes from the veritable army of such professionals that I can call on when we need help – lenders, inspectors, title and escrow officers, attorneys, architects, engineers, and contractors. My team of highly-responsive specialists will work together to keep you fully-informed and in total control of your homebuying process.
Buying a home is a major financial and practical undertaking that reaches its end through a complex, multi-faceted process. When working as a buyer’s agent, my central responsibility is to provide clients with the knowledge and resources to make educated, fully-informed decisions, and to provide a coherent organizational structure for navigating this process.
To learn more about how I add value for my buyer-clients, please check out my testimonials page.
Adding Value for Sellers: Every Detail Matters
When you have a property to sell, how can a real estate agent add substantive value to this process…? In my view, the process of marketing and selling a home can be broken down into two parts: It starts with (1) the pricing, preparation, and presentation of the property, and then later to (2) vetting prospective purchasers, negotiating the contract, then managing the transaction through the rocky shoals of any buyer-side due diligence, clearing contingencies, and closing the sale.
When readying a new listing for market, pricing is usually but not always the most straightforward part of that process: we look at comparable sales data, current competitor listings, and also the supply-demand balance in our specific market (which, axiomatically, determines price trends), and using this information establish a list price that should cause the property to draw offers. There are two basic pricing strategies: Either price a little on the low-side of estimated market value in hopes of receiving multiple offers and thereby getting the purchase price bid up, or else price a little on the high-side of estimated market value in order to give room to negotiate (ie, downwards on price) with a single prospective buyer. Which pricing strategy we employ really depends on the property: If the property is expected to be broadly appealing to many prospective purchasers – by virtue of location, price-point, design, and other relevant market considerations – and thus likely to draw multiple offers, then most likely we’d price a tad on the low-side and use the multiple offer context to get the price bid up. Alternately, if the property seems to be more of a niche offering for whatever reason and thus less likely to draw multiple offers, then most likely we’d price a tad high and thus give ourselves room to negotiate with a single candidate buyer.
The more nuanced and complex question to consider when readying a home for market is about the physical preparation of the property itself: Namely, to what extent should we fix and dress up the house to prepare it for market, vs. just selling essentially as-is…? The answer in any given situation depends both on the client’s inclinations and objectives, and also about the potential cost/value analysis for any sort of pre-marketing repairs and updating we might be considering. In a strong seller’s market, many homeowners could have a strong inclination to do the least possible work to prepare the property for market – and if that’s a seller’s established preference, then that usually answers the question. More often, what I find is that, by making targeted repairs and updates to the property to put it into more turn-key condition for our prospective buyers, we’re able to achieve marginal returns that are often in the range of 2-3 times the cost of the investment in the targeted improvements. To give a very simple (yet common) example, let’s say that a $25K investment to repaint the interior, replace the carpet, and refinish the hardwood flooring could result in a return of +$75K on the sale price vs. selling the house as-is – to most sellers, this would seem like a pretty good return on the investment. For any given property, I will run various models to provide you with a side-by-side comparison of an as-is sale vs. a range of different repair-and-remodel options. These models look at both the actual costs associated with the different repair-and-remodel options, and also the estimated return thereupon. Once the client has selected the model which optimizes the return on investment, we then bring in contractors to start the work. Sometimes the homeowner prefers to manage the contractors themselves; in other situations – for example, with a typical vacant property – the homeowner would give the keys to me, and then have me supervise the work from start to finish. I am extremely demanding of my contractors – they know my exacting standards, and will work sedulously to meet them. In turn, from the contractor’s perspective, if they provide excellent services at reasonable prices for my clients, they know this is the best way to earn additional business in the future. This network of relationships creates an opportunity for a genuine positive-sum exchange, and one which contributes a substantial value-addition for my seller-clients.
Once any pre-marketing repairs and remodeling have been completed, then we’re on our way to the final step of readying the property for market, which is presentation. Presentation is what most people will think of when think of “real estate marketing” in the conventional sense. For homes that are already furnished, I will stage the property myself as an included service – I have an extensive background in interior design, and am a professionally-accredited stager. For homes that are vacant, I will often recommend to the homeowner to have the property staged by an actual staging company – ie, a firm that has staging furniture available for rent. In this latter situation, I will create the staging plan, and the staging company will implement it. Upon completion of staging and final cleaning, we’ll be ready to bring in the professional photographer, whom I will meet personally and provide specific guidance for the shoot.
For the marketing materials themselves, I believe every home has a story to tell, and a big part of my job is to help tell that story to our prospective buyers. As a university-trained essayist, I’ll readily admit that one of my favorite work activities is in the writing of ad copy, and – more broadly – in the creation of all of our print and electronic marketing materials. I would be glad to share examples of my work when we meet in person, provide you with additional proprietary information about my marketing program and services, and discuss how these would be custom-tailored in the marketing and sale of your home.
Once we receive an offer, I will vet the prospective purchaser’s financials and evaluate their commitment to the property, structure and negotiate the contract itself, oversee any sort of buyer-side due diligence such as inspection, title review, HOA examination, and bank appraisal, personally managing the entire process all the way to closing. Throughout this process, I will stay in consistent communication with you, providing you with timely updates so that you’ll always know exactly what’s going on and what to expect, all the way from the time your property hits the market until you see the sale proceeds hit your bank account.
In a typical year, I’ll do about 25 buyer-side transactions, and about 15 seller-side transactions, meaning that, at any given time, I will usually have not more than about 2-3 active listings. With property marketing, I believe that every detail matters – and that’s why I want to manage all the particulars myself rather than farming them out to an army of assistants. While in theory I could choose to run a larger operation, I prefer instead to run a relatively small shop. My intention and rationale in doing so is to keep my business at a manageable scale so that I can maintain a consistently hands-on approach, lavishing time and attention on each of my client’s projects. My emphasis is on quality over quantity, and on providing an exceptional client service experience rather than chasing “sales targets” and meaningless corporate awards. In short, it’s not about making me #1 – it’s about making you #1.
To learn more about how I add value for my seller-clients, please check out my testimonials page.
Foundational Principles and Objectives
My organizing business principle reflects the foundational objective of my life – namely, to develop long-lasting relationships with others based on trust and mutual respect. In other words, to build friendships. A friend, of course, is someone whom you know reflexively is on your side, working on your behalf, looking out for your well-being and long-term best interest. This begins with the basics of good listening and clear communication about a client’s near-term real estate objectives. And, whenever possible, I hope that it gradually extends to include more reflective conversations on larger values and ideals as we work together to realize each individual’s unique vision for manifesting a lifetime of wealth, beauty, and happiness.