The First Step to a Successful Sale in San Francisco

Calling Kevin Ho + Jonathan McNarry, Vanguard Properties

WANT TO GET $1M OVER ASKING? HERE’S HOW

Superior Selling Services (and Getting You the Best Buyers Possible)

Selling comes naturally to us, which has served us well as it’s been a sellers’ market in San Francisco since 2012. But as things are shifting back toward a more balanced market it means sellers should expect to have trustworthy, fully committed and devoted agents working for them. Our Sellers not only get that but also get agents who are sociable marketing gurus with millions of dollars of sales knowhow and far-reaching networks who also happen to own a real estate superdog too.

Selling your property — often your most valuable asset — is something where you want full service that goes beyond the basics but service that is tailored to your needs and to a property’s potential as we strive to reach the best possible buyers out there.

We believe our approach is distinct from what other agents. As you’d guess, we believe we work harder than anyone we know, we fuss about the details and insist that we show off your property in the best light possible in order to attract the best possible buyers out there. We’re fastidious, driven and our seller services are turn-key, which will be very useful for you as you as you focus on the next home. We take the trust you place in us very seriously. 

We Tailor Our Approach to Every Property and Client with the Right Look, Touch and Feel 

We work our hardest to ensure our clients’ properties are showcased and presented in the best possible light to attract top-dollar. We sit down and work with each seller to tailor and craft a marketing plan that is designed to showcase the seller’s property in the best possible light. We create inspirational and aspirational spaces that appeal to the right buyer whether they’re end-owner users, developers, or investors.

We Have People You Can Call — or we can help out

We have a stable of stagers, painters, craft and trades people and trusted vendors who help implement our tailored marketing plan and vision we propose for your property. If all fails, we’ve painted, built garden walls, change lighting fixtures and corrected inappropriate staging ourselves — we are very hand’s on.  We identify areas to improve, provide you access to our vendor list (and discounts) as well as give you guidance as to what to expect from the market.

Fewer and Fewer Listings Every Year…

 

There's More...

Smarter Selling
Broad Channels At Your DIsposal

See Our Market Reach: More Eyes, More Buyers

6 Basics States of Successful Selling

At least this isn’t a 12-step program. But to be fair, there are far more than 6 things to worry about when preparing a property for sale. That’s why it helps not only to have 2 agents, a big black dog, but also to have their team of vendors, tradespeople and professionals there to help

Step 1: Assessment & Preparation.

  • assessment-pic-sampleWe will identify your goals, the salient selling points of your property, and what buyers are seeking and identity where your property fits.
  • We will assess how much your property is worth “as-is” and what it might be worth with improvements, proper staging or more…
  • Each property we’re invited to review will will receive a detailed written assessment of what changes we think that can be made to make the property so it is the most appealing to the current market mood.
  • We will offer our perspective on what we can expect in terms of price, demand, and how to best maximize what we have and what we can do given our network, experience and resources.
  • We will prepare a detailed to-do checklist, marketing approach that identifies the likeliest buyers and how we can reach them.
  • We will provide references to professionals such as accountants, lawyers, contractors, stagers and more given our budget, timeline, and circumstances.

Step 3: Fine Tuning & Broadcast Our Debut.

comingsooncollage

  • Once we get started on our joint To-Do list we will be as involved or as detached as you like in implementation and execution — we tend to be more involved as there are lots of questions that our experience with buyers will help answer.
  • We will work with you on the final touches for the property, including staging supervision, painting and prepping.
  • In the final stages before our market debut we will implement our marketing plan that will use print media advertising, ‘coming-soon’ listings, inter-office advance promotions or plan an event or Raffi listing video according to our marketing plan.
  • We will prepare top-quality collateral such as mailers, and paper statements and brochures along with professional photography to present your property as close to perfection as possible.
  • We will create a customized website to showcase your property as well as using commercially available resources to syndicate that information to as many people as possible.
  • We’ll also leverage our social and online media outlets, advertising and connections to generate buzz and disseminate awareness of your property.
  • In addition, we will use all means possible appropriate to promote the property by using such outlets like events, television, feature articles, and sponsorships.

Stage 5: Accepting A Contract (or Two) & Starting the Escrow.

  • After all goes well, we’ll accept offers and pick the best one(s) and accept one and potentially putting one or more offers in back-up positions. And, after that and before you know it… 
  • We’re in escrow!
  • Navigating the escrow process may be as stressful (and in some cases more stressful) than preparing the property or even negotiating the winning purchase contract. Different forces and factors beyond anyone’s control could (and most likely will) add some kind of complexity, delay and surprise to our transaction. Such causes can range from anything like an overly zealous inspector, a buyer’s lender’s lethargy, HOA issues, to just plain ol’ cold feet. In these cases we tell our clients that we’ve seen it all before and are able to handle it successfully (and if not, someone in our brokerage has) so that we close the sale successfully.
  • But it’s our approach that a good defense often means having a good offense. We attempt to educate all potential buyers about a property before anyone makes an offer so that there are no surprises during escrow — or, if there are any they are fewer or less stressful.  We do this by working with our sellers to have the best possible disclosure documents that are truly informative, clear and understandable.

Step 2: Listing Agreement & Paperwork.

  • We we agree on the listing terms and price (the price in the agreement will likely vary from what our actual published price will be) we’ll sign a standard listing agreement with each other (well between our brokerage and you). The agreement also lists the circumstances when a commission will be paid and how a buyer’s agent will be paid. 
  • The Listing Agreement spells out our fiduciary duties to you which include loyalty, putting your interests above our own and presenting you any and all written offers. To us the Agreement’s duties are just the start as we strive to go above and beyond  to protect and promote our clients’ interests; to us it matters that you sell only if it’s right for you and it might come to pass that it’s not right now.
  • After this, we work with our sellers to get all necessary documents and disclosure materials ready which are not only required by state law but also serve as yet another channel in which we can communicate with any potential buyer — it’s an opportunity most agents overlook but is one we have been recognized as excelling at. Statute-based obligations from California’s Civil Code requires sellers to provide different types of information about a property and the sellers’ ownership of it.  This is the time when we sit down with our clients and really go over these materials as we not only want to have the best prepared buyers making offers but we also want to protect our clients from any future risk by failing to disclose.
  • This is also the time when we might get pre-sale inspections that are intended not only to inform you about the property but also to inform would-be buyers too so that they take any issues into account when submitting an offer; better to front-load the process than have a surprise come up later!

Stage 4: Meeting The Public.

openhousesigns

The open house — it’s tried and true. Be prepared for Saturdays, Sundays and other days of the week too. And we will need to have your property in showcase form as we only get one opportunity to debut on the market.

  • Broker Tours are on Tuesdays and are just as important as public open houses if not more so because this is the speed-dating of open houses for brokers with buyers.
  • Private showings and evening showings are going to be required for the most serious of buyers (or not)
  • Negotiations. Coming to agreement on terms means more than price. I’ll be able to give you context of what’s happening out in the market generally, the pros and cons of each offer and suggestions on how best to proceed.

Stage 6: The Closing. 

This is the goal we’ve been after since before we started our work together. After the buyer’s funds are into the escrow company, after deed transfer documents are signed and after any mortgage and tax payoff amounts are determined our escrow officer we will move to the final closing (unlike other jurisdictions, the parties rarely meet face-to-face) which is really anticlimactic because it really boils down to a messenger getting a document stamped at the County Recorder’s office and funds being wired here and there. But never you mind. After we record the title transfer and keys are handed over is when we can all take a victory lap. You’ll get your sale proceeds (we hope) within hours of our close of escrow from the title company. If we’re going on to purchase another property we can start in earnest. No matter what you do, expect a thank you present and follow-up with us over time as questions may pop-up, but more importantly, it’s nice for us to see how well things will be going for you and yours as this process is one that invariably draws people together and closer.

TIMING CAN MAKE OR BREAK A LISTING’S SUCCESS

Why Timing Matters

THERE are still plenty of old school agents and clients in San Francisco.  Why does this matter?  Well, unlike agents who are plugged in 24/7 such as Kevin+Jonathan, many of these old-school agents tended to bring their listings on only at certain times of the year based on the calendar and people’s traditional attention spans. Those times centered around the Super Bowl (no, really, what else are you going to do on a Sunday?), Tax Day (always sees a dip), the 4th of July (the summer slowdown really kicks in), Labor Day (when everyone is back from vacation) and the general slide down towards and through the holidays. Knowing when and how to debut your property is what our successful experience brings to the table in addition to many other skills and is something we will collaborate with you and your goals accordingly.

Timing Can Make All the Difference in San Francisco's Seasonal Marketplace: Number of New San Francisco (Residential) Real Estate Listings Per Month

MLS Inventory 2014-2016 By Month

Key:    = Condos and TIC units;    = Single family homes

Source: San Francisco MLS

Some Q+As for Sellers

  1. Why are you selling?
  2. What are your financial goals? Personal goals?
  3. Where are you going or where do you want to go?
  4. When do you want to start?
  5. Who is on title? Is everyone in agreement on selling?
  6. What is the property worth to you? Why?
  7. Sometimes it takes spending money to earn more money, are you willing to do that?
  8. And why haven’t you called Kevin+Jonathan yet?

Success Story: Your Agent Knows Best, Right? 

Going Above and Beyond in Noe Valley in Just 2 Years

1617 Church Compare

 

A WORD FROM OUR CLIENTS:

 

We were very happy with Kevin as our buying agent when we bought our Noe Valley house. We got a great house in a great neighborhood and we weren’t even the highest bidders at the time.

When it came time to sell, however, we didn’t know how it would go with Kevin and Jonathan because we only worked with them as buying agents. But as soon as we told them we wanted to sell our house they started working on it right away even though our sale was 5 months away. They worked with us, our constraints and schedules to come up with plans, options and directions on how to make the house even more appealing.

We were skeptical at some of the suggestions at first and their insistence that we go to market because we had unsolicited offers that were very tempting. We chose to go ahead and place our faith in Kevin and Jonathan and we’re glad that we did. They took care of issues that came up (like the stager’s weird choices the first day they were there) and went out of their way by doing things like talking with us about questions we had late into the night, getting supplies for the house and giving us their opinions and advice on how to complete disclosure materials. Kevin and Jonathan were engaged with us and selling our home every day, which helped the process tremendously.

Kevin and Jonathan’s work ethic and dedication is bolstered by their sense of design and style. They turned our charming home into a sophisticated and elegant house you’d see in a catalog.

Selling a house can be a long and intense process that can be frustrating at times but the results we got from Kevin and Jonathan’s patience, creativity and hard work beat our expectations by a long shot.  

 — Aaron and Ashley L., Sellers, 1617 Church Street  Parents, Happy Dog Owners, Biotech and startup
Bought Noe Valley home in 2013 for $1.26M and sold in 2015 for $1.705M ($200,000 above expectations)

Why Successful Sellers Picked Kevin+Jonathan

Dedicated. Hard-working. Enthusiastic. Media-Savvy. Design-Oriented. Warm. Sophisticated. And More… 

Those are some of the descriptors of our listing services, but they are much more than words. Our seller services reflects our dedication to getting what’s best for you — even if it’s unclear on how we will get there and where there is. What should be clear is that we will work our very hardest for you. We will bring our considerable skills, experience and those of our brokerage to bear in our engagement. We are great at what we do and we truly love what we do and we know you will to. And, what’s more is that we’re here for the long-run so if you’re selling now or later we’re here. While each property is different, our general approach to selling will involve the following steps:

  1. Pre-listing & Coming Soon activities: Property evaluation, assessment, valuation, create marketing plan, implement
  2. Just Listed: broker-to-broker, media & advertising, and the MLS
  3. Open Houses: Personally hosted and publicized
  4. Navigating Escrow: Locking the best offer down to closing
  5. Post-Closing: what next?

Take a look at the steps in greater detail below:

The Selling Process Laid Out


“I’ve been in the business for 30 years and I’ve never seen disclosure documents better than yours.”

 — Eastbay Buyer’s Agent


 

More on Preparation.

On Full Disclosure… Disclosures that is.

California’s Civil Code places an affirmative obligation on sellers to disclose property conditions that may materially impact a buyer’s purchase decision.If done properly, standard California disclosures are tantamount to a property’s life story — at least to the seller’s best abilities. What does this mean for you? How best do you comply? Ask Kevin+Jonathan to learn more as this can play a key part of any transaction.

California’s Civil Code places an affirmative obligation on sellers to disclose property conditions that may materially impact a buyer’s purchase decision. If done properly, standard California disclosures are tantamount to a property’s life story — at least to the seller’s best abilities. Buyers will be strongly advised to conduct investigations to their own satisfaction before proceeding with the purchase. Along with the preliminary title report our completion of standardized disclosures should give buyers an extremely accurate — if not overly involved — snapshot of the property you are about to sell. Certain disclosures may become important to appraisers, lenders, and general contractors who are planning on doing some work on the property before or after escrow closes.

The Disclosures That Need to be Completed:

(click on each to see more)

The TDS (Not, TPS, but the Transfer Disclosure Statement)

Transfer disclosure statement and supplement to the transfer disclosure statement (if necessary). These two documents are to be completed by the seller himself/herself or trustee. These forms ask series of questions about the amenities and features of the property and also ask the seller to indicate any defects or broken items. These documents also ask the seller to list any construction work, additions, or any other issues from the neighborhood like planned construction, rehabilitation, etc. that impacts the property materially.

Agent Visual Inspections

Agent Inspections. Both agents are obliged to perform a reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection of the accessible areas of the property. This inspection and subsequent report should not be viewed as a marketing tool. Rather, agents should disclose — in very clinical terms — any defect, condition, or observation that informs the buyer of the condition of the property being purchased without attributing any cause or judgment —just the facts ma’am.

Naturally, there are Natural Hazards

Natural hazards disclosures augment these disclosures for such items as gas lines,  previous industrial uses, asbestos, area ground contamination, and other information such as property tax and assessment obligations and overhead airplane paths for example. And, naturally, San Francisco has its own set of disclosures that augment all of these. These disclosures may well advise buyers to: check the rental situation of property, expect notice of certain TIC issues, and to ensure certain water and energy conservation measures that the seller must complete before escrow closes. Typically, sellers should have these types of documents ready before property comes to market. This way prospective buyers can assess the property before making an offer. When we’re asked for them think about it as someone asking for you number.  Making early and affirmative disclosures the extent we do here is rare elsewhere in the country. Consider yourself warned!  Full disclosure is best.

Some Required & Common Disclosures:

  • Real estate agency relationship disclosures
  • Real estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)/ Supplement to TDS
  • Lead–based paint prior use alert/notice
  • Area Man-made & Natural Hazards
  • Smoke/CO Detector requirement
  • SF Energy & Water Conservation Certification
  • Building permit history (”3R”)
  • Market conditions advisory
  • Earthquake Hazards Advisory
  • Tenant Questionnaire Responses
  • Condominium Disclosures & Governing Documents
  • TIC Disclosure & Purchase Addendum & Agreements
  •  Preliminary Title Report
  •  Supplemental Property Tax Notice
  •  Short/REO/Probate/Trust Sales
  • Tenant information forms/Leases
  • Parking Information

Media Coverage of Our Listings

It’s not just us who toot our listing agent skills. Take a look at our listings in the media.

Media in General

On Curbed On SFGate

See what our clients say about what we do for them on Yelp