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Tracy King's Blog

With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, and...

With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, and planning her next trip to Paris.

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Desert Drive

Still 111 here as we near Zzyzx.

 

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Tracy King
Teles Properties
DRE #01048877
Interesting homes for Interesting people
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Going Solar Saves You More if You Live in Northeast Los Angeles

Have you been thinking about converting your home to solar-powered electricity? As both a homeowner and a Realtor with the EcoBroker and Green Realtor designations, I’ve thought about it for a long time. I want to reduce my dependence on fossil fuels, I want to do my part to End Global Warming, I want to save money on my utilities. Quite honestly, though, the high cost of the equipment, even with generous rebates, has stopped me.



Occidental College is installing a 1-Megawatt solar array on its campus. This is enough to power about 11% of the campus electrical needs, according to Patch.com news (http://eaglerock.patch.com/articles/oxy-offers-2000-solar-rebate). A public meeting was held last night to announce the plan to help neighboring residents and businesses save costs on installing solar by offering a $2,000 rebate that is in addition to any other rebates offered by government and utility providers. Oxy Physics professor Dan Snowden-Ifft gave an overview of the project and introduced representatives from SunPower, the manufacturer of the solar panels, and from Martifer Solar, the dealer who is responsible for the installation on the campus.



Residents and small businesses throughout the Northeast Los Angeles zip codes 90041, 90042, and 90065 qualify for the rebate, plus Oxy alumni, faculty and staff, students and their parents who live in Sunpower dealer areas and own a home.



Check out www.sunpowercorp.com/asp/Occidental for a good summary of the plan with links to registering for a free home evaluation and how to figure out the financial benefits of going solar.



I was pleased to see several past clients of mine in the audience along with other community members who are involved with such groups as the Eagle Rock Community Garden and TERA. If you missed the meeting last night, they are holding another one on September 14. You can RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Those of us who attended last night were able to sign up for a free home evaluation, but you can also sign up on the Sunpower website. In order to apply for the rebate, you have to have the permit from the City of Los Angeles for the installation, which can take several weeks to obtain. Why hurry? Because rebates come and go and if the government or utility that offers the rebate runs out of the allotted funds, you lose out.



If you don’t want to invest in a solar system right now, they even have a lease program that still qualifies for the $2000 rebate!



This is a positive outreach from Oxy to the community. This is the kind of partnership between government, business, and educational institutions that can make our community better and greener while it benefits individual homeowners. Save Money! Go Green!

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What is with the noise on Colorado Blvd at midnight?

I went to the meeting about replacing the water main and I recall being told they only had a permit to work 7 am to 3 pm. So what is this all about? I can't sleep!

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Tracy King
Teles Properties
DRE #01048877
Interesting homes for Interesting people
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Bike in LA? Really?

Would you like to ride your bike more but feel intimidated by the dangers of riding through city streets? Try joining an outing sponsored by a bicycling organization. It’s safer to be in a group and you will learn how to ride safer on your own.

It had been a long time since I’d ridden my bike. But when I received an email inviting me to join an Urban Expedition exploring Highland Park by bike, I thought why not? It was only 7 miles and promised to visit some interesting sights, so what better way to ease back into cycling, have some fun and learn something?

From their website, www.cicle.org: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles working to promote the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice.

The Urban Expedition happens about once a month. There were at least 30 riders on this trip, several of whom were volunteers with bright yellow vests who helped guide and keep everyone safe. We met near the Arroyo Seco Stables and rode up the bike path in the LA River to the Audubon Center in Debs Park. Did you know that Debs Park is the 4th largest park in the city of Los Angeles? It has over 150 acres of largely wild hillsides with mostly native plants to hike and explore. The Audubon Center was opened in Debs Park in 2003, and was instrumental in making the park safer and more accessible to families and individuals.

Did you know that the Audubon Center is the first LEED-certified building in the country? (LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The director of the Audubon Center, Jeff Chapman, told us about the site and then led us on a hike on the butterfly nature trail.

DEBS Park Audobon Center

DEBS Park Audobon Center

Jeff is a regular participant on these urban bicycle adventures and he rides his bike to work from his home in Eagle Rock. The Audubon Center is a very kid-friendly place, offering lots of fun ways for kids to learn about and play in nature. For adults, there is a Solar System Hands-on Training for Maintenance & Design class that meets the 3rd Saturday of each month. For $20 per class, you can learn how to better understand solar systems for your own use or even to work in the field. For all ages, they offer a free Friday film night preceded by a bird walk. Check out all the possibilities at http://ca.audubon.org/debs_park.php.

We rode on to the Milagro Allegro Community Garden (www.hpgarden.org), a project comprising 32 garden plots, monthly educational classes and workshops on gardening and other topics, and an after-school nutrition, cooking and gardening program (“LA Sprouts”) for elementary school students aimed at promoting healthy eating habits. Check out their website to read about the history of how the garden was acquired, named and constructed, all good stories.

Millagro Allegro Community Garden

Millagro Allegro Community Garden

What I love about this garden is that it is yet another example of the population of individuals in Highland Park who think for themselves to find ways to make their community better for everyone. In this case, they saw a way to make a community garden out of a city-owned vacant lot that was slated for public parking in a neighborhood where there was already plenty of parking.

We cycled on to Cafe de la Leche, a coffee house in Highland Park that features the first bike corral installed by the City of Los Angeles. The owners of this popular spot are living the urban localism dream, in my opinion. Matt and Anya Schodorf live and ride their bikes in Highland Park, saw a need for a good local coffee spot and have very successfully opened one. But they went further: they recently opened Schodorf’s Luncheonette in the same block where they offer yummy sandwiches and salads from 11 till 3 everyday. Matt and Anya exemplify the diverse creative look and spirit of Highland Park. Check them out atwww.cafedeleche.net, stop in at the 2 venues, live some of their dream. Maybe you’ll have one of your own!

Besides meeting some interesting people, learning about some cool places, and having a nice bike ride, I learned some better bike routes through Highland Park. We started off along the LA River bike path to Debs Park, then took a circuitous route over to the community garden. To reach Cafe de Leche, we rode up Avenue 56 from Figueroa towards York (a more level route than I would have done on my own), then parallel to the busy York Blvd on the much quieter Buchanan Street. Circling back to the start of our trip we rode in the bike lane that extends along much of York Blvd.

I really enjoyed this outing and plan to do more. Slowly, Los Angeles is becoming more bike-friendly through the efforts of groups like CICLE and more. Even the mayor is more sensitive to the needs of bicyclists (especially since he was in a bicycle accident) and has pledged to add more bike lanes at a greater rate than has been done in the past. The City of Los Angeles will never become a city like Davis where the bicycles outnumber the people, but who would have thought even 10 years ago that we would have the support of City government like this?

Kudos to the bike activists! Here is a list of some of the resources, groups and events you can explore:

LA Bike:
www.la-bike.org

Sunday Funday rides and the annual LA River Ride:
http://www.labikepaths.com/

Mayor Villaraigosa's Bicycle Plan:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/07/la-mayor-pushes-bicycle-plan.html

Lots of great how-to info plus calendar of events:
www.cicle.org

Bicycling in Highland Park
Bicycling in Highland Park
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What's so great about this house?

1450 W. Avenue 43, 90065. $489000. Huge rooms, 3 bedrooms 2 baths, such a deal!

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Tracy King
Teles Properties
DRE #01048877
Interesting homes for Interesting people
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First Half of 2011 Market Update for Eagle Rock, 90041

Here is a table that illustrates the number of sales and percentage of distress sales over the last 3 years in Eagle Rock 90041. The question is, what does it mean? There’s a flipflop from a greater number of foreclosures in 2009 to more shortsales in 2011. Distress sales as a whole dropped in 2010 and have increased again so far in 2011.

ergraph



My guess, and it’s educated but still a guess, is that the lenders were very resistant to doing shortsales early on and have finally bowed to the inevitable. As more distressed homeowners are able to sell short, there are fewer foreclosures. The more positive numbers in 2010 I attribute to the peak of the “double dip.” Or you might look at the whole thing as our thudding along the bottom.

There is a lot of talk about “Shadow Inventory,” which is distressed properties that might come on the market. This includes properties that have notices of default filed (the homeowner has stopped making mortgage payments), have notices of trustee sale filed (they haven’t brought the loan payments current and are scheduled to go to foreclosure sale), REO or bank-owned or 3rd party owned (sold at trustee sale). It also includes properties that are “upside-down” which means the property is worth less than what is owed. This can be a huge number and there is no way to track what it is. The fear of “Shadow Inventory” is what if a lot of these distress sales come on the market at once? What will that do to the rest of the market

Personally, I think that is a big “if.” If it hasn’t happened yet, why would it happen now? One reason could be if we had a major economic setback. But believe it or not, we have actually been out of the recession and experiencing a slow (excruciatingly slow) recovery for the last 2 years, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Another reason could be a drastic change in mortgage lending in terms of either interest rates or underwriting guidelines.
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Updated Restaurant Guide!

Hi Everyone!  My restaurant guide has been updated with some great local spots - check it out!

July 2011 Restaurant Guide

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New listing! 1145 Oak Grove Drive, Eagle Rock

Tracy King | Teles Properties | (626) 827-9795
1145 Oak Grove Drive, Eagle Rock, CA
New listing! OPEN SATURDAY 7/9 1-3PM; SUNDAY 7/10 2-5PM; TUESDAY 7/12 10-2PM; and THURSDAY 7/14 10-2PM.
3BR/2BA Single Family House
offered at $539,000
Year Built 1950
Sq Footage 1,540
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2 full, 0 partial
Floors 2
Parking 2 Car garage
Lot Size 7,160 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month
DESCRIPTION

Move right in to this midcentury traditional with upgraded systems from central air & heat to electrical and plumbing. Originally a duplex, the main floor has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath while the downstairs could be a master suite or the entertainment room/home office to die for. A sliding glass door opens to the spacious deck that overlooks the backyard. There is even an outdoor kitchen for all your alfresco dining fantasies. The 2-car garage has a finished interior.
see additional photos below
PROPERTY FEATURES

- Central A/C - Fireplace - Hardwood floor
- Family room - Living room - Bonus/Rec room
- Office/Den - Laundry area - inside - Balcony, Deck, or Patio
- Yard
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

Front
Kitchen
Living Room
Den
Family Room
Outdoor Kitchen
Contact info:
Tracy King
Teles Properties
DRE Lic#01048877
(626) 827-9795
For sale by agent/broker
Equal Opportunity Housing
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Posted: Jul 8, 2011, 2:16pm PDT
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Gracious 1950 Ranch

Open today till 1, Thursday 10-2. Cookies!

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Eagle Rock July 3 Celebration





Sundown, moonrise Eagle Rock Park
Sundown, moonrise Eagle Rock Park


An elegant and fun fireworks display
An elegant and fun fireworks display


Celebrating Eagle Rock’s 100th year, the free fireworks display at Eagle Rock Park brought the community together with a big lovely bang. It seemed like the whole town turned out--we had to park many blocks away and hike in to the park. Ronny and the Classics played some good old Rock and Roll. There were booths staffed by the various Eagle Rock civic groups from TERA to the Chamber of Commerce to the Eagle Rock High Boosters. Classic cars parked on the field provided more browsing opportunities. There were food booths for everything from funnel cakes and kettle corn to Chinese food. We had some very tasty Argentinian grilled sausages spiced with ChimmiChurri sauce served in a roll with fresh salad and rice.

The weather couldn’t have been better: not too hot yet clear and balmy.


The crowd was mellow and friendly with lots of kids, lots of families. We all oohed and aahed at the fireworks which were at least 15 minutes of colors and swizzles and sparklers and booms. The crowd cheered and celebrated and then we all walked back to our cars. Happy 3rd of July, Eagle Rockers!

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Getty Center Cultural Field Trip

What a perfect day to go to the Getty. The Angkor bronzes exhibit was small but inspiring as well.

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New restaurant in Eagle Rock

Halong Bay opened just 2 weeks ago and it's doing well! Took the picture below just before we cleaned our plates!
Lovely atmosphere, delicious food, and affordable prices make this a winner in the successful Eagle Rock business model contest we all wage daily here.
Photo

The empty pineapple shell contained a dish called Festons, scallops sauteed with hoisin sauce, pineapple and red pepper. I had the Suon Nuong, thinly sliced grilled pork chops marinated in honey and lemongrass served with their house dipping sauce (and rice, of course). To start, we tried the Saigon spring rolls, shrimp and fresh lettuce, basil, carrot and cucumber wrapped in rice paper. We each had a drink and spent under $50 for the two of us. By the way, they serve Eagle Rock Brewery Revolution XPA, a bright and refreshing pale ale, so you can feel incredibly local when you dine here. The owner, Ray, had us try the Poisson, a filet of sea bass steamed in a banana leaf with herbs and spices. Yum! And for dessert, the cappucino mousse cake was divine.

You can check out details about the restaurant and see the whole menu at www.halongbayrestaurant.com. Or just go on over to 1948 Colorado Blvd, LA 90041. Call for hours at 323-258-2618.
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The Crown Prince of Chihuahua

My house guest last weekend. Think he had enough cushion?
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May/June Newsletter Out Now!

Our latest issue of the newsletter is now available for your perusal! Check it out:

May/June 2011 Newsletter


  • Why I Joined a New Real Estate Office

  • Appraisal is Art, Not Science

  • A Seller Success Story: 2030 Estes Road

  • Case-Shiller Index Double Dips - Big Deal!

  • Recent Activity

  • Eagle Rock Fourth of July Event

  • Enjoy! And feel free to forward on to anyone you think would be interested.
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    Dwell on Design

    It's fun to see creative design for the lowly chicken coop.

    From Evernote:

    Dwell on Design Raad Chicken Coop

    A3b2ff5fec57c15388fd34dcf4fdbb

    Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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    Dwell on design

    Solar panel on the outside, shutter on the inside. Interesting.
    Photo

    This is from Plug 'n Save Energy Products in San Diego. One of these shutters costs around $400, plugs into a transformer that you can plug into an outlet in your home. The electricity produced is enough to run a computer monitor or a TV. Every little bit helps. www.plugnsaveenergyproducts.com.
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    Dwell on Design

    Interesting tile made from recycled materials www.ctm.com.
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    Sent from my iPhone

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    Green Real Estate

    I'm happy to announce that I've earned the NAR (National Association of Realtors) Green Designation. I now have access to the research and information from the Green Resource Council to share with you, like this essay on Why Go Green?

    There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.

    Green building is a great place to start, as buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council). That's 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that's not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to go green:

    FOR THE ENVIRONMENT


    Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.



    FOR THE SAVINGS


    Want to make your dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.



    FOR YOUR HEALTH


    Want to live healthier? Green building isn't just good for the environment; it's also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident's overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution. According to a 2006 study by the Center of the Built Environment, University of California, green office buildings improve productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.

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    Appraisal Is Art Not Science

    I’ve been reflecting on appraisals lately, and I’m not alone— almost everyone who sells real estate is having appraisal issues. Why? Because appraisals are based on closed sales, appraisers are evaluating the present value based on the past value. If we’re in a declining market, appraisals will be close to the price that the buyer and seller agree on. It’s when we are in a fairly normal or increasing market that we have the issues that many of us face today. You might see this as good news since it could be an indication that the market is normalizing or increasing. From the appraiser’s view it just looks like available comparables can’t justify increasing sales prices.

    There is general acceptance of the notion (believed by many appraisers) that appraisal is a science, not an art (even though you’ll get as many different valuations as you have appraisers on the same property.) Many buyers believe this as well. But consider this scenario:

    There is a 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath house in good condition in a nice neighborhood in a small community within Los Angeles. It has a guest house for which no permit can be found, nor can a permit be found for the half bath. So for appraisal purposes, this is a 2-bedroom, 1-bath house. Because very few properties like this sell in any 3-month period, the only sales comparables that fit this size house are distress sales in poor condition that sold in the range of $350,000 to $450,000. Six months ago, there were a few comparables that sold for $480,000 to $520,000. An appraiser brought in a value of $440,000. Why? Because the “good” comps were too old and the more recent comps were all low, so to his mind that meant that the current value was lower.

    Here are some questions for you:
    Had this appraiser seen all the properties that he used for his research? No, because in the current appraisal business these appraisers are working all over Southern California. The likelihood that they have ever been inside the comparables they use is slim.

    Did he talk to the Realtors who actually did see the properties? Very few appraisers bother to do that.
    Did he listen to the listing agent who met him at the property with comparables? No, because he thinks that appraisers know more than Realtors who are just trying to make a sale. He pretty much said that.

    Why all of a sudden did we have such low comparables? Did the values drop? Again, very few properties of a given size sell in this zip code. By chance, the only three of that size and configuration that sold in the previous 90 days were short sales and foreclosures. The consequence is that regular sellers who own 2-bedroom 1-bath houses are reluctant to sell because the only comparables that appraisers are willing to use are so low. It’s a vicious cycle. One almost feels that that is what some of these appraisers and lenders want to see happen, because it is less risky for prices to be low.

    When prices drop, regular sellers either don’t need or want to sell or can’t because they now owe more than the property is worth. They can’t refinance into a lower interest rate for the same reason. In 2005-2007, if you lost your job you might be able to use your equity line of credit to get by for a month or two. Or you could sell for a profit, move to a less expensive home and rent for awhile until you got on your feet. Today more people are stuck with too much debt and nowhere to turn. For many of these people, it is the same debt they were totally fine with in 2006, but their circumstances have changed. Now their only option is either foreclosure or short sale. And there you have more lower prices.

    But let’s go back to the pure appraisal question. How do you evaluate a property? Wikipedia says: Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the practice of developing an opinion of the value of real property, usually its Market Value The need for appraisals arises from the heterogeneous nature of property as an investment class: no two properties are identical, and all properties differ from each other in their location - which is one of the most important determinants of their value.

    In residential real estate, market value is usually defined as the price that a willing buyer and a willing seller agree upon subject to appraisal if a loan is necessary. If everyone paid cash for property, the situation in real estate today would be much different. We wouldn’t have had the bubble and the resulting crash, for one thing, since they were both caused by unsafe and unsound lending practices.

    Market value is a concept distinct from market price, which is “the price at which one can transact”, while market value is “the true underlying value” according to theoretical standards. The concept is most commonly invoked in inefficient markets or disequilibrium situations where prevailing market prices are not reflective of true underlying market value.
    This is the crux of the matter: the prevailing market prices are not reflective of true underlying market value.
    In San Marino, prices have not dropped. Why? Because most homes there are owned outright. The same is true in parts of Arcadia. Distress sales drive prices down. If no one is in distress, the price doesn’t go down. Why not, when the entire country has been in a housing depression? Because if you aren’t in distress and you can’t get the price you want, you just don’t sell.

    What I am seeing with all the HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct) and other strange rules pretending to establish reasonable rules for evaluating properties is that appraisers are all looking at market prices and defining them as value. If a buyer believes that a house is worth, say, $500,000, because it has all the amenities he feels he should find in a house at that price, why should an appraiser be able to declare that the actual value is only $350,000 because that is what a house of similar size sold for down the street?

    So what does a good appraiser do?
    What does a good Realtor do?
    What is the relationship like between a good appraiser and a good Realtor?
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    Why I Joined a New Real Estate Office

    In my 22 years practicing the profession of real estate, I have never left one company to go to another. I have worked in companies that were merged or sold, but I have never left by my own decision. Until now. What’s important to know is that I didn’t leave Coldwell Banker because I didn’t like it or was unhappy. CB is a great company and offers many opportunities to its agents to grow and prosper. It’s also safe to belong to a large national corporation. If you work at Coldwell Banker, its long history and good reputation cloak you in respectability. If you work for such a well-known and respected company there is a certain level of professionalism that is automatically conferred upon you in many consumers’ minds. To leave all that was a big step.

    Real estate is a schizophrenic business: it’s very competitive and yet we have to cooperate with each other. A client naturally wants to work with the best professional they can, but how do they determine who that is? That’s why many of us have focused on being number one in our marketplace, working for a company that has the most market share, winning the most awards, etc., so we can assure our clients that we are good enough to earn their business. But there is much more to doing a good job than working in a big company, winning awards and doing a lot of deals.

    I have worked with agents from other companies and seen what they do. I’ve gone to many professional training events with excellent teachers. I’ve networked with other Realtors all over the country as part of our various professional organizations. In the last several years, I’ve coached and trained with a group that has attained the level of a virtual office although we are scattered all over Southern California. We’ve often commented how great it would be to work with each other in a physical office—to work in an office of like-minded professionals. For me, Teles Properties offered the potential for this, plus it’s a small boutique company that is focused on what I care about: providing its agents with research, technology, and marketing. It’s small enough (so far) that I know all the owners, and they know me, but that’s just a nice extra.

    What’s in this for my clients? A fresh approach. A simple, elegant look. A chance to work with a company that focuses on a deep understanding of the market, on the art and practice of real estate, and on where to position the client’s needs and desires to obtain the best result. A company that puts agents in a room together every week to learn more, to share ideas on how to price and market a property for sale and how to obtain and negotiate the best possible deal for the client. This is a company that shares its knowledge and encourages its agents to share theirs so we all get better—a truly cooperative and collegial environment. These are tumultuous times in the real estate world. Making a successful business in the shadow of one of the biggest economic downturns in US history is a real challenge. Teles Properties began in 2007 and has grown from 1 to 4 offices through these chaotic years. I think that’s quite an accomplishment. This company chose to strike out in a fresh, new direction and it is working. That’s what attracted me to it.
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