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“What the heck did I buy?”, said no client of mine ever!

“What the heck did I buy?”, said no client of mine ever!

Below is a recent letter written by one of our top agents, Sarah Ridge. She loves to keep in touch with her clients through quarterly newsletters.

We have such unique inventory here in the East Bay. Most of the homes I sell are pushing 100 and haven’t had the majority of their systems updated. This isn’t universally a bad thing – the old growth timber that makes up the bones of these homes is of a quality we will never see again. On the other hand, many components are antiquated and some, simply worn out.

When I wear my “buyer’s agent” hat I bring a particular passion to the role. I want all my buyers to start their homeownership with confidence and knowledge. This is why I spend so much time viewing homes with my clients – not just looking at the pretty parts but primarily viewing the underbelly of the beast! Foundation, seismic, drainage, electrical, plumbing, heater, and roof – each of these elements needs not remain a mystery.

We are fortunate to have a custom of sellers providing home inspections for the potential buying pool to review. Unfortunately, not all inspectors are created equal and not all homes are straight forward. We have slide zones, liquefaction zones, and earthquake zones (isn’t it all an earthquake zone?) and we have flatlands, hillsides and everything in between.

I am not an engineer nor a contractor but I recognize when we need to bring one in to review a home and its site. The same goes for electrical and plumbing issues. And because I am not intimidated by the 100’s of pages of reports each home offers up I am able to slowly and clearly pick apart the typical from the extraordinary and teach my clients how to recognize the difference.

There are certain things that only experience can teach and this is where I can be most useful. It dismays me to see so many agents who don’t discuss test holes or line-wire stucco with their clients – it isn’t because they don’t care but more likely because they simply don’t know. Ultimately it is the buyer’s job to do their due diligence but without a guide how can a total novice even begin to know what they don’t know?

There is so much going on during the escrow period. Researching and planning for updates, stucco work and sewer lateral can feel crushingly overwhelming. This is why once in contract I help my new home buyers organize by priority, sequence and cost any work they plan for their home.

After the moving van drives away (or more likely, after the U-Haul is returned), my clients become the new stewards of a home that has been loved, or neglected or a little of both. It is critical that they know they are not alone in this. My relationship and sense of responsibility don’t end when the keys change hands. I want to be the first person my buyers think of when there is a horrible leak or they notice a crack in the stucco. I look forward to the calls asking for help finding someone to bid drainage work or remodel a bathroom.

I have had an amazing first half of 2019 and have closed homes from close to 2 million and below $500,000.  I love my job because I am useful – I simply wouldn’t have it any other way. Regardless of the price point, my clients receive the same amount of focus and concern. I am profoundly grateful for your referrals so thank you again for thinking of me when your friends and family mention buying or selling a home!

With warmth,

Sarah Ridge

 

 


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