Thank You, Clients!

I just want to take a moment to thank my clients – many of whom have become friends! – for helping me achieve an Emerald Elite Award at Better Homes and Gardens.

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I just want to take a moment to thank my clients – many of whom have become friends! – for helping me achieve an Emerald Elite Award at Better Homes and Gardens. Our parent company gives out awards based on how successful each realtor is in a given year. I am proud to receive this award for 2023.

My colleagues and support staff have also been instrumental in my success, as has Better Homes and Gardens. I love working in the East Bay and helping everyone buy or sell homes here. It is worth all the long hours and hard work to have educated and happy clients who know they are well-represented.

Cheers to my clients, to being a trusted advisor, and to more success in 2024!

Before And After: Staging Pictures And Tips

I have a new listing this week, and I want to show you the big difference that properly staging a home can make for sellers. It’s an important step in the home-selling process. Depending on the size and what is needed, it can run from $2,000-$6,000 (or more!), and not every room needs to be staged. The other things – like painting the lava rock – cost $2,000.

If your house already has a good look, there is also accessory staging. That is when they tell you what to take out and bring in. Usually, it’s just a few things, like some bedding and pictures. They might have you do a bit of re-arranging too. In the end, I believe staged homes will sell for more money. There are different percentages that you can search, but I think the before and after pictures are worth a thousand words. See them here:

This home is located off of La Casa Via, behind John Muir and it backs up to Shell Ridge, so it’s peaceful with beautiful views. However, vacant some original fixtures and the lava rock didn’t make it pop for pictures. So, check it out once the stager was done with it. Its transformation is really breathtaking and shows up in the pictures. With no open houses, buyers have to like the home from their first look online through pictures, and professional photos make a huge difference in the lighting.

When asked why the stager recommended painting a dark brown lacquered fireplace mantel white, her response was she wanted it to blend into the background so people were not staring at the lava rock fireplace, but at the views, layout, and overall feel. That is exactly what occurred and I would like to give a big shout-out to Ashley Provost and her team for the great job they did!

Here’s what staging really does: it transforms how the home looks, which helps drive up the price quickly. It doesn’t matter how old the house is, it can always use some good staging to make it really stand out to potential buyers. Here are some tips from Better Homes and Gardens:

  1. Start Simple: A buyer’s first impression of the house is controllable. Start with the easiest task that will have the biggest impact (fresh paint, cleaning, etc.).
  2. Create Space: Remember, a buyer actually wants to see the inside of your home. So definitely space things out and de-clutter rooms before showing.
  3. Clean: Obviously, a clean home is going to attract more attention. Make your house look well-cared for.
  4. Move-In Ready: Simple repairs can go a long way to showing buyers that the house is move-in ready and there will be no to-do list right away.
  5. Envision: Neutralize the space with fresh paint so that potential buyers can envision themselves and their belongings in the house.
  6. Emotion: Remember to keep the home looking like it is comfy to live in and a great place to make memories.

If you need any other tips, feel free to reach out!

Thank you for your support!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve received a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Platinum Award for 2020! It was certainly a crazy year for everyone in every industry, but it was a real estate year like none we’ve ever faced before.

So, I just want to thank everyone who has supported me, worked with me, bought or sold a house with me, and everything in between! I work hard for all of my clients and partners, and it’s nice to get acknowledged.

As you can see in the image above, the Platinum Award is given to Better Homes and Gardens realtors who close between 46-57 units and a total volume of $8-12 million. It was a rollercoaster year, where we had to learn different ways to work, not being able to work for a couple of months and 2021 is proving to also be a challenge for buyers and agents with limited inventory!

I have been doing this for 18 years and know the market will change, people are always on the move and rates will go up and down, thus the future looks bright (especially once the COVID market ends!), and I look forward to representing clients in the Bay Area for many more years.

Twilight Tour with wine and cheese on Friday 9/7!

With the kids back in school and the last wisps of summer fading away, you might be busier than ever. You might just need your own little Open House night to wind down and get away from it all for a few hours! If that’s the case, stop by 1947 Eagle Peak Ave. in Clayton for a wine and cheese Open House event!

This condo is so beautiful, it could star in the next Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. It’s a quiet respite with breathtaking views, top-of-the-line finishes and a serene appeal. It boasts 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a deck overlooking the cozy backyard, and modern updates.

As usual, we will have our normal Open Houses this Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. each day, but you don’t want to miss the chance to see the house on Friday night from 5:30-7 with wine in hand. Join the neighbors for this exclusive event and take a look at this stunning space!  I would love to see you! If you like what you see, contact me at www.kristinlanham.com , 925.899.7123 or kristin@lanham.com. I’m happy to help with sell or buy the perfect home for you!

Emerald Elite Award

Our annual BHG convention recently occurred in Las Vegas. It is at this time of year they announce award winners based on production. I am happy to share that I was the recipient of the Emerald Elite Award, for which any agent nationwise, within the Better Homes and Gardens Company, meets the following criteria:

  • $325,000 GCI (Gross Commission Income, before taxes and expenses) OR 59+ total transactions

Thank you to all my great clients, referrals from friends and agents, team, lenders, inspectors, stagers and title reps! Additionally, I was awarded the 2017 Best of Walnut Creek Award in the Real Estate Agents category by the Walnut Creek Award Program. You can see a press release about that here, if you’re so inclined:

http://walnutcreek.walnutcreek.onlineawarded.org/PressReleaseub.aspx?cc=DJGB-TBHJ-QZRR

Pantone “Color of the Year”

Everything’s coming up Better Homes and Gardens right now. Even Pantone’s Color of the Year is “Greenery,” which is very similar to what we use here at BHG.

Lee_Eisemann Pantone Color of the Year 2017 GREENERY
Picture Credit: Pantone.com

Check out the story on the Color of the Year, which Pantone describes as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.” As an outdoor enthusiast and BHG realtor, I love this. But, I probably won’t be painting my walls this color – I think it makes a great accent color!

My favorite part of Pantone’s description, though, is this at the end: “A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.”

As we near the end of 2016 and move into 2017, it’s a good time to reflect and consider what we’ve accomplished and what there is to look forward to. I have a few resolutions: up by 6, work out Monday through Friday and in bed before 11 (no more falling asleep on the couch)! And of course, the time to lose some weight needs to become a reality versus just thinking about it. I am also going to start a remodel and add an in-law unit to my current house; I’m thinking about setting myself up for retirement. What is on your New Year’s resolution list?

December/January housing market is stronger than you think

December and January are usually busy months with holidays, vacations and school breaks. But, contrary to popular belief, that does not mean the housing market slows down. On the contrary, actually!

for-sale-1

Based on 2015 numbers, listing your home in December and January actually give you a benefit. You can garner multiple offers and close above list price. In Spring, you get the price increase but also more houses listed, which lead to many more choices for buyers, making multiple offers rarer (or, you’ll get fewer offers at least, like 3 vs. 8 in Dec./Jan.).

If you’d like to take advantage of this market in December and January, reach out to me. I’d love to help you navigate the holiday season weather you are selling or buying a home or just consult with you on the best overall strategy for you!

Does your front door impact your curb appeal?

front-door-1Yes, it does! When it comes to your front door, big decisions must be made. I’ve seen some of the prettiest houses ruined by the ugliest paint jobs on front doors.

For example, unless the rest of your house can really pull it off, please don’t paint your front door bright, neon pink!

From merging classic colors to considering nature tones and your home’s immediate surroundings, there are a lot more factors to consider than one would think when painting a front door.

When all is said and done, a good paint job can really tie a house together visually.

Check out Better Homes and Gardens’ guide to the “do’s and don’ts” of painting your front door.  I think you’ll find these tips helpful. I know I did, though my front door is in need or repair and really needs to be moved back to it’s original spot – remodeling is on the horizon!

You can also check out this free guide on how to paint your front door right here!

Open House this weekend: 131 Appalachian Dr. in Martinez


Appalachian 3 You can’t beat the beauty of this home! 
Come check out this 4-bedroom, 2-bath, single-story home nestled in the Martinez hills.
The backyard has a deck with a hot tub, a fire pit, and an awesome fort for backyard adventures. Not to mention that breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside!
The home is 1,609 square feet of pure comfort. The kitchen has all updated, stainless-steel appliances and flows nicely into the living room, complete with a cozy fireplace.

A spacious master bedroom with plantation shutters and hardwood floorsAppalachian 1 put the finishing touch on this gorgeous house. We’ll be holding two Open Houses this weekend for your viewing pleasure.
Come by, say hi and check it out this weekend. I’ll be there and am happy to talk about the market and what it takes to get a home sold for top dollar in this market.
Visit our Open House this weekend from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday (8/20) and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday (8/21)!

You can see the virtual tour of 131 Appalachian Dr. here.

How to Ensure a Smooth Home Purchase

5 steps 3If you’re planning on purchasing a home this year, you’ll will want a transaction as smooth as possible. That’s what us agents are for! We want to help you find the perfect home and then ensure the process becomes as pain-free as possible.  You don’t realize how important this is until you have the transaction from Hell!

Taken from a Better Homes and Garden’s article and repurposed with some of my insights, here are five tips for a smooth home purchase:

Tip 1: Communicate with Your Agent

You spend a lot of time with your agent in a finite window, so, you should work with a real estate agent you are comfortable with. They should be straight up and express everything you want and need in your new home. By communicating your desires from the beginning, your agent won’t waste time showing you homes that don’t fit your criteria. If you know you want an updated kitchen or two baths, make that clear. It is also a process; sometimes what you want and what your budget can afford creates a discovery process, but when it comes to finding that perfect home, clear communication is key. And if you run into any problems along the way, be sure to speak with your agent to iron out any issues.

Tip 2: Be Reasonable with Expectations

If you’re searching for a three-bedroom home located in a certain neighborhood that has the right schools, and your agent shows you a property with a color you don’t like that only has 1.5 baths, don’t simply write off the home. When searching for the home of your dreams, you may have to give something up or make some changes once you move in. No home will be perfect and, again, it is a process to find that out.

Tip 3: Don’t be Discouraged

Don’t expect to find your dream home overnight. Buyers often get frustrated because nothing pops up in their price range for two weeks or they have written five offers and none of them were accepted, but remember, it is a process. And, this is the Bay Area! 5 steps 2Buyers usually course correct, change their expectations, get a quick education on the market and – voila! – the universe unfolds, the right house pops up and your offer is accepted! Woo-hoo! Now the rubber hits the road and you are in contract!

Tip 4: Play the Money Game

If you offer $375,000 on a home that’s listed at $400,000 and the seller refuses to budge, be prepared to negotiate. Wait!!! This is the Bay Area! When you offer $650,000 on a home listed for $620,000 and you are one of nine offers, you need to have some wiggle room for a counter offer. Before making an offer, discuss your strategy with your agent as he or she will be able to tell you whether your offer is fair or not. It’s also important to check out comps in the neighborhood so that you can make a reasonable offer from the get-go. Don’t forget how important a good lender is and the reputation they have with other agents. This may make the difference in your offer getting accepted over the other eight.

Tip 5: Get Your Mortgage Pre-Approved

This could be the smartest thing you do all year. By having a mortgage approved before you even begin looking at houses, you’ll be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home of your dreams. Not all lenders are equal, and a good lender may give you the upper hand over other buyers who may be interested in the same house. Can they closer faster than 30 days? Do they get all the paperwork upfront and desktop underwrite you so there are no surprises? Are they responsive to your calls?

If you have any interest in purchasing a home this summer, and are looking for an agent who can guide you through the process smoothly, I am at your service and I have a great lender or two to refer!