Our interview with KAREN NELSEN, Luxury Realtor at Alain Pinel Montclair Village delves into the familiar world of high-end luxury real estate in San Francisco. We catch up with one of the Bay Area’s most culturally astute and successful agents serving the community for over 12 years to consistently deliver quality to clients in real estate transactions.
EG: What are the three most productive activities a realtor can engage in to ensure the successful sale of a home?
KN: Great home preparation within the budget of the seller, full exposure and opportunities to visit for the local broker community and wide advertising beyond the immediate area. With the dominance of internet real estate sites and advertising, potential buyers may come from anywhere, particularly to a region with a worldwide reputation such as the San Francisco Bay Area.
EG: Economic downturns are the greatest time to accumulate the most wealth. What advice do you have for prudent investors?
KN: Watch for properties in need of repair and find a local partner or contractor able to manage improvements, especially in locations close to good public transportation and neighbourhood centers. Many people in this region look for places where they can live without using a car for regular activities. Good rental potential can keep properties viable through downturns.
EG: You have a magnificent cultural appreciation being multilingual. How has this contributed to your success?
KN: Having lived overseas and experienced the demands of a major move personally, I extend all the support possible to clients with consideration of their needs, large and small. My multilingual background makes me especially attentive to possible misunderstandings of our real estate market and processes. If these can be better explained by translation, of course that’s great. Patience and care provide the most effective support in any language.
EG: How would you compare luxury real estate living in the United States with other countries?
KN: Luxury may be defined by spending time on what you enjoy most with the greatest convenience, not just the scale of the property or the outward appearance. It might be the ease of turning the key to go on vacation on short notice, having everything you need for a party at your fingertips or seamless integration of your work space at home. I think this is true in any country and finding the best locations is a discovery of what matters most to you at a given stage in your life.
EG: Tell us how your knowledge and experiences in the Bay Area may distinguish you from any other realtor?
KN: During the past 35 years, I have lived and worked in many parts of the Bay Area, particularly the Peninsula, San Francisco and the East Bay, centered in Berkeley and Oakland. My broader regional knowledge assists buyers in navigating the options of transportation (time & method), community lifestyles, natural settings and comparing market price points. We often start with wide-ranging possibilities before evaluating a few communities in detail.
EG: Are there any opportunities with distressed real estate that investors may be able to take advantage of in the current market?
KN: There are always opportunities, but this is not currently a major factor in our market.
EG: How may your contacts and resources benefit those in the San Francisco Bay Area who are considering remodelling their home?
KN: Frequently, I continue to provide resources and contacts to clients after a purchase and we discuss the options, timing and relative costs and benefits. Whether it is your own home or an investment property, improvements and good maintenance pay off in our strong market. The same is true in preparing a home for sale, stepping back and evaluating how it will appeal to buyers.
EG: With a 12+ year successful career as a luxury realtor, what can High Net Worth individuals expect when being represented by you?
KN: Knowledge of the market and the ability to customise a home search based on their preferences and their timetable. Demanding work, frequent travel and a busy personal life often leave little time for managing sale preparations and I often supply extensive support to clients. EG