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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Real Estate Sales – Agents CATEGORY

Michael Kenny is a 34-year veteran of the real estate industry and president of Kenny Realty, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 276-4436 or by email.

Michael Kenny

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Michael Kenny: Realty Roots

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Kenny has always had roots in the real estate industry, so when he decided to pursue it as a career, it felt practically second nature. “My dad started Kenny Realty in 1967,” he explains. “Growing up with a father in real estate, I was always sort of immersed in it—I’d hear about it around the dinner table, and when I was in high school, I worked for him painting rentals. After college, I decided to give the family business a try, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I know it thrilled my dad to see the company stay in the family.”

Today, as president of Kenny Realty, Michael says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity to make a positive impact. “I’ve always considered myself a positive person, so real estate has provided a great way for me to live that out. At the end of the day, when I’m handing my clients a set of keys, I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I’ve helped them start a new chapter of their lives.”

A resident of Foster City, Michael spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “My wife, Caryn, and I are very active and love spending time at Lake Tahoe,” he affirms. “Depending on the season, we might be skiing, water skiing, hiking or paddle boarding. We also enjoy following professional sports—Caryn is an avid basketball fan, so we have season tickets to the Warriors.” Additionally, Michael likes gardening and spending time with friends and family, including his and Caryn’s two daughters, Danielle and Christina.

In regard to his professional career, Michael espouses the importance of maintaining a good reputation. “My dad taught me to never compromise my reputation,” he says. “When I took over the business, I was really motivated to preserve the reputation my father had built for the company, which meant maintaining his high standards for quality and client satisfaction. To this day, I strive to maintain a level of professional excellence I know my father would be proud of.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Michael says he wouldn’t. “My dad worked until he was 90, so, like him, I don’t think I’ll ever fully retire. However, I definitely see myself taking more time off to travel. A few years ago, my wife and I took a three-week trip to Europe, and it made us realize how hard we’d been working for the last two decades and how little time off we’d taken. So, from now on, we plan to take a long vacation at least every couple of years so we can relax.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it, so I’d probably go back to Europe—specifically, the town of Positano, which is on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It’s right on the water, the food is great and it’s very relaxing.

Q: Reality TV or documentaries?
A: My wife and I are big reality TV people—we’ve always enjoyed shows like Survivor, Big Brother and American Idol.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: I enjoy both. I listen to a lot of sports talk radio, but I love music as well.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit by the fire and watch sports.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Sports memorabilia. I have several autographed jerseys and about 40 bobbleheads.

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Inherited Properties: Renting vs. Selling

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — If you’ve inherited a property, you might be wondering whether it’s more beneficial to sell it or rent it. While either scenario has its advantages, there are some important details to consider before making your decision. One… Read more

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Video: Rent or Sell?

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’ve inherited an investment property, you’ll need to determine whether it’s a better idea to rent it or sell… Read more

Sandy Rostad is a realtor at The Rostad Team of Coldwell Banker, a Diamond Certified company since 2014. She can be reached at (650) 239-6057 or by email.

Sandy Rostad

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Sandy Rostad: A Prosperous Partnership

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN CARLOS — After working in the insurance industry for two decades, Sandy Rostad was primed for a major transition after she decided to partner with her husband in the real estate field. “My husband, Mike, was working full-time as a firefighter and part-time as a real estate agent,” she recounts. “We had recently become parents, and we figured that if I joined him in real estate, it would give us more flexibility and simplify our lives a bit.” Sandy describes her introduction to real estate as both exciting and nerve-wracking. “When I first started, the market was at a pretty tumultuous point, so I was kind of thrown into the midst of it. It was somewhat intimidating, but my passion and determination enabled me to overcome my fears and be successful.”

Today, as a partner of The Rostad Team of Coldwell Banker, Sandy says her favorite part of her job is being a helpful resource to buyers and sellers alike. “I get a lot of satisfaction from building relationships with my clients, helping them through the process and achieving a positive outcome for them. It’s very rewarding to see them happy with the results of my work.”

Having grown up in San Mateo, Sandy now resides in San Carlos, where she and Mike appreciate the small-town atmosphere. “We’ve been in San Carlos for more than 25 years,” she says. “A lot of people are interested in moving here because it’s so nice, so for us, it’s not just a great place to live; it’s a great place to be in business as well.”

Outside of work, Sandy enjoys activities like cooking, exercising, and spending quality time with friends and family, including her and Mike’s grown children, Jessica and Cory. Additionally, she likes taking advantage of the Bay Area’s diverse recreational offerings. “Mike and I enjoy getting out and about, whether going for a hike at Half Moon Bay or taking a day trip to San Francisco.”

In regard to her career, Sandy espouses the importance of professional integrity. “The market is very competitive in this area, so it’s crucial for a realtor to operate with honesty and integrity,” she says. “We feel that treating others the way we would want to be treated is key, and I think a lot of our client referrals come as a result of the reputation we’ve earned for being ethical and honest.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Sandy says she’d do some extensive traveling. “We’ve been to Europe a few times, but never for more than a couple of weeks, so we’d probably go for a little longer. That would give us a chance to really get to know some of our favorite places, as well as visit some new ones.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer, because we aren’t as confined to the indoors.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Curl up in front of the fire and read a book or watch a movie.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: The unconditional love of my family.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: A chocolate chip cookie or brownie.

Q: If you could speak any language fluently, what would you choose?
A: Italian. I think it’s a really pretty language—plus, it would help me the next time we’re vacationing in Italy.

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The Benefits of Donating Your Unwanted Items

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SAN CARLOS — Whether moving out of the area or simply downsizing, a common dilemma home sellers face is what to do with their unwanted possessions. While selling items online can be financially lucrative, it can also be time-consuming and… Read more

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Video: Donating Your Unwanted Items

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SAN CARLOS — Host, Sarah Rutan:  When preparing for a move, you'll need to priorities which items you'll take with you, and which items you'll… Read more

Glen A. Mitchell is a 15-year veteran of the real estate industry and broker at Glen A. Mitchell Keller Williams Realty, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 268-4022 or by email.

Glen Mitchell

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Glen Mitchell: A Familiar Field

By James Florence , Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

HALF MOON BAY — Glen Mitchell grew up in a family that ran a property management business, so it only made sense for him to get into a field he was familiar with. “From a young age, I had an interest in the real estate industry, partially because I had seen firsthand how the business worked, and the process fascinated me,” he explains. “After finishing school, I felt like I was a little too young to start selling houses, so I went to work as a trader at the stock exchange. After a few years, I decided I’d had enough and returned to real estate, which I’ve been doing ever since.”

Today, Glen says his favorite part of being a real estate broker is sharing in the triumphs of his clients. “I enjoy working with clients on both sides of the spectrum. Whether it’s a seller who got the price they wanted or a buyer who just bought their first home, it’s exciting for me to see my clients excited.”

A resident of Half Moon Bay (where he lives with his wife, Christy, and their three children), Glen expresses his appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the Bay Area. “As someone who loves the ocean and the mountains, I feel very fortunate to live in a place where we have access to nearly any kind of outdoor activity. The only thing we don’t have is skiing, but even that’s only a three-hour drive away.”

Outside of work, Glen engages in a variety of active pastimes, from hiking and mountain biking with his kids to photography. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an interest in photography, and in the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to get more involved in that.” Glen also likes keeping up with the world of college sports. “I enjoy college sports more than professional sports, and I go to every Stanford football game.” Additionally, Glen is an active participant at his local church, where he enjoys helping out with various activities and events.

In his life and career, Glen espouses the virtues of living by the Golden Rule. “I try to treat other people how I would want to be treated,” he affirms. “Whether in life or in business, I want to be someone people can trust, and I also want to be able to trust other people. That’s an especially big deal in my line of work.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Glen says he’d head to an island destination. “I’d take my family on a trip to Hawaii, turn my phone off and just spend some time sitting on the beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: New Zealand. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful pictures, and I’d love to go there and do some photography.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sushi Main Street in Half Moon Bay.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Country, although my favorite band is U2. I guess I’m kind of eclectic.

Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The country, just because I enjoy being in nature. Ideally, I’d live just outside of the city to get the best of both worlds.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: A jack-in-the-box. It was basically a big cardboard box—I would sit inside on the porch, and when trick-or-treaters came to the door, I’d jump out of it and scare them.

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4 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Appeal

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HALF MOON BAY — Sellers often assume that in order to get their homes market-ready, they need to invest in major cosmetic upgrades or even do some remodeling. While such measures can be good investments in some cases, you should first consider… Read more

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Video: Simple Tips for a Faster Home Sale

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HALF MOON BAY — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to selling a home, there are several easy steps to boost its appeal to potential… Read more

Christine Stahl is a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry and partner at Lommori Stahl Group of Re/Max Star Properties, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (650) 525-4162 or by email.

Christine Stahl

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Christine Stahl: In Her Father’s Footsteps

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PACIFICA — When asked how she became involved in the real estate industry, Christine Stahl credits the early influence of her father. “My father was a real estate broker and had his own office in Pacifica,” she explains. “When I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life, my father’s business partner suggested I go to work for him and have him teach me the business. I took her advice, got my real estate license and joined my father’s team.”

Five years later, Christine’s father unexpectedly passed away, which left her not only in a place of personal grief, but also at a professional crossroads. “After my father passed away, I had the choice to take over his company or continue working solo as an agent,” she says. “I decided on the latter, as I really enjoyed working hands-on with buyers and sellers.” Not long after, Christine was offered a proposition from industry colleague Pete Lommori. “Pete and I knew each other from working together on past transactions, and after my father passed, he suggested we join forces and form a team. The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like a good idea, so we made it official in 1995 and have been working together ever since.”

Today, as partner at Lommori Stahl Group of Re/Max Star Properties, Christine says her favorite part of her job is helping clients prepare for major decisions. “For most people, purchasing or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make, so I like being there to walk them through that process. By sitting down with them, determining their needs and putting together a plan to meet their goals, I’m able to give my clients greater confidence in making their big decisions.”

A longtime resident of Pacifica, Christine expresses her adoration for the Bay Area. “I was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida, so I’ve always loved the coast and the ocean. When I came to the Pacific coast, it immediately felt like home. The surf, the sunset, the mountains, the clean air…we’re simply surrounded by beauty, so I feel very fortunate to live here.”

Outside of work, Christine spends much of her time enjoying the local landscape and searching for hidden gems. “I like to explore different areas of Northern California, including the coast and Wine Country,” she says. “There’s so much to see and do around the Bay Area, and I’m always coming across new things.” Additionally, Christine enjoys spending time with friends and family; going on walks with her dog and company mascot, Rockaway Ricky; and volunteering her time to benefit her community. “I’m on the board of a local nonprofit called Pacificans Care, which raises funds for the four core social service agencies here in Pacifica.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Christine says she would expand her exploratory horizons beyond the California border. “I would definitely travel more. In particular, I’d like to visit some of the national parks around the country. I love nature and have been to a few parks, but there are a lot more I still want to see, so maybe I’d rent an RV and go on a national park tour.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first pet?
A: A cat named Girl.

Q: Reality TV or documentaries?
A: Documentaries. I like history and enjoy learning the facts behind major events.

Q: What’s your favorite winery?
A: Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Classic rock and Motown.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Succulents—they’re fun to collect because you can simply take a branch from someone else’s garden and transplant it into yours.

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Measures to Maximize Property Appeal

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PACIFICA — Prior to putting your home up for sale, you’ll want to take measures to maximize its appeal to potential buyers. While there are several avenues for boosting your property’s appeal, it’s best to focus on those that are likely… Read more

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Video: Preparing Your Home for Market

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PACIFICA – Host, Sarah Rutan:If you're planning to sell your home, you'll want to take every available measure to get it ready for market. To… Read more

Marc Roos works in partnership with Sereno Group to help clients buy and sell properties in Santa Clara County and parts of San Mateo County. He can be reached at (650) 207-0226 or by email.

Marc Roos

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Marc Roos: A Residential Affinity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

When Marc Roos got his first job in the real estate industry, he didn’t know it would be a stepping stone toward a successful long-term career. “I got into real estate by accident, really,” he says. “After college, a friend and I were looking for work, so we went to the campus employment center. One of the job ads was placed by a commercial real estate broker who was looking to drum up sales; we both responded and were hired. From there, my friend went on to pursue a career in commercial real estate, but I was much more interested in the residential side. Besides having a love of architecture, I’ve always enjoyed working with people, so it just made sense to go in that direction. I got my residential real estate license in 1992 and have been doing it ever since.”

After more than 25 years as a Realtor, Marc says he still enjoys making a difference in his clients’ lives. “Hands down, my favorite part of the job is giving first-time buyers the keys to their new homes. It’s very rewarding to work with people and help them achieve the American dream of home ownership.”

A resident of Los Altos Hills (where he lives with his wife, Katie, and their two daughters), Marc fills his free time with an array of outdoor activities. “Hiking, running, skiing, wake surfing—if it’s outside, I probably do it,” he says. “I also like spending time at Lake Tahoe and the beach with my family. Additionally, both of our daughters play club soccer, so these days we do a lot of traveling around the country.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Marc espouses the wisdom of the Golden Rule. “I believe in treating others the way I’d want to be treated, and that’s with honesty and respect,” he explains. “I’m not a salesman; rather, I see my role as a guide for my clients. That’s why I make an effort to educate my clients and help them make informed decisions about their real estate transactions.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Marc says he’d head to a tropical destination. “I would take my family on vacation to Bora Bora. That’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to go.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?
A: I was a paperboy for the Los Altos Town Crier when I was nine years old.

Q: If you could instantly pick up a new skill, what would it be?
A: I would love to possess the skills to design and build my own home.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The past—it was a much simpler time, when technology didn’t command every aspect of life.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: The Fourth of July.

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4 Tips for Staging Your Home

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LOS ALTOS HILLS — When selling your home, you can increase its appeal to potential buyers by staging it. Staging is a common real estate sales technique for enhancing a property’s visual attractiveness. Essentially, you want your sale property to look like… Read more

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Video: Steps for Staging Your Home

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LOS ALTOS HILLS — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re selling your home, you’ll need to get it ready to present to potential buyers. Today we’re in Los Altos… Read more

Debby Benson-Miller is a Diamond Certified real estate agent with Prime Real Estate Services. She can be reached at (707) 999-7853 or by email.

Debby Benson-Miller

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Debby Benson-Miller: In Her Father’s Footsteps

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — When asked how she ended up in real estate, Debby Benson-Miller credits the influence of her father. “My father used to buy and sell properties and was a big believer in real estate as an investment,” she remembers. “He tried to get me into it right out of high school, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to be an agent. Instead, I went to work as an administrator for the Humboldt Association of Realtors, where I gained experience running the multiple listing service and got to know a lot of Realtors. After 10 years, I decided I was ready to become an agent, so I got my license, moved to Sonoma County and have been serving this area ever since.”

As a Sonoma County real estate agent, Debby says her favorite part of her job is interacting with clients. “I’ve always been a people-person, so that part of the job came naturally to me. Plus, it’s very rewarding to help someone sell their home or hand the keys to a first-time buyer. Basically, I really like making people happy.”

A resident of Rohnert Park (where she lives with her husband and business partner, Tom), Debby expresses her appreciation for her North Bay locale. “Living in Sonoma County, we’re surrounded by natural beauty and fun activities. Whether you want to drive out to the coast or watch a Giants game in the city, there’s no shortage of things to do.”

Outside of work, Debby lives up to her reputation as a people-person by partaking in a variety of social activities. “I’m in a bunco group, a book club, and Tom and I are part of an RV group that goes on little excursions once a month,” she lists. “I’m also a member of the local Rotary chapter, the Junior League of Napa-Sonoma and Non Stop Connections, which is an offshoot of BNI.” When she’s not rubbing elbows with friends and colleagues, Debby likes spending time with her stepchildren, grandchildren and two orange cats.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Debby espouses the importance of communication. “People like to know what’s going on, especially when they’re in the middle of a major transaction, so communication is crucial,” she explains. “However, everybody is different, and I’ve learned that you need to communicate in different ways to different people. Some people want to be texted, some prefer email, and others want you to pick up the phone and call them. So, I make it a point to be flexible and adjust my communication style based on the client’s needs.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Debby says she’d live to the fullest. “I recently had a kidney transplant and I feel extremely fortunate to have my health back. It has really changed my outlook on life and made me realize the importance of enjoying every day. With that in mind, if I were to retire, I would do some traveling. I’ve always wanted to go to the East Coast and see Boston and Washington D.C., and I’ve also been thinking about going to Italy. But maybe I’d start with a good, old-fashioned cruise.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sweet T’s in Santa Rosa.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Put on some sweats, turn on the fire and read a book. Of course, it’s also a good time to go to a movie.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actress would you choose to play yourself?
A: Kate Hudson.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Key lime pie—Sweet T’s makes a great one.

Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: I have a couple: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls and “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” by Lorna Landvik.

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Real Estate Tips for Buyers and Sellers

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ROHNERT PARK — In real estate, there are typically two parties: a seller and a buyer. Regardless of what side you’re on, there are strategies that can help you improve your position. Consider the following tips: Tip for sellers Every seller wants… Read more

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Video: Tips for Sellers and Buyers

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ROHNERT PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, you can improve your prospects by learning some basic strategies. Today, we’re in… Read more

Marc Guay is a 29-year veteran of the real estate industry and a realtor with Coldwell Banker. He can be reached at (510) 343-5223 or by email.

Marc Guay

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Marc Guay: A Firmer Foundation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BERKELEY — After more than a decade working in auto sales, Marc Guay decided he needed to transition into something that would provide a firmer foundation. “I got into car sales while I was in college and spent my 20s selling exotic makes like Alfa Romeo, BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” he remembers. “By the time I turned 30, my wife and I were starting to have kids, and I felt it was time to get serious about a career, which is what led me to enter the field of residential real estate.”

Far from a random transition, Marc’s family background provided a pertinent precedent for his change of livelihood. “Both my parents were involved in the real estate industry,” he says. “My mother sold residential real estate in Berkeley for many years, and my father started as a contractor before going into commercial leasing and development. Not only did this give me a familiarity with the industry, it also gave me a well-rounded perspective, since they each handled a different aspect of the business.”

After 26 years, Marc says his real estate career brings him more satisfaction than he ever got from selling cars. “With real estate, I get to be involved in people’s lives in a much more positive way. I enjoy building partnerships with my clients, advocating for them and working to obtain successful results on their behalf. Plus, I’m not stuck on a showroom floor—I have a lot more opportunities to get out, whether showing properties to clients or facilitating open house events.”

A lifelong resident of Berkeley (where he lives with his wife, Maria), Marc says he appreciates the city’s cutting-edge character. “It’s a very exciting place to live and work. In addition to the vibrant diversity and entrepreneurial opportunities, we’re on the forefront of culture and technology, so we’re never out of touch with what’s happening at the moment.”

Outside of work, Marc enjoys being out and about in the Greater Bay Area. “I really like to travel around and take my time to enjoy the diversity of the landscape and scenery,” he says. “I also like playing golf—it’s great exercise and I find it very relaxing.” Additionally, Marc takes time to keep up with his and Maria’s two grown children: Spencer, who lives locally and works as an artisan, and Curtis, a member of the U.S. Air Force who currently resides in Japan.

In regard his professional career, Marc says it’s important to establish realistic expectations and strive to exceed them. “I see a lot of realtors overpromising and then under-delivering. While that may bring success in the short term, it tends to have an adverse effect in the long term. That’s why I make it a point to do the opposite—under-promise and over-deliver.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Marc says he’d give back to his community. “I’m currently the president of the Berkeley West Lions Club, which has given me an opportunity to participate in a lot of civic activities and charitable projects. If I was able to retire tomorrow, I’d devote more of my time to those types of altruistic ventures. Of course, I’d also like to play a bit more golf!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The piano.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actor would you choose to play yourself?
A: Robert Redford.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: A pirate.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Little Star Pizza in Albany.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My bike.

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Avoiding Common Seller Mistakes in Real Estate

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BERKELEY — When it comes to selling a home, several factors can affect the success of the outcome, which is why it’s a good idea for sellers to educate themselves about the process. By avoiding common mistakes, sellers can greatly… Read more

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Video: Practical Guidelines for Selling Your Home

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BERKELEY — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to selling a home, there are a few practical guidelines to take to ensure a successful outcome. Today we’re… Read more

Heidi Hart is president of Heidi Hart – California Dreaming Real Estate, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (831) 708-8910 or by email.

Heidi Hart

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Heidi Hart: A Perfect Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA CRUZ — As a young mother of three, Heidi Hart knew that any career she pursued would need to have a flexible schedule. When she was offered a job in real estate, she knew it was the perfect opportunity. “I got my real estate license when I was 25,” she recounts. “It actually started when I was offered a job at a real estate office across from my kids’ school. Besides being in a convenient location, the hours were flexible, which allowed me to be available for my kids while also being actively involved in my community. I found that I really enjoyed the real estate business and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Today, as president of Heidi Hart – California Dreaming Real Estate, Heidi says she enjoys multiple aspects of her job. “I’m a super-organized person, so I love micromanaging my files and keeping everything in order. I also enjoy negotiating, as well as meeting new clients and seeing different homes. The Santa Cruz Mountains area is very unique, with a wide variety of home styles, so that definitely keeps things interesting.”

Outside of work, Heidi engages in a variety of hobbies and pastimes. “I spend a lot of time working in my garden and taking care of our chickens,” she details. “I also enjoy cooking, sewing, going to the beach, and having friends and clients over for parties.” Additionally, Heidi likes traveling to new places. “My partner, Brian, and I take a couple of trips each year: one to somewhere in the U.S. we haven’t seen before and one to a tropical location. I also like taking my kids to Mexico during the summer—it’s relatively close and inexpensive, so it makes for a fun getaway.”

When asked the secret to her ongoing success as a Realtor, Heidi says it comes down to providing nothing less than the best. “I’m a strong believer in putting forth your best effort, which is what I do for every client I work with. Basically, I want my clients to be happy so they’ll refer me to their friends and family. Often, my clients end up becoming friends. I always enjoy getting a call from a past client who invites me to come out and see what they’ve done with the place.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Heidi says she probably wouldn’t. “At this point in my life, I’m able to do all the things I want to do, so I don’t see any reason to retire. Besides, I love my job. In all likelihood, I’ll be working long past the point where I could retire.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Probably Spain or Greece. The only problem is I get really impatient with long flights, which is why most of my traveling is confined to relatively close locations. If they find a way to speed up air travel some more, I’ll probably go then.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sew, make homemade jam or organize things.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person—I’m allergic to cats.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Old books and my kids’ artwork.

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How to Establish Your Home’s Value

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SANTA CRUZ — If you’re planning to sell your home, you’ll need to establish its value in order to determine the right asking price. In the real estate market, this is done using a statistical report called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).… Read more

Ron Lee is a 39-year veteran of the real estate industry and a Diamond Certified broker associate with RE/MAX Gold. He can be reached at (707) 333-8308 or by email.

Ron Lee

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Ron Lee: An Early Involvement

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

VALLEJO — Ron Lee got involved in real estate early in life—in fact, by the age of 20, he’d already bought and sold his first house. “As a young man, I read a book on how to buy a property with nothing down, and soon after, I bought my first house,” he recounts. “I fixed it up, rented it out for a year and sold it to the tenant for a substantial profit. This inspired me to get more involved in buying and selling houses, so I got my real estate license and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Today, as a broker associate with RE/MAX Gold, Ron says his favorite part of his job is helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership. “I really enjoy working with first-time buyers. It’s all new to them, so there’s a lot of excitement and I have fun coaching them through the process. That said, I also have a fair amount of clients who are investors, and I enjoy that aspect as well.”

A resident of Vallejo (where he lives with his wife, Dorothea), Ron expresses his appreciation for the character of his North Bay locale. “I like the people, the climate and the proximity to the rest of the Bay Area. It’s big enough to keep things interesting but it still feels like a small town.”

Outside of work, Ron enjoys a variety of active pastimes, whether in the air, on the ground or in the water. “I’m a paraglider pilot and a motorcyclist, and I pursue both of those activities on a regular basis,” he says. “I’m the kind of person who enjoys quiet, peaceful moments, and I usually get those while I’m flying or taking the back roads on my bike. I also own a yacht, which is great for getting away, but it’s also good for cultivating business.”

In regard to his professional career, Ron emphasizes the importance of having a long-term impact. “When I work with clients, I always try to counsel them in how to invest wisely and focus on the long term,” he explains. “I think that’s partially why I get so much repeat business—I even have clients whose grandchildren I’m now working with, so it has certainly brought me long-term rewards as well.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Ron says he plans to stay busy. “I don’t think I’ll ever fully stop doing what I’m doing. I can see myself taking longer weekends, but I really enjoy my work. Plus, it keeps me busy, so I don’t get bored.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Zio Fraedo’s in Vallejo.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future. I’m just curious to see what’s going to happen next.

Q: Music or talk-radio?
A: Neither—I’m a quiet time kind of guy.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Over easy.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Tonka truck.

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How to Buy Additional Time for a 1031 Exchange

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VALLEJO — If you’re planning to upgrade from one investment property to another, you’ll naturally want to retain as much of your original profit as possible. The problem is capital gains taxes can really put a dent in your bottom line.… Read more

Strategy for Winning a Bidding War

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VALLEJO — As a buyer, your primary goal is to find a house you love. However, when you do finally find that special property, odds are someone else is going to love it as well, which means you’re likely to find… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Improving Your Bidding Position

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VALLEJO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you find yourself in a bidding war for a real estate property, one tactic may be able to give you a… Read more

Harold Bloom has been selling homes in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties since 1985. He can be reached at (650) 605-3928 or by email.

Howard Bloom

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Howard Bloom: Still Having Fun

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Reporter

LOS ALTOS — When asked what inspired him to get into real estate, Howard Bloom says it was more fun than his day job. “Before I was a real estate agent, I worked as a hospital administrator. In 1982, I started buying and reselling government-repossessed properties. Pretty soon, I was buying two or three properties a year. Eventually, I decided real estate was more fun than being in meetings all day. Plus, I was using a lot of the same skills I used at my job: dealing with people, solving problems and negotiating contracts. In 1985, I began doing real estate full-time and have been at it ever since.”

Today, after more than 30 years in real estate, Howard is still having fun. “I enjoy every aspect of my job, from taking a fixer-upper and making it presentable to negotiating great outcomes for my clients. Plus, at this point in my career, much of my business is repeat and referral-based, so I enjoy maintaining those long-term connections and seeing how people have grown over the years.”

A resident of Los Altos (where he lives with his wife, Diane), Howard spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I work 60 to 70 hours a week, but I still make time for a few interests and hobbies. I enjoy eating at good restaurants, going whitewater rafting and going to San Jose Sharks games—I’m an original season ticket holder.”

When asked about a professional philosophy, Howard says it’s all about delivering results. “Talk is cheap—a realtor needs to deliver the results they promise to their clients. That’s why I offer a satisfaction guarantee that allows each client to terminate their contract at any time if they’re unhappy with my services. However, I don’t worry about it, because after all these years, I’ve never had anyone take me up on it!”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Howard says he hasn’t given it much thought. “I enjoy my job—it’s a good life, so I’m in no hurry to retire. Plus, I’m much better at real estate than I am at golf! At this point, I’m 33 years in, and my goal is to make it to 50 years in the business.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could instantly pick up a new skill, what would it be?
A: The ability to cook.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite TV show?
A: “Seinfeld.”

Q: Which “Seinfeld” character do you relate to most?
A: George.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving. It’s a time to reflect on gratitude for what we have and consider those less fortunate than ourselves.

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Choosing a Quality Real Estate Agent

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LOS ALTOS — If you’re looking to buy a home, one of the first things you should do is choose an agent to represent you. However, just any agent won’t do—to ensure a successful outcome, you’ll need to choose a quality one.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: How to Find a Quality Real Estate Agent

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LOS ALTOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to buying a home, a quality real estate agent can make all the difference in securing a successful outcome.… Read more

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