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Why Trust Diamond Certified Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Ron Lee RE/MAX Gold (2017)

Only the best real estate agents in Napa County have earned the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most accurate and rigorous ratings process anywhere. You’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed. Most companies can’t pass this test. That’s why you’ll feel confident when you choose a Diamond Certified real estate agent listed below. Simply click on the name of a Diamond Certified company below to read ratings results, informational articles and verbatim customer survey responses.

Thousands of customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program cuts out mediocre and poorly performing companies. If you want quality, you’ll have confidence in choosing Diamond Certified companies. And you’re backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Napa County – Real Estate Sales – Agents CATEGORY

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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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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Complete Video Transcription:

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

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

INDUSTRY INFORMATION - Napa County – Real Estate Sales – Agents
Know What You Want
Questions for Consideration Prior to Hiring a Real Estate Sales Agent in Napa County

Many factors should be considered before selecting a real estate sales agent in Napa County that will meet your needs the best. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin your research. Think about the following questions before making your final choice regarding a real estate sales agent.

1.     Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?

2.     What personal and professional characteristics would I like my Alameda commercial contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)

3.     What is the time frame that is best for me to purchase or sell my real estate property in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville?

4.     What is my budget?

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What To Ask In Person
Ask These Questions While Speaking in Person with a Real Estate Sales Agent in Napa County

The next step in the process of hiring a real estate sales agent in Napa County is to interview them. Consider asking the following questions.

1.     Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?

2.     Considering the current market, at what price do you think my home can sell?

3.     Other than a CMA (comparative market analysis), what does your marketing package contain?

4.     Do you represent buyers and sellers on the same house?

5.     Can you give me a comparative market analysis of recent home that are on the market as well as recent sales in the area?

6.     How many other sellers are you representing now? (Keep in mind that the busiest real estate sales agents are often the most efficient.)

7.     What sets you apart from other real estate sales agents?

8.     Do you offer a guarantee if I am dissatisfied with the service?

9.     Can I get references for your last five deals?

10.  Can I list the house with you for 60 to 90 days?

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  • What To Ask References
    Interview Previous Customers of a Real Estate Sales Agent in Napa County

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent in Napa County because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality real estate work in Napa County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t locate a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent within reach in Napa County, including the smaller cities of Angwin, Deer Park, Oakville, Pope Valley, and Rutherford, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your real estate sales agent.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the real estate sales agent are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the real estate agents will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1.     If you sold real estate with this real estate agent in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville, did they do a good job of showcasing and showing your property both in person and on the listing sheet?

    2.     If you need a real estate sales agent in the future, will you consider hiring this real estate agent?

    3.     Was this real estate agent respectful of your time and property? Were there any issues of theft or damage during showings?

    4.     Was the real estate agent helpful in guiding you during the offer process?

    5.     Was the real estate agent helpful in guiding you during negotiations?

    6.     Do you feel that the real estate agent was pushy when it came to selling or buying?

    7.     Did the real estate agent help you devise a selling/buying plan and help you stick with it?

    8.     Was the deal was complete, were you satisfied with the real estate agent?

    9.     Was the real estate agent knowledgeable about the community, town, and market you were interested in?

    10.  Do you believe that the real estate sales agent was working with your best interest in mind? Or did you feel like the real estate agent was influenced by other motivations or agents?

    11.  Would you recommend this real estate sales agent to your family and friends?

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  • Review Your Options
    When You Find a Napa County Real Estate Sales Agent

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of real estate sales agent is important to you and your family. So before making the final decision on the best real estate sales agent in Napa County, you may want to consider the following questions:

    1. Is my real estate sales agent of choice applying pressure or sales tactics in order to get me to sign a contract before I am ready?
    2. Do I trust my real estate agent of choice?
    3. Does my real estate agent have good references that I have checked?
    4. Is my real estate agent flexible regarding the commission rate?Does my real estate agent have a good record for selling real estate property in a timely fashion by using successful marketing strategies?
    5. Is my real estate sales agent well-respected in the community?
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  • How To Work With
    Factors to Think Regarding the Buyer’s Agent Agreement

    If you are purchasing real estate in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville, your real estate sales agent my ask you to sign a “buyer’s agent agreement.” This agreement protects the real estate agent if you, the client, choose to switch to a different real estate agent at the moment of signing a contract for real estate property for the purpose of saving money, etc.

    This contract ensures that the real estate agent will be compensated for their work. It specifies rights and duties of the buyer as well as how and when the agent will be compensated. If your real estate agent wants you to sign a buyer’s agent agreement, here are a list of issues you should carefully consider:

    ·      Term. You can always renew later, so determine a logical time period for working with the real estate agent. Remember that if you purchase a property that the real estate agent showed you a few months after the contract has expired, the agent is still entitled to a commission.

    ·      Compensation. Be sure that total compensation is covered in the buyer’s agreement. Any commission that is paid by the seller to the buyer’s agent will reduce any commission owed by the buyer. Avoid paying a retainer fee. Also check to see how to cancel the contract if you are unhappy with the real estate agent’s performance.

    ·      Geographic area. Make sure the real estate agent is experienced in your area. If it is possible that you will venture outside of the comfort zone of the real estate agent, make a provision in the contract that the real estate agent will refer you to another agent and collect a referral fee. Or that, in this type of case, the contract will be invalid.

    ·      FSBOs. If you don’t want to pay a commission on For Sale by Owner properties, make sure to put that in the contract. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate agent may be able to save you money by determining a fair purchase price and negotiating the deal.

    The contract should clearly define both the duties of the agent and the buyer. These duties should include:

                Jobs of a Real Estate Sales Agent in Napa County:

    ·      Negotiate contracts

    ·      Unless requested to do so in writing, the real estate agent is not obligated to show properties that are not available in the Multiple Listing Service.

    ·      Continued, reliable effort to identify properties that meet the needs of the buyer

    ·      Arrange for properties to be inspected

    ·      Assists with obtaining financing

    ·      Discloses any information that would affect the buyer’s decision to purchase

    Jobs of a Purchaser in Napa County:

    ·      Cooperates with the agent in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement

    ·      Be available to view potential properties

    ·      Work exclusively with the agent to find real estate property while the agreement is valid

    ·      Pays compensation

    ·      Provide the agent with adequate financial information to research appropriate properties

    A Listing Contract

    A listing contract is the contract between a real estate agent (if the agent is acting in a broker’s name) and a seller of real estate property that gives the agent the right to offer the property for sale. The listing contract must include the following:

    ·      A beginning date and a termination date

    ·      The list price which the property will be offered for sale

    ·      The amount of compensation offered to the real estate agent. This can be in the form of a percentage of the sales price or a flat fee.

    ·      The terms and conditions under which the brokerage fee will be paid by the seller

    ·      Authorizes the agent to cooperate with other agents as sub-agents and also details the compensation that will be offered to those agents in the event they secure a buyer.

    ·      Authorizes the real estate agent to disclose or not to disclose the existence of offers formerly received.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How to Be a Trustworthy Real Estate Sales Agent Customer in Napa County

    It’s the real estate sales agent’s job to work for you according to your needs. But you play a big part in the success of your real estate sales agent, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Napa County real estate sales agent.

    • Be sure your real estate sales agent has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re helping you look for real estate. The real estate project will move along more smoothly if your real estate sales agent can reach you for any necessary updates or questions.
    • Ask your real estate sales agent if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be honest and upfront with the real estate sales agent. Let them know what you want from your real estate sales agent, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before hiring a real estate sales agent in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville,  restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the real estate sales agent your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local real estate sales agents occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • When your real estate sales agent contacts you, return calls quickly to keep the real estate project on schedule.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good client? Real estate sales agents in Napa County appreciate clients who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Making the Real Estate Contract Official in Napa County

In order for your real estate purchase or sell to be official in Napa County, including the smaller cities of Angwin, Deer Park, Oakville, Pope Valley, and Rutherford, you must sign a written contract. It must include the following:

·      Identification of parties involved: both the seller(s) and the buyer(s) of the real estate

·      Identification of the real estate property

·      Identification of the purchase price

·      Signatures by all parties involved

·      A legal purpose

·      Consideration: This is something of value that is bargained for in exchange of the real estate. Usually the form of consideration used is money, but, for example, other property could be used in the exchange.

·      Contingencies (conditions) that must be met if the contract is to be performed. Certain types of contingencies include inspection, appraisal, another sale contingency, etc.

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Written Warranties
Top Service Requests from Real Estate Sales Agents

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Napa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

·      Transaction agent
A transaction agent writes an offer for the buyer. They do not represent either party but, rather, facilitate the transaction.

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Napa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

·      Transaction agent
A transaction agent writes an offer for the buyer. They do not represent either party but, rather, facilitate the transaction.

·      Buyer’s agent
A buyer’s agent is also known as a selling agent. Though a buyer’s agent may work with both sellers and buyers, it is not usually in the same transaction.

·      Realtor
This is a title that simply means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). A realtor can be either a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Members of NAR also belong to state and local trade associations.

·      Dual agent
A dual agent represents both the seller and the buyer.

·      Broker associate
This is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker. Though they could choose to work independently, many real estate brokers choose to join a larger real estate network.

·      Real estate agent
This is a licensed salesperson. Unlike a real estate broker, a real estate agent must work for an employing real estate broker rather than independently. Requirements for a real estate agent vary from state to state.

·      Real estate broker
A real estate broker usually has more education than a real estate agent. A real estate broker typically has a four year degree as well as the completion of eight college-level real estate  courses that qualify them to take the broker’s real estate exam. However, if the real estate broker does not have a four year degree, two years of real estate sales experience will qualify them to be able to take the eight college-level real estate courses. Thirdly, lawyers who belong to the bar can qualify to be a real estate broker if they pass the exam.

There are also many different types of listing agreements. The best choice for you will depend on your ability and willingness to undertake some of the home selling requirements. It also depends on the climate of the real estate market in your area.

·      Cancellation of contract
This type of listing allows you as a client of the real estate agent to be released from a contract if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the service.

·      Exception to the contract
This type of listing allows the seller a certain number of days to sell the property without owing a commission.

·      Length of listing
This listing agreement negotiates the duration of the listing. Common terms include 30 days, 90 days, six months, one year, or more.

·      Selling commission
This determines the total percentage of commission that will be paid to the selling agent versus the listing broker. By determining a larger amount to the selling office, it can motivate a real estate agent to worker harder to sell your property.

·      Exclusive right to sell listing
This type of listing gives the exclusive right to earn a commission. The broker represents the owner and is responsible for bringing a buyer either directly or through another brokerage. The owner is responsible for paying both the selling broker fees and the listing. If you as the owner sells the property in your own, you must pay a commission to the broker.

·      Exclusive agency listing
In this type of listing, the broker represents the owner; however, the owner still has the right to sell the property without paying a commission.

·      Open listing
This lets owners sell the home by themselves; however, they must pay a broker to represent the buyer if a real estate agent finds a buyer to purchase the real estate property. If, on the other hand, they find a buyer themselves, they won’t owe anybody a commission.

·      Expiration of contract
This type of listing means that, if the owner and broker do not renew a contract, the owner must still pay a commission to the broker if the property is purchased by a prospective buyer (whose name is given to the owner by the broker) within a specified time period.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Real Estate Sales Agents

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Napa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

·      Transaction agent
A transaction agent writes an offer for the buyer. They do not represent either party but, rather, facilitate the transaction.

·      Buyer’s agent
A buyer’s agent is also known as a selling agent. Though a buyer’s agent may work with both sellers and buyers, it is not usually in the same transaction.

·      Realtor
This is a title that simply means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). A realtor can be either a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Members of NAR also belong to state and local trade associations.

·      Dual agent
A dual agent represents both the seller and the buyer.

·      Broker associate
This is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker. Though they could choose to work independently, many real estate brokers choose to join a larger real estate network.

·      Real estate agent
This is a licensed salesperson. Unlike a real estate broker, a real estate agent must work for an employing real estate broker rather than independently. Requirements for a real estate agent vary from state to state.

·      Real estate broker
A real estate broker usually has more education than a real estate agent. A real estate broker typically has a four year degree as well as the completion of eight college-level real estate  courses that qualify them to take the broker’s real estate exam. However, if the real estate broker does not have a four year degree, two years of real estate sales experience will qualify them to be able to take the eight college-level real estate courses. Thirdly, lawyers who belong to the bar can qualify to be a real estate broker if they pass the exam.

There are also many different types of listing agreements. The best choice for you will depend on your ability and willingness to undertake some of the home selling requirements. It also depends on the climate of the real estate market in your area.

·      Cancellation of contract
This type of listing allows you as a client of the real estate agent to be released from a contract if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the service.

·      Exception to the contract
This type of listing allows the seller a certain number of days to sell the property without owing a commission.

·      Length of listing
This listing agreement negotiates the duration of the listing. Common terms include 30 days, 90 days, six months, one year, or more.

·      Selling commission
This determines the total percentage of commission that will be paid to the selling agent versus the listing broker. By determining a larger amount to the selling office, it can motivate a real estate agent to worker harder to sell your property.

·      Exclusive right to sell listing
This type of listing gives the exclusive right to earn a commission. The broker represents the owner and is responsible for bringing a buyer either directly or through another brokerage. The owner is responsible for paying both the selling broker fees and the listing. If you as the owner sells the property in your own, you must pay a commission to the broker.

·      Exclusive agency listing
In this type of listing, the broker represents the owner; however, the owner still has the right to sell the property without paying a commission.

·      Open listing
This lets owners sell the home by themselves; however, they must pay a broker to represent the buyer if a real estate agent finds a buyer to purchase the real estate property. If, on the other hand, they find a buyer themselves, they won’t owe anybody a commission.

·      Expiration of contract
This type of listing means that, if the owner and broker do not renew a contract, the owner must still pay a commission to the broker if the property is purchased by a prospective buyer (whose name is given to the owner by the broker) within a specified time period.

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Glossary Of Terms
Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent?

A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a real estate sales agent with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only real estate sales agents rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings.

A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a real estate sales agent with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only real estate sales agents rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent.

Q: How do I know if a certain property is a good investment?
A: Your real estate sales agent should be able to help by providing plenty of information regarding property in the area from low end to high end. They can even provide historical information regarding how properties in the are have performed as well as an educated guess as to where they are going.

 Q: How should I choose a realtor?
A: Ask about experience. Learn how many clients that real estate agent worked with in the last year or so and request permission to contact them.

Q: How can I maximize the value of my home?
A: There are several things that you can do to make a house more desirable for potential buyers. This is called staging. A good real estate agent will be able to help you stage your property in an effective manner.

Q: What about doing more extensive improvements?
A: Some improvements will pay for themselves when you sell the property. But this all depends. A knowledgeable real estate sales agent will be able to advise you.

Q: How can I build equity into my home besides making monthly mortgage payments?
A: Always try to send in a little extra. This extra amount will go directly to the principal of the loan rather than interest. Even $50.00 per month extra can build your equity quickly. It can also knock years off of your loan.

Q: If I want to purchase a home and I know the seller already has an agent, can I act as my own agent and negotiate a lower fee?
A: Most likely, you don’t have the knowledge needed to represent yourself. The seller pays the real estate commission rather than the buyer. The real estate commission is already set in the listing contract. It actually doesn’t cost you anything to have your own agent represent you because the seller is paying for it already.

Q: What is a housing ratio?
A: This is the percentage of your housing payment to your monthly gross income. Lenders use this ratio to determine how much money they will loan you.

Q: What is a spec house?
A: This is a home that was built without it being requested or ordered by a buyer. A spec house is not customized or built to a particular buyer’s tastes.

Q: What is an appraised value?
A: An appraised value is an opinion regarding a property’s fair market value based on an appraiser’s analysis and inspection of the property.

Q: What is an assessed value?
A: This is the public tax assessor value of a property. It is determined for the purpose of taxation.

Q: What is depreciation?
A: This is a decline in the value of property due to general wear and tear.

Q: Why should I use a real estate agent?
A: A real estate agent acts on your behalf by providing you with guidance and advice while helping you buy or sell a home. An agent will be able to provide you with current information in a fast changing market that will be critical to your success in either purchasing or selling a home.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer Agencies

ACRE Association of Commercial Real Estate (http://www.acre.org/)
AIR Commercial Real Estate Association (http://www.airea.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CADRE California Department of Real Estate (http://www.dre.cahwnet.gov/)
CAR The California Association of Realtors (http://www.car.org/)
CRE Counselors of Real Estate (http://www.cre.org/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)…

ACRE Association of Commercial Real Estate (http://www.acre.org/)
AIR Commercial Real Estate Association (http://www.airea.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CADRE California Department of Real Estate (http://www.dre.cahwnet.gov/)
CAR The California Association of Realtors (http://www.car.org/)
CRE Counselors of Real Estate (http://www.cre.org/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
NAEBA National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (http://www.naeba.org/)
NAIREB National Association of Independent Real Estate Brokers (http://www.nationalrealestatebrokers.org/)
NAR National Association of Realtors (http://www.realtor.org/)
NAREB National Association of Real Estate Brokers (http://www.nareb.com/)
NBAR North Bay Association of Realtors (http://www.norbarrealtor.com/)
NCCAR Northern California Commercial Association of Realtors (http://www.nccar.org/)
REEA The Real Estate Educators Association (http://www.reea.org/)

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