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Why Trust Diamond Certified Real Estate Brokers Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a real estate broker that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified real estate brokerage. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated real estate company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 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 eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE San Francisco – Real Estate Brokers CATEGORY

Jane Brown is owner of Optimum Realty & Financial Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2003. She can be reached at (415) 997-8922 or by email.

Jane Brown

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jane Brown: Both Sides of the Coin

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO – In real estate, the sales process is typically coordinated between two distinct parties—a realtor and a lender—often within a somewhat turbulent dynamic. When Jane Brown first entered the industry, she saw how stressful this could make the process for clients caught in the middle and knew there had to be a better way. Eventually, she hit upon the idea of bringing the two aspects of realty and finance together under one roof. “When I founded my business, we were a financial company that dealt with residential loans, but it wasn’t long before I added a real estate division,” she explains. “The fact that I was able to handle both sides of the coin for real estate clients was a pretty unique thing at the time.”

Today, as owner of Optimum Realty & Financial Services, Jane says her dual enterprise continues to benefit sellers and buyers alike. “In addition to the convenience of one-stop shopping, handling both aspects allows me to have full control of every transaction. If there’s ever a problem with a loan, I don’t have to hunt down the lender—I know exactly what’s going on and what needs to happen next.”

Jane began her career as a math teacher, but her ultimate goal was always to go into business for herself—an ambition inspired by her father’s example. After obtaining her MBA in Finance, she occupied consecutive positions as an international banking representative and a corporate manager before founding Optimum Realty & Financial Services in 1991. Thirteen years later, Jane says her favorite part of running her business continues to be meeting and working with clients. “You can’t be successful if you don’t develop relationships with people, and that’s definitely something I enjoy. The fact that there are so many different types of people here in San Francisco makes it even more enjoyable.”

Originally born in Staunton, Virginia, Jane lived in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Indiana before finally settling in San Francisco, where she’s lived for 38 years with her husband, the Reverend Amos Brown. In addition to its recreational variety, Jane says she appreciates the city’s cultural diversity. “I feel that cultural integration and acceptance are the only things that will bring about peace in the world, and San Francisco is one of the few places where you can truly get to know people of many different cultures.”

Outside of work, Jane’s favorite pastimes are traveling and conducting family genealogy research—both of which have actually coincided. “In my research, I’ve been able to trace my heritage back to Africa, and I actually had the opportunity to visit the land of my ancestors,” she explains. In addition, Jane says she has developed an increased interest in health and wellness, having experienced firsthand the benefits of a recent change in diet. “I became a vegan about two years ago, and I’ve since done a lot of research on natural health remedies. So many of our nation’s health issues have to do with the food we eat, so I find it very fascinating to learn about and experience the impact of dietary alternatives.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Jane says she’d spend more time researching her genealogy and visiting the land of her heritage. “I’d take my grandchildren to Africa so they could see where their ancestors came from. I’m just waiting for them to get a little bit older so they can truly appreciate the trip.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Music—I used to study voice and sing.

Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
A: Fuji apples. They’re always sweet, and you can prepare them in so many different ways.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: The first trip I took to Africa. It was truly a gift to have the opportunity to visit and experience the land of my ancestors.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Old coins.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Either Christmas or Thanksgiving because I get to see my family, and we have so much fun when we get together.

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Preparing Your Home for Sale with Cosmetic Upgrades

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SAN FRANCISCO — Before listing your home for sale, it’s always a good idea to make cosmetic upgrades that will enhance its appeal. After determining how much you’re willing to invest in this process, go through your home and decide where… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Renovations to Help Your Home Sell

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you're planning on selling your home, you'll want to consider some cosmetic changes to help it stand out to potential buyers.… Read more

Jeffrey Marples is owner of Square Foot SF, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be contacted at (415) 689-6018 or by email.

Jeffrey Marples

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jeffrey Marples: Pushing for Excellence

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO – While many people settle for minimal professional achievements, there are some who feel the need to be masters of their own destiny, whose desire for occupational independence leads them toward unprecedented levels of excellence. For Jeffrey Marples, this process began with a simple desire to switch professions. “I had been working for a commercial bank for some time when I reached a point of dissatisfaction,” he says. “I didn’t feel the environment was conducive to my personality, and I also wanted to have more control in my life and my work. After reading books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I became very motivated to make a change.” Taking an initial step toward his sought-after goal, Jeffrey left the commercial banking scene in favor of a career in real estate.

Jeffrey’s professional move coincided with a physical one. Having spent the previous year working for a private equity firm in Taipei, Taiwan, he and his wife, Jennifer, relocated to the Bay Area in 2000, where he took a position with Prudential Real Estate. Within a few years, however, Jeffrey again began to feel that something better awaited him. “I enjoyed the work I was doing, but I still had a desire for more control over my professional direction,” he says. “Also, with a growing family, I wanted to have a more stable financial foundation.”

With that in mind, Jeffrey struck out and established his own real estate firm in 2008. Going independent wasn’t easy, particularly in the wake of the housing market crash which occurred that same year. “It was a complete struggle,” he recalls. “I was working day and night to keep things afloat.” In the end, Jeffrey’s hard work and determination paid off—today, as owner of Square Foot SF, he continues to perform at the top of his industry.

Working in San Francisco, Jeffrey says the uniqueness of the city and its people keeps his job interesting. “This city has an incredible wealth of opportunity for someone in my line of work. Not only is there a rich diversity of architecture, I also get to meet all kinds of great people, which is probably my favorite part of the job.” When he isn’t busy meeting with clients, he’s usually at his other job: being a father to his son Rhys and twin daughters Caroline and Gaby. “I’m a family man first and foremost, so if I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my wife and kids. I also love working on classic cars. In fact, I just renovated my dad’s old Porsche 356 and got it running again.”

Looking back on his life and career, Jeffrey says his motivational mantra has been a simple one: Try harder. “Accept your responsibilities, push for excellence and do the best you can. You can’t expect to be perfect, but if you make a little progress each day and keep on track, you’ll be successful.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What country would you most like to visit?
A: I’ll always put Italy on that list. I traveled there when my son was one year old and absolutely loved it. It’s a fabulous country—I could go there over and over.

Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants. Also, since I went to University of Colorado Boulder, I have to support the Buffaloes.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: I’ve always been partial to Jackson Fillmore Trattoria in San Francisco.

Q: What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
A: “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!”

Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: Lewis Black

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How to Sell Your Home

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SAN FRANCISCO — When it comes to selling your home, effective marketing and strategic pricing can make all the difference. By engaging in a comprehensive marketing campaign within the first two weeks, you should be able to sell your house… Read more

House Shopping for the Holidays

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A commonly overlooked opportunity for home buyers is to look at sale properties during the holidays. Most people are either busy or out of town during holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, which means there… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Real Estate Strategies

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning to sell your home, it’s important to map out your marketing strategy. Today we’re in San Francisco with… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

commercial properties
high-end homes
vacation homes
luxury homes
A-frame homes
green homes
Craftsman homes
Victorian homes
condominiums
rental properties
modular homes
split-level homes
chalet-style homes
beach homes

mobile homes / manufactured homes for sale
foreclosed homes for sale
bank-owned homes sales
investment properties
rent-to-own homes
home listings
vacation home sales
townhouse sales
condominium sales
apartment sales
new homes for sale
commercial property sales
undeveloped property sales / land for sale
luxury homes for sale

Barbary Coast
Bayview District
Bernal Heights
the Castro
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Excelsior
Financial District
Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
the Haight
Haight-Ashbury
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Japantown
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Presidio
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Sunset District
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
the Presidio
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition

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94102
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94109
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Know What You Want
Questions to Think About Prior to Hiring a Real Estate Sales Broker in San Francisco

Many factors should be considered before selecting a real estate sales broker in San Francisco 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 broker.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  • What personal and professional characteristics would I like my Alameda commercial contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)
  • What is my budget?
  • What is the time frame that is most optimal for me to purchase or sell my real estate property?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask San Francisco Real Estate Sales Brokers in Person

The next step in the process of hiring a real estate sales broker in San Francisco is to interview them. Consider asking the following questions.

  • Are you a member of NAR or other reputable real estate organizations?
  • Can you perform property auctions or exchanges?
  • Can you perform appraisals in San Francisco?
  • Do you insist on a buyer agency agreement?
  • Can I get references for your last five deals?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • How many other sellers are you representing now? (Keep in mind that the busiest real estate sales brokers are often the most efficient.)
  • Do you perform credit screening on either buyers or sellers?
  • What sets you apart from other real estate sales brokers?
  • Considering the current market, at what price do you think my home can sell?
  • Can you work with lenders to help me locate a decent loan when purchasing a new home in San Francisco?
  • Can you act as the buyer and seller (dual agent)?
  • Can you give me a comparative market analysis of recent home that are on the market as well as recent sales in the area?
  • What if I am unhappy with your service? Do you offer a guarantee?
  • Can you assist me in placing an offer on a new home in San Francisco?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of a San Francisco Real Estate Sales Broker

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Excelsior, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, North Beach, and Bayview District, 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 San Francisco 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 find a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker within reach, 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 broker. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the real estate sales broker 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 brokers 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. Do you feel that the real estate broker was pushy when it came to selling or buying?

    • If you need a real estate sales broker in the future, will you consider hiring this real estate broker?
    • Was the real estate broker knowledgeable about the community, town, and market you were interested in?
    • Did you feel that the real estate sales broker was working with your best interest in mind? Or did you feel like the real estate broker was influenced by other motivations or brokers?
    • Would you recommend this real estate sales broker to your family and friends?
    • Did the real estate broker help you devise a selling/buying plan and help you stick with it?
    • If you sold real estate with this real estate broker, did they do a good job of showcasing and showing your property both in person and on the listing sheet?
    • Was this real estate broker respectful of your time and property? Were there any issues of theft or damage during showings?
    • Was the real estate broker helpful in guiding you during the offer process?
    • Was the real estate broker helpful in guiding you during negotiations?
    • Was the deal was complete, were you satisfied with the real estate broker?
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  • Review Your Options
    Hiring the Best Real Estate Sales Broker in San Francisco

    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 broker is important to you and your family. So before making the final decision on the best real estate sales broker in San Francisco, you may want to consider the following questions:

    1. Does my San Francisco real estate broker have flexible commission rates?
    2. Is my SF real estate sales broker well-established in the community?
    3. Is my real estate sales broker of choice applying pressure or sales tactics in order to get me to sign a contract before I am ready?
    4. Does my real estate broker have good references that I have checked?
    5. Does my real estate broker have a good record for selling real estate property in a timely fashion by using successful marketing strategies?
    6. Do I trust my real estate broker of choice?
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  • How To Work With
    Considering a Buyer's Broker Agreement

    If you are purchasing real estate, your real estate sales broker my ask you to sign a buyer’s agent agreement. This agreement protects the real estate broker if you, the client, choose to switch to a different real estate broker at the moment of signing a contract for real estate property for the purpose of saving money.

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

    • 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 broker 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 broker’s performance.
    • Geographic area. Be sure the real estate broker is experienced in your area. If it is possible that you will venture outside of the comfort zone of the real estate broker, make a provision in the contract that the real estate broker will refer you to another broker and collect a referral fee. Or that, in this type of case, the contract will be void.
    • Term. You can always renew later, so set a reasonable time period for working with the real estate broker. Keep in mind that if you purchase a property that the real estate broker showed you a few months after the contract has expired, the broker is still entitled to a commission.
    • FSBOs. If you don’t want to pay a commission on For Sale By Owner properties in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Sunset District, Richmond District, Mission District, Tenderloin, and Bernal Heights , make sure to put that in the contract. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate broker 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 broker and the buyer. These duties should include:

    Jobs of the Carefully Selected Broker:

    • Unless requested to do so in writing, the real estate broker is not obligated to show properties that are not available in the Multiple Listing Service.
    • Assists with obtaining financing
    • Arrange for properties to be inspected
    • Negotiate contracts
    • Best effort to identify properties that meet the needs of the buyer
    • Discloses any information that would affect the buyer’s decision to purchase

    Jobs for You as the Purchaser:

    • Cooperates with the broker in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement
    • Be available to view potential properties
    • Pays compensation
    • Work exclusively with the broker to find real estate property while the agreement is valid
    • Provide the broker with adequate financial information to research appropriate properties

    A Real Estate Listing Contract
    A listing contract is the contract between a San Francisco real estate broker and a seller of real estate property that gives the broker the right to offer the property for sale. The listing contract must include the following:

    • A beginning date and a termination date for real estate broker services
    • The list price which the property will be offered for sale
    • The amount of compensation offered to the real estate broker. 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 broker to cooperate with other brokers as sub-brokers and also details the compensation that will be offered to those brokers in the event they secure a buyer.
    • Authorizes the real estate broker 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 San Francisco Real Estate Sales Broker Customer

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

    • When your real estate sales broker contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the real estate project on schedule.
    • Before you hire a real estate sales broker in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the real estate sales broker your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local real estate sales brokers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Be clear and upfront with the real estate sales broker from San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Excelsior, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, North Beach, and Bayview District. Let them know what you want from your real estate sales broker, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Ask your real estate sales broker if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your real estate sales broker 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 broker can reach you for any necessary updates or questions.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good client? Real estate sales brokers in San Francisco 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
Signing the Written Real Estate Contract

In order for your real estate purchase or sell to be official, 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 Brokers

Real estate sales brokers in San Francisco provide assistance for all types of real estate properties. Following is a list of the most popular types of properties.

Real estate sales brokers in San Francisco provide assistance for all types of real estate properties. Following is a list of the most popular types of properties.

Commercial properties in San Francisco
This is land or buildings that are used for the purpose of generating a profit. Commercial property includes medical centers, office buildings, industrial property, retail stores, shopping centers, warehouses, farm land, multifamily housing buildings, etc.

San Francisco beach homes
A beach home is a home designed for the beach. Typically beach homes are a form of a vacation home rather than a permanent residence.

A-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.

Modular homes
These are constructed of pre-made parts called modules that are transported from the factory to the building site.

Split-level homes
This is a style of house in which the floor levels are staggered. The main level of the house is halfway between the lower and upper floors. Usually the main level contains the normal living areas such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Two short sets of stairs connect the main level to the upper and lower levels. The upper level usually contains bedrooms and bathrooms while the lower level is the basement area and often has additional living areas that can include office space, a hobby area, a family room, laundry facilities, etc.

Green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.

Victorian homes in San Francisco
Victorian homes are usually two story homes with steep roof pitches, turrets, and dormers. Typically a Victorian home has a large porch as well.

Condominiums
San Francisco condos are large property complexes that re divided into individual units. Each unit is owned by an individual who has a form of property ownership that includes a fractional interest in the common areas of complex.

Chalet-style homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

Rental properties in San Francisco
Rental properties are those that include lands, buildings, units, or rooms that are available for or being rented.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Real Estate Sales Brokers

Real estate sales brokers in San Francisco provide assistance for all types of real estate properties. Following is a list of the most popular types of properties.

Commercial properties in San Francisco
This is land or buildings that are used for the purpose of generating a profit. Commercial property includes medical centers, office buildings, industrial property, retail stores, shopping centers, warehouses, farm land, multifamily housing buildings, etc.

San Francisco beach homes
A beach home is a home designed for the beach. Typically beach homes are a form of a vacation home rather than a permanent residence.

A-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.

Modular homes
These are constructed of pre-made parts called modules that are transported from the factory to the building site.

Split-level homes
This is a style of house in which the floor levels are staggered. The main level of the house is halfway between the lower and upper floors. Usually the main level contains the normal living areas such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Two short sets of stairs connect the main level to the upper and lower levels. The upper level usually contains bedrooms and bathrooms while the lower level is the basement area and often has additional living areas that can include office space, a hobby area, a family room, laundry facilities, etc.

Green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.

Victorian homes in San Francisco
Victorian homes are usually two story homes with steep roof pitches, turrets, and dormers. Typically a Victorian home has a large porch as well.

Condominiums
San Francisco condos are large property complexes that re divided into individual units. Each unit is owned by an individual who has a form of property ownership that includes a fractional interest in the common areas of complex.

Chalet-style homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

Rental properties in San Francisco
Rental properties are those that include lands, buildings, units, or rooms that are available for or being rented.

Read moreRead less
Glossary Of Terms
FAQ for Local Real Estate Brokerages

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker?

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a real estate sales broker 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 brokers 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 broker.

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.

Q: Does my house need to be in move-in condition before I sell it?
A: Usually, buyers are searching for homes that are in move-in condition. If you know that you are going to sell your house, put yourself in a buyer’s position. What would make your home look more appealing? Consider repainting the exterior and interior with neutral colors. Consider refinishing your floors or remodeling the kitchen. All of these things add value to your home and make it sell more quickly.

Q: Can a real estate broker help me stage my home?

A: Most real estate brokers will help you with this. Some brokers work with companies that specialize in staging homes so they get noticed by buyers. Homeowners aren’t always aware of the importance of staging their houses—people have an emotional response to your home when it shows beautifully, so it’s crucial to make the first impact with a potential buyer as positive as possible.

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: You most likely don’t have the knowledge needed to represent yourself in a real estate transaction. 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: 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: 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: How long will it take to sell my home?
A: The selling process depends on the property, so giving an accurate estimate is difficult. First, a real estate broker has to decide what type of buyer would be interested in your property. Then the percentage of buyers that would have an interest is determined. A quality real estate broker will do their best to sell your home as quickly as possible. In today’s market, the median number of days for a single family home to close is 41. That means an equal number of homes have closed after more than 41 days as less than 41 days.

Q: Do I have to move out of my home when I put it on the market?
A: Not necessarily. Staging is easier when you’re not residing in the home, but if that’s not possible, a real estate broker will work with you to make the property as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Q: Do I have to disclose problems with my home before I sell it?
A: If your home has a serious defect, it’s in your best interest to disclose it.  Otherwise, the buyer might come back, acknowledge you knew about the problem and follow through with legal action.

Q: How do I determine the value of the property I’m selling?
A: Whenever the value of a property is determined, the first thing a real estate broker will do is pull a ‘property profile,’ which reveals important information about when the property was built, its square footage, etc. Then the real estate broker will look for comparable sales in the same neighborhood sold within the last six months that are no more than 10 years older or younger than your property, and where the size of the square footage is no more than 25 percent larger or smaller than your property. Finally, the real estate broker will determine the value by taking all the above parameters into account, as well as the condition of the comparable sales compared to your property.

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 do I decide where to start looking for a new home?
A: A real estate broker will get a feel for your preferences. This is done by considering where you currently live, whether you like the neighborhood, and naming other neighborhoods that you’d like as well. Then they will consider your current financial situation and recommend the best locations.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions
Real Estate Broker Associations and 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/)…

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 Brokers (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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