Battling The Bay Area Competition
Most people look to investing as a way to preserve and grow their assets. Heather and her husband were no exception. They knew they wanted to invest in something, but weren’t sure what. They talked it over with their family and initially toyed around with the idea of buying a rental property. But the duo had lived in San Francisco for about eight years, and with Heather’s husband working from home, they were ready for more space.
“We had been talking about living abroad, and that’s why we were thinking of buying a rental. But when we decided we couldn’t live overseas, the next plan was to buy a home. We were prepared financially and ready for the next step.”
Heather and her husband started their house hunting journey back in May, looking at homes and different real estate websites online when they had a chance.
“We found that Trulia had the best interface and was the easiest to use. We really enjoyed the user experience.”
After about a month of casually looking, they found a property on Trulia that didn’t have any pictures, but the details of the house interested them. Heather’s husband contacted the agent who responded to his inquiry within minutes.
“Our agent was really tech savvy, and we were impressed with his eagerness to help. He seemed to know a lot about the neighborhoods we were looking at and provided great context. We hit the ground running and saw about 8-10 places at a time.”
Along the way, the couple felt the pressure of the intense Bay Area real estate market, and at times, would get competitive as they looked at homes.
“There’s this competition where – even if you aren’t initially interested in a house – you see someone else looking at it, and you think ‘What are you doing here? I was here first!’ There’s pressure to move really quickly. You see a house over the weekend, then the offer is due the next day, and you have this short period of time to make the biggest decision of your life. That was stressful.”
The two saw more than 70 houses during their journey, and after their first offer wasn’t accepted, they knew they had to change things up in order to be contenders.
“When our first offer wasn’t accepted, we thought this wasn’t going to work out. We didn’t know how we were going to compete with other buyers who had all cash offers and were bidding above the asking price. Then our agent refined our strategy, and we looked at houses that were on the market for a while.”
In addition to finding places that were on the market longer, their agent Brian Pugh narrowed the search to focus on certain neighborhoods just south of San Francisco in Redwood City and San Mateo. Brian understood what the couple wanted, so he helped guide them in the right direction.
After putting in three offers and getting outbid on the first two, Heather and her husband found the perfect home. It had been on the market for a while, and the neighborhood was just what they’d envisioned.
“The neighborhood was the biggest draw for us: a cute area of Redwood City with tree-lined streets. During the buying process, we got to meet with some of the neighbors and see kids playing around. We really loved the backyard as well. It’s a huge piece of property. It felt like our home and what we’ve been looking for.”
Their offer was accepted, and they recently moved in. They credit all their success to their agent.
“I don’t think we would’ve found something this fast if our agent wasn’t there helping us along the way. From the time we really started looking, it only took about three months to find our house. The agent we found on Trulia really helped expedite the home shopping process. One of the great things about him is that he’s continuing to work with us and help us with the long-term value of the property now that we own the house.”
Share your story with us! Send us an email at email@example.com,and we’ll feature your story, inspiring other house hunters looking for their dream home.0 comments
Mobile phones are crucial to our lives – and to the role real estate plays in our lives, too. When searching for their dream home, buyers rely on Trulia mobile apps for instant notifications and saved search results. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to strengthen our mobile app experience. Last year, we implemented Google maps on the Trulia Android app – allowing consumers to see 3D images of properties along with a crime map overlays and school attendance zone boundaries. Today, we’re thrilled to announce we’ve worked with Google again to make the search process even more seamless for home buyers and sellers.
Starting in mid-November, when house hunters use Google to find a home on their mobile web browser, they’ll be given the option to open the Trulia Android app directly from the Google search page. Once they click on the ‘Open in App’ button the app will immediately launch and take them directly to the content they need.
Stay tuned, and watch for this new feature in the next couple of weeks. And, as always please email us with any questions or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org comments
Here at Trulia, we love hearing what our users like most about our product. Some love our school boundary maps, others love our mobile apps – but for Elena, it was all about our big, beautiful pictures.
“I loved how thorough Trulia’s listings were – the pictures were captivating and represented the homes we looked at accurately. We were able to take control of the search and purchase of our home, with the help of Trulia.”
Like most, Elena and her husband found the house hunting process to be headache inducing. “My husband wanted to make things easier, so he went on Trulia.”
The couple contacted a real estate agent and sent him Trulia listings that caught their eye.
“We drove through the neighborhood where we wanted to live after looking on Trulia to get all the details of the homes and the area. The maps on Trulia Local were super helpful. I loved how detailed the site is and how much information was given about properties. Even our realtor loved that we used Trulia.”
After only a month of looking at houses, the couple found their dream home.
“The pictures on Trulia showed exactly what I wanted in the house. They were amazing. Just by looking at the photos, I could tell that the house was move-in ready. I didn’t even need to see it in person after seeing it on Trulia, but my husband made me. When we saw the house in person, it was exactly how Trulia described it.”
And because of her research on Trulia, there were no surprises, which made the bidding process easy.
“We knew the price because of Trulia, and then we decided from there what we were going to offer. It was all so easy.”
The best part for Elena is that not only did she find a home she loves, but everyone that comes to her house loves it too.
“My friends and family are so impressed that we found our home on Trulia. Our family loves this house. We can’t believe how easy it was to find our dream home on Trulia.”
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To say that Aaron is an avid Trulia user would be an understatement.
“I love to look at Trulia on a daily basis to see what the market is like. I’ve also used the site for three separate moves. Trulia has taken all the best parts of real estate technology and put it in one great package.”
Aaron found out about Trulia while living in Brooklyn in 2010, and he was immediately hooked.
“I was looking to either rent out my apartment or sell it. When I found Trulia, I instantly fell in love with it because it was such a superior experience compared to Craigslist, which is what I’d been using. I liked having everything in one spot. It’s great to see the big, bright pictures, street views, and the map, where I could find out about other stuff in the area. It puts all the key information right there.”
In 2010, the real estate market was in flux, so Aaron decided to list his Park Slope apartment in Brooklyn on Trulia for sale and for rent, just to see what nibbles he would get. Within a matter of weeks, a couple contacted him, and they were interested in renting the place. Meanwhile, Aaron was looking on Trulia for a place to live in North New Jersey.
“During that search, I really liked how I was able to look at properties by specific criteria and preference type. That’s really important, especially in New York, because there are co-ops and competitive factors.”
Aaron easily found a place in North New Jersey through Trulia, and he stayed there for a couple of months before realizing it was time to move again.
“My girlfriend and I decided that we needed a bigger apartment, so we turned to Trulia again. We knew our desired location – we wanted to move to Monroe Township, New Jersey, because of her job – so during this search, I focused on the commute map. I loved to see exactly what our commutes were going to be like, and the maps made it easy to identify if a place we liked was in the middle of nowhere.”
Aaron wanted to find a broker and agent to work with to learn more about the houses he had his eye on during this search, so he sent requests to various professionals through Trulia.
“I would get feedback from them, and as a result, I found a broker that understood what I wanted and was able to make it happen. Trulia has done everything I needed it to, and more.”
Aaron and his broker ended up being a great team.
“We saw a couple of places in Monroe with our broker, and then my broker and I saw the places my girlfriend and I had found on Trulia that we knew we wanted to see as well. That research saved a lot of work, and when we found the perfect place, I just knew. It was a property my girlfriend hadn’t even seen, but when I showed her the pictures on Trulia, she fell in love.”
After going through the house hunting experience more than once, Aaron is impressed with how far the real estate industry has come.
“It used to be you just get one picture of the house and you have to physically go and see that it looks like crap. Thanks to Trulia, it’s all right there in front of you. It saves so much time. Trulia is intuitive, and it gets the job done”
We want to hear from you! Email us at MyTruliaSuccess@trulia.com to share your story!0 comments
This was the last week of my Trulia Internship with the Altman Brothers. During the past seven days, I had the opportunity to put a lot of what I’ve learned throughout my month-long internship to the test. Matt and Josh gave me a challenge: work on growing my own high-end luxury business, which is quite an endeavor. If this internship was a class, this last week has felt a bit like a final exam…time to execute!
The first hurdle to establishing a successful business is building clientele, so I spent a lot time during the week developing my lead generation plan. I’ve set up my first million-dollar property showing, and I secured a meeting with an investor who is interested in seeing a project site, which is so exciting. Thankfully though, Matt and Josh haven’t left me to my own devices quite yet; they’ve been really helpful when I have questions or need some clarity or direction.
As I reflect back on my month with the Altmans, and look toward the future, I think what’s had the greatest impact on me was learning how to create a unique personal brand. Establishing my own hallmark and identifying how I can provide a different kind of value in an oversaturated space will be pivotal in launching my real estate career. Matt and Josh have done such a fantastic job positioning themselves as experts, and I can only hope that some of their know-how has rubbed off on me and I can replicate their success. Wish me luck!0 comments
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals – which focuses on the advancement of sustainable Hispanic home ownership – with the Altman brothers. While we were there, I got to watch Josh present a keynote speech to a sold out audience.
Check out a behind-the-scenes shot of Matt, Josh, and I in a limo on our way to the conference:
1. Love what you do, because having true passion and excitement for real estate makes a huge difference in your interactions with buyers, sellers, and other players in the industry.
2. Be available 24/7, and deliver on the promise to provide the top-notch service your clients deserve. This includes simple things like always having a listing agreement, purchase agreement, etc. ready to go at all times.
3. Demonstrate that you’re an expert by having a top ten list of the best properties at various prices points, such as the best homes at $300K, $400K, $500K, $600K up to a million, and so on.
Go out and see every house you can on the market; you must know the entire inventory in your location inside and out. Combine this knowledge with a great team of mortgage and loan officers and escrow, title, insurance companies that are available at all times to really maximize efficiency and results for your clients.
4. Develop and expand your brand; it will pay off in your long-term relationships. Josh explained that a brand is really a shortcut to establishing trust in a relationship, which is critical when meeting with potential clients.
This step involves honing your website, marketing, and network of contacts – which requires a lot of time, effort, and money – but the return on your investment is incredible when it’s done well.
5. Have a Mentor. I’m lucky enough to be learning from the crème de la crème right now, but another great opportunity to learn from a mentor would be to take on co-listors with experience in the luxury market when you have the opportunity to close a mega-dollar listing. By going through the process with a seasoned pro, you can learn so much more than managing it alone.
This is just a taste of what I learned from Josh’s lecture. I am excited to start applying what I’ve learned in my career and in my future relationships.
Finding the right real estate agent can be a difficult process. People often rely on word of mouth from friends and family – one strategy that will always remain – but sometimes, the agent that worked for someone else isn’t the best option for you. Trulia solved that problem with the launch of its Find an Agent directory this summer. For Jena and her husband Beau, this tool proved to be invaluable.
Their story starts in San Francisco. The couple started looking for their first house in 2009 with an agent that came recommended by a friend.
“We looked for a home on Trulia for almost an entire year in 2009, and at the end of October, we found one we really liked and made an offer that was actually accepted. But after the inspection, we had to walk away. There was over $100,000 of repairs that needed to be done.”
With the holidays right around the corner, the couple took a break from their home search and decided to start fresh in the New Year. But 2010 didn’t bring any luck.
“Between 2009 and 2013, we used three different agents and made twelve offers.”
Discouraged, they decided to make a big move – one that had been in the back of their minds for years.
“After searching for so long, our odds in the Bay Area weren’t looking good, so we decided to relocate to southern California to be near family and try another housing market. The possibility of a big move had come up throughout the years, and this just felt like the right time.”
At the beginning of 2013, they packed up and made the move to Los Angeles, excited, yet nervous about what was in store. Jena knew they would approach this housing market differently.
“We were in a new, unfamiliar city with a housing market that was totally different from San Francisco where we’d lived so long. I felt it was really important to find an agent that was an expert in the LA market. We needed someone that could not only help us find a house, but also find a neighborhood that would be perfect for us.”
Because the duo had exhausted the traditional methods of finding realtors, they tried something new and turned to Trulia’s Find an Agent feature.
“This time we needed an agent with an extra edge because we needed more than just help buying a property – we needed guidance. We didn’t even know which part of the city was right for us. We had been looking at homes on Trulia all along, so it seemed natural to try Trulia’s Find an Agent tool to find an expert as well.”
Jena started browsing through LA-based agents and spotted Henry Plascencia’s profile. She was immediately impressed.
“He had a really robust profile with a lot of information in it. I was drawn to him because he had his skills and successes front and center, and it showed he had a deep knowledge of the area – and credentials! We’d tried to buy a place for so long unsuccessfully, so it was important to us to pick someone that knew the area and also had a proven track record of success.”
And Henry did not disappoint. Jena contacted him and he called her back in the same day.
“I told him everything: my concerns about being a first time home buyer coupled with buying a home in an unfamiliar town. I got a good vibe from him right away.”
A few days later they headed to Henry’s office and jumped in his car, and he drove them around to a variety of neighborhoods so they could get a feel for the area.
“He basically gave us a tour of the town. We stopped to see some houses and get a sense of the different neighborhoods and what we could afford. He helped us get comfortable and really just walked us through the process every step of the way. What we really loved most about Henry was that, in addition to being really knowledgeable, he also had our individual interests in mind. He was honest and up front during our home search and would always say ‘I want you guys to be happy with your purchase now, but I also want you to be happy ten years from now, because I want to work with you again.’”
With Henry’s stellar help, Jena and Beau made four offers, and the last one stuck – they had an offer accepted!
“He really fought for us tooth and nail to get this place.”
The couple closed on their dream home and got the keys the first of August. And even after closing, Henry is still there to help. He has referred the two to a variety of vendors – from painters to landscapers – and is taking them out to dinner next week to celebrate their success.
“He went above and beyond what he needed to do. Henry’s by far the best agent we’ve had.”
We couldn’t be happier for Jena as she used to be one of our co-workers and is now contracting for us.
We’d love to hear how you found your home – or agent – using Trulia. Email us at MyTruliaSuccess@trulia.com to share your story!0 comments
My second week interning with the Altman brothers has been very exciting. I’ve loved learning more about high-end Los Angeles real estate from the city’s top experts, but I think one of the biggest highlights of the week was getting to watch the taping of a few segments for the TV show Extra.
The opportunity for Josh to film actually came about the very morning the segment was taped, and the whole thing was completely unscripted. It was really fun to watch Josh promote one of his listings in front of the camera: he knew exactly which aspects of the home to highlight and how to leverage the opportunity to increase his personal brand, all while selling a spectacular home.
Watch Josh chat with Extra’s Terri Seymour about the show’s upcoming season!
Later in the week, I accompanied Matt to the Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills neighborhoods for a few showings. The properties we saw were spacious and perched high with plenty privacy, and of course, views.
In addition to seeing some amazing homes, Matt taught me a lot about how specific prices reflect different aspects of a property. I’ve always been curious to see what exactly determines real estate listing prices. What makes a home worth $25M versus $20M? Well, I learned it’s not just about square footage: it’s also about location – and the privacy that comes with it, the home’s style, and of course the details of the inspection and property reports.
I can’t wait to see what week three has in store!0 comments
Here at Trulia, we’re passionate about innovation, and mobile ingenuity is our lifeblood. Our goal? To stay on the forefront of cutting-edge technology, so users can find their dream home more easily and efficiently. We recently launched many new features across our mobile platforms, and today, we’re excited to announce one more: the new Samsung Air View feature on our Android app, designed exclusively for the latest Samsung phones.
Trulia’s Samsung users can experience the wonder of Samsung Air View by hovering their finger – or S Pen – over a listing on the map to see property details like price, street address, and the listing brokerage information. Samsung Air View gives home buyers, sellers, and renters the opportunity to scan through the home stats, instead of having to tap on each property, making the home-shopping process more streamlined and fun. It’s truly the latest and greatest thing in mobile real estate.
Phones compatible with this new feature include: The GALAXY Note I, Note II, Note 8.0 and Note 10.1 as well as the GALAXY S4. Samsung users who don’t have the Trulia app yet will be able to easily download it today in Google Play. And, keep an eye out on September 6 when Trulia’s app will be featured in S Suggest.
The fastest-growing segment of our audience at Trulia, mobile users comprise approximately 13 million monthly mobile visitors in Q2 – up 100 percent year-over-year – and the lion’s share of traffic during peak weekend periods. To keep up, we now offer 15 mobile apps across all major platforms, including dedicated apps for renters, mortgage seekers, and agents.
We’re so excited about this partnership with Samsung. If you’re a Samsung user, please download the app, and let us know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!0 comments
This past week, I had the privilege of starting my internship with the Altman brothers in their Los Angeles office. The gig will last through mid-September, and after just one week, I can already understand how this duo got to where they are today. I’m so excited to learn about acquiring new business and understanding the needs of prospective clients. Let’s go!
On day one, I showed up not really sure what to expect, but I was ready to learn from the pros and hit the ground running. And move quickly we did! Within fifteen minutes of starting the internship, I helped tour a nine-million-dollar listing. The magnificent views of the Hollywood Hills and Downtown made it worthy of the hefty price tag. The prospective buyers loved the home, so I’m eager to learn about the next steps in the offer process, as we hope to submit one in the next few days.
Take in the awesome view:
My first afternoon on the job actually involved not one, but two more showings: one property on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – with a buyers’ agent I recognized from the Bravo TV show Million Dollar Listing LA – and one set high in the Hollywood Hills.
At the second listing we visited, the power to the gates was out. We had to improvise, finding another entrance before locating the gate keys and opening it manually. I was really impressed with Matt’s ability to remain calm and polished, while thinking on his toes.
And the hurdles getting into the property were well worth it. Check out the putting green below!
Next week, I’ll share what I’ve learned about watching the Altmans handle seller objections – and hopefully we’ll close some deals. Stay tuned!
Want your own glimpse into homes of the rich and famous? Enter Trulia’s Luxury Open House Getaway for a chance to experience even more amazing, high-end listings when Trulia flies you and a friend to Los Angeles for a weekend of luxury!0 comments