The Importance of Local Representation When Making an Offer

Touring new listings on broker open day, proactive buyers’ agents will collect a portfolio of properties that can be shown off market, or prior to appearing on MLS. This is an important leg up for their buyers, who will be able to spend more time at the property, carefully review the reports, and perhaps even book an inspector prior to submitting an offer.

A ‘clean’ offer from a client known to the listing agent as a serious buyer will be more likely to be chosen among multiple offers, or countered if their price is a little lower than another.

Buyers in today’s market are dealing with fewer multiple offer scenarios, but when it comes to securing the home of their dreams, it’s important to be viewed as an informed buyer with a local agent known to and respected by the listing agent.

A few of this week’s off market homes available to view.

High End Sonoma Neighborhood – Several acres. High-ceilings, 5-BR one-level with exquisite landscaping and pool in back. Separate studio cottage with bocce ball court. $5 million Contact me to view this gorgeous property any time prior to June 15.

Close to charming village of Glen Ellen, this knolltop home features high ceilings, view, privacy and country charm for $1,895,000. This is not my listing, but available to show on short notice.

Approximately 1 mile to Sonoma Plaza, this remodeled beauty’s great room opens to a covered patio with fans overlooking a lap pool and man cave in the distance. This is not my listing. Approx. $4 million

Carneros 54 Acres – Opportunity for Micro-Winery

41 acres are plantable in this prime Carneros area with vineyards farmed by iconic wineries. Just 10-15 minutes to both Sonoma Plaza and downtown Napa, this is a close-in and relatively fire-safe location! Create a micro-winery, cattle ranch, equestrian property or wine country compound.

In a premiere Napa Carneros AVA location, Twin Oaks Ranch enjoys the ideal combination of being easily accessible, yet private and quiet. On 54 acres of gently sloping land, the traditional home & pool are sited at the end of a long driveway and enjoy bucolic views. Nearby, an olive grove & 800 sq ft wine cave built in 2008. This property is surrounded by vineyards owned by iconic Napa Valley wineries and is not in the high fire zone. The property includes a 3,000 sq ft home with remodeled primary bath, historic 6,500 sq ft barn, wine cave and pond with water rights. Whether you are building your own Napa compound, or creating a micro-winery, cattle or equestrian ranch, the location can’t be beat. Stanly Ranch & Carneros Inn are minutes away. Just 10 minutes to restaurants and music venues of downtown Napa in one direction, and 20 minutes to historic Sonoma Plaza in the other. 41 acres are plantable accd to a viticulturalist, and water sources include a 9 acre-foot pond, 3 hand-dug wells, water district, & a 2500 gallon water storage tank. Hydrogeo report shows several promising well sites. 4 BR septic for main home and potential for an ADU, and/or pool house as well. Your view not only includes neighboring vineyards, but Mt Diablo and Mt. Tam can be seen in the distance.

View more listing information here.

Why Some Listings Sell with Multiples

Listing Agents Who Do All the Work Up Front
Position Their Sellers for Multiple Offers

Luxury properties should come with a well-presented informational packet and compelling ‘property story.’  There are many pieces that should be put into place, particularly on a country property, that will answer buyers’ questions up front and provide them with the confidence to submit an offer in the first week.  If two or more offers are presented, that can mean tens or hundreds of thousands more in my clients’ pocket.   My creative marketing, showings and open house plans generate the kind of activity and excitement that prompt buyers to put their best offer together.   When you are meeting with listing agents, remember that quality of service often provides better results than agents who have a portfolio of listings that have been sitting on the market.   As a member of the ‘Top Agent Network’ and in the top 10% of producers in the wine country, I have an excellent track record using my customized service approach.


SOLD!  After many tours, informed and decisive buyers knew this close-to-plaza home was ‘the one’ and acted fast.

SOLD!  After many tours, informed and decisive buyers knew this close-to-plaza home was ‘the one’ and acted fast.  Back-up too.  See it at

Spacious and beautiful single-level Wine Country retreat, located minutes to Sonoma Plaza, fine dining, shopping, and many wineries. Featuring 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths plus a separate Casita – a perfect office, art studio, or guest room. Huge Great Room w/ Chef’s kitchen & center island is wide open, making an excellent entertaining space. Kitchen has a 100-bottle wine fridge, high-end appliances & beautiful cabinetry. Primary bedroom suite has a roomy spa-like bath w/ jetted tub, separate shower & big walk-in closet. 2nd bedroom has an en-suite bath, and 3rd bedroom is currently an office/library. Plus elegant formal living & dining rooms, hardwood floors w/ stone inlays, open beam ceilings, laundry room & abundant storage. Lovely private outdoors offers gorgeous mature landscaping w/ citrus trees, Tuscan pavers, enclosed Pergola breezeway & more. Located on a good-sized corner lot w/ 2-car garage. Everything amounts to an easy & idyllic Sonoma lifestyle. A place to truly be enjoyed.

Opens are Back! Sunday June 13 1-4

Yes, this is a high-ceilinged, remodeled wine country home priced at under $1 million!

This beauty will be posted on MLS this week and is sure to appeal to both downsizers and families alike.

Bring your property tax base to Napa, and enjoy the good life.

For more information, and the property video, click here.

2nd Generation Sale!

My first sale to a St Pat’s Alum!  Congratulations to Kevin who scored a great deal on a 2-story townhome with view.   So happy we closed in time for him to move in and get set up before the holidays.

Client-Centered Representation – Not the Norm

A phone call came in from an agent in another area who had started a networking organization made up of one agent in each area who is known for what he called ‘client-centric representation.’   After a long conversation comparing notes on the market and discussing our approaches to real estate, I was invited to join the group.   It got me thinking about the differences between what some of us call ‘showboats’ and an agent who advocates for clients.  It’s amazing to me that agents, who may make the difference of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, are chosen without much research.  Here are a few thoughts.

On the listing side, when I am tasked to find an agent in another area for one of my clients, I look on line and make calls to ascertain the following data points:

  • Spending top dollar on the kind of photography that attracts on-line views and brings in a high number of in-person viewings
  • Realistic pricing advice that results in the best price and outcome for the sellers
  • If the listing is becoming stale, lingering on MLS for months, the agent is proactively freshening up the look of the listing on-line
  • Creative on-line ads (photo here is a video that played on the home page of SFGate Real Estate page), social media, and even print advertising that sets a high quality image
  • A reputation for responsiveness to agents booking viewing appointments, having disclosure packets that are complete enough to answer questions, rather than raise red flags
  • A low percentage of selling listings to their own buyers.   ‘Steering’ listings in order to double your own commission while making it difficult for other agents to show, unfortunately is something that really does take place.
  • Quantity of listings does not translate to quality of service.  ‘Top’ agents may be signing so many similar listings your beloved home is just a spoke in their wheel of not-so-fortunate listings

For buyers, here is what I consider a client-centric buyer’s agent:

  • Not too busy to preview listings that may be a good fit – even in the time of COVID
  • The ability to communicate pros and cons on new listings in terms of location, noise, traffic, schools, weather, fire danger, neighborhood style
  • Offering honest information on what investigations would normally be done given the property in question, i.e. well or septic, regulations that affect expansion or remodeling plans, vacation rental restrictions etc.
  • Has the time to put together a complete, well-crafted offer package that gives sellers and their agent confidence in a buyer’s familiarity with the market, interest in the home and ability to close.
  • Has a reputation as well-liked agent:   thorough, professional, organized, and not known for unnecessary drama.  Personality matters in getting your offer accepted!

Thinking of a Move to Wine Country?

Coming soon, this gated property at the end of a lane is magical.  A rare combination of privacy and view, yet close to shops and restaurants.  Listed at $1.5.  Contact Julie Leitzell for more information.  The videographer enjoyed some of the props @SchugWinery!

We look forward to working with Julie again; she is the ultimate professional and a true partner, in every sense.

When a text comes in from a young SF couple who were surprised to have landed their dream home with a water view in the middle of a pandemic and it says “You’re the best!”…. it makes a painful escrow worthwhile.

“We had been searching for homes on our own with no luck, just a lot of wasted time. Within a week of meeting Julie, she found multiple compelling listings for us; and, we placed an offer on a dream home that met all of our criteria (which we closed on 3 weeks later). In addition, Julie was an excellent steward of the closing process and was on top of every single detail, while also elegantly managing the more the strategic elements of the contract which involved difficult counter parties to manage. We look forward to working with Julie again; she is the ultimate professional and a true partner, in every sense.”

Aaron and Emily