Patty Holbert, Berkeley — 6/28/18

Grace has helped members of our family buy three homes and sell one over the past eleven years. Recently she advised my son as he searched for a home in Oakland and Berkeley. Grace assisted him in evaluating properties, accurately estimating the price that would be necessary to compete for a given property. Her suggestions were spot on in writing a winning bid, and she and her assistant Kim helped my son navigate escrow and meet all deadlines in a timely fashion. Since the sale, they have remained available to answer questions and recommend contractors to perform repairs. Grace is experienced, dedicated, friendly, and kind. Kim is also a professional, and they make a great team. In this competitive and rapidly unfolding market, they provide guidance and nuanced judgment that is invaluable.

— Patty Holbert, Berkeley

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2017 Top Producers Award

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Laura Mullen, El Cerrito – 11/28/17

My brother and I were unexpectedly confronted with having to sell our childhood home this summer soon after our mother passed away. We had time constraints for the sale, and one of us lived out of state—both of which complicated the emotional process of finding a realtor quickly and preparing the outdated home to compete in El Cerrito’s competitive market.

As we had no referrals from which to choose a realtor, we decided to interview three: two from El Cerrito and one from out of the area. The El Cerrito realtors were tops in their offices for home sales in our area; the realtor from out of the area was a referral by a family member. We were looking for competent, experienced people with valuable advice. Quickly, we realized staying local with our realtor was going to be critical to a swift, profitable sale. “Going local,” we could compare two assessments of our house from a local viewpoint, consider what upgrades they felt we needed, their projected time frame for completion of those upgrades, and listing date.

At once, we were impressed by Grace Bishop. She came to the interview prepared with current and historical data of El Cerrito home sales, testimonials, and she had researched our home thoroughly, demonstrating what we felt was the type of commitment we were going to need to keep the sale in check and on track. She was forthcoming with her feelings and impressions of the condition of the house on her first walk-through, and she was fully prepared to answer all of our questions, open to offering advice when asked. She displayed professionalism, confidence, humility and concern for our interests and goals. Between Grace and her assistant, Kim, we believed we had a “powerhouse pair” who would be wonderful to work with: two women who would protect our interests, satisfy our concerns, and honor our wishes and constraints on overall expenditures. Grace and Kim were wonderful to work with, in sync with each other, and both had senses of humor that helped keep our stress in check.

For upgrading the house, Grace recommended using a design/construction firm — a new idea to us and one not offered by other realtors with whom we spoke. Grace was able to provide us with a firm construction start date (surprisingly soon), a project completion date, and listing date. Despite some project “hiccups” that were out of anyone’s control, Grace always came through for us: the construction was completed on time, the design firm was professional and did a gorgeous job remodeling and staging the house, and we met our listing date deadline. As Grace had assured us, the design company did a beautiful job of preparing the house to compete with homes in the neighbor area. Whenever we needed advice about the remodeling budget, or advice on sales offers we received, Grace never veered from her caring, yet professional, demeanor. We accepted her advice on many critical decisions, and that advice was always well thought out and in keeping with our own values and constraints. We were relieved by her measured approach to our particular project, and we never felt uncomfortable or encouraged to do anything that would push us to exceed either our budget or our expectations. She maneuvered our project skillfully through a temporarily tepid market, suggesting price changes that kept our final sales price high, while stimulating potential buyers to take another look.

We can’t describe how fortunate we feel to have found Grace and Red Oak Realty. Grace is a realtor who is committed to her clients and to the best outcome possible for all involved. We will always recommend her highly to anyone looking for a realtor, whether they are buying or selling.
— Laura Mullen, El Cerrito

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Jessica and Luke Webster-White, Richmond – 11/6/17

11/6/17

Grace and Kim were so easy to work with. They were prompt and resourceful. They made our first home buying experience smoother than we ever thought possible.
— Jessica and Luke Webster-White, Richmond

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Ken Carroll & Carlos Zorrilla, Berkeley – 5/24/17

5/24/17
From start to finish, Grace set us up for success.

We came from San Francisco and had no knowledge of buying a house in Berkeley. Grace and Kim showed us neighborhoods and shared their vast knowledge of the community and the requirements of purchasing a home in Berkeley.

When Grace learned that we loved a particular home, she immediately contacted the seller’s agent and asked our questions. As we had additional questions, she would promptly follow-up with the sellers agent again. From Grace’s perspective, all of this was valuable, as it demonstrated to the seller our bona fide interest in and seriousness about the home from the beginning. It also ensured we had the information we needed prior to making an offer.

Grace and Kim were always two steps ahead regarding necessary documentation. In addition to sending
us everything we needed to sign, they comprehensively explained to us in plain English the purpose of all
of the documents. Their attention to detail was top notch and far exceeded agents we had worked with in the past.

Perhaps what impressed us most was how Grace called upon the professional contacts and relationships she has built over the years to our benefit. For example, prior to making an offer, we had questions about the earthquake and flood zone maps that were in the disclosures. Grace immediately connected us to a local earthquake engineer she has known for years. He helped us decipher the exact location of the earthquake fault and flood zones in relation to the house.

Grace suggested that we accompany our offer with a letter explaining our affinity for the house. Our offer amount was the same as another bid. But the seller chose us; our early engagement and letter to the seller gave us the edge.

Grace warned us at the beginning that we would likely need to make a few offers prior to getting a contract on a home. In actuality, when working with Grace, we were able to get the home of our dreams on our first offer. Perhaps this was luck. We, however, attribute our quick success to Grace’s stellar representation.
— Ken Carroll & Carlos Zorrilla, Berkeley

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Fred L., El Cerrito – 3/31/17

3/31/17
Grace and Kim helped sell my family’s house in El Cerrito hills in early spring 2017. This was truly a team effort with a very successful outcome. For example, the house was in need of significant renovation before it was put on the market, and Grace was instrumental in finding and managing expert contractors who transformed it into a spectacular home that sold quickly. Grace and Kim were professional throughout the process, everything went on schedule, even during record-setting rains, and the closing was the easiest ever. The team’s detailed knowledge of the neighborhood was key to the successful marketing of the home. I would highly recommend interviewing Grace and Kim if you are looking to buy or sell.
— Fred L., El Cerrito

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2016 Top Producers Award

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Junan Pang, Oakland – 12/4/16

12/4/16
So informative, so patient, and not pushy at all. We really felt that you had our best interests in mind. It was also great because Grace & Kim really knew the area, realtors and various vendors/contractors.
— Junan Pang, Oakland

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Shanna Pang, Oakland – 11/30/16

11/30/16
Our agents were extremely knowledgeable, professional, and I felt as if they really looked out for what was best for us throughout the entire experience. We never felt pressured to move forward with anything we weren’t excited about, or to offer more than we were comfortable with for a property. We would definitely work with Grace and Kim in the future!
— Shanna Pang, Oakland

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Sheryl R., El Cerrito – 10/16/16

10/16/16
We worked with Grace and Kim to sell our house. It had been about 20 years since we had sold our last house and we really needed the help. Grace and Kim let us know exactly what we needed to do in order to get the best price for our place. They worked with the workers who updated the place. Helped us get the best stager around. Since we had already moved out of the area they kept track of all of the work, inspectors and workers for us. We were able to do everything virtually which really helped us. All in all they made the whole process easy and fun.
— Sheryl R., El Cerrito

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