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of us lived out of state—both of which complicated the emotional process of finding a realtor quickly and preparing the outdated home to compete in El Cerrito’s competitive market.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