Author: Dan Vogt

20 Feb 2017
498 El Camino Del Mar, Laguna Beach 92651

Selling Or Living In Your Home?

Presenting Your Home To Buyers

Reflecting back nearly 30 years ago when I first started selling real estate, I admit to not taking the time or effort to properly ready my real estate listings for client showings. I lived and learned and truly understand how important this process is. Today I see and experience homes on the market that are not adequately presented to potential buyers. After years of walking into homes with unmade beds, clothes laying on the floor, laundry piled on top of the washer, dishes in the sink, over flowing trash cans, toilet lids up (this is one of my personal pet peeves) unclean cat boxes and doggie land mines littering the back yard, it’s easy to see that this is not the best way to present a home for sale. Knowing this, I always arrive early to my showings to check the home’s current condition and enhance each room. Many agents think it is the responsibility of the seller to ready the home for showings, but this is not the case.
Selling homes is one of the most stressful processes in one’s lifetime and children can intensify it by 3 to 4 times. Selling a home is like selling a car. People turn to the “Kelly Blue Book” method of pricing used cars. If an owner takes very good care of an automobile, regular detailing, keeps low mileage, timely service visits, along with little or no body damage, that owner achieves the highest blue book value along with a very enthusiastic buyer and peaceful transaction. Homes are more complicated, but the presentation to the buyer is similar. To obtain top dollar, the home must be “show ready.”

I have the privilege of working with one of my most successful home designers Clark Collins, of Collins Design & Development whose homes sell quickly and for premiums due to their design aesthetics and impeccable presentation.

Here are some of Clark’s tips to keep in mind when you are selling your home.

1) Consider any showing like a first date. You typically have one shot to make good first impression! You’re going to be moving anyway, so prior to your first showing do some serious packing and purging. If possible, get a small storage unit where you can store boxes and other items that you won’t need in the near future. If a storage unit isn’t a possibility, store items in a friend’s garage. A home that is nicely edited and free of clutter will show beautifully to prospective home buyers.

2) Deep clean – especially kitchens and bathrooms. Use this as an opportunity to clean out cabinets, drawers and even the garage. If it’s too daunting to consider doing this yourself, then hire a professional company to do it for you.

3) Hire a handyman to fix the small stuff. Repair broken door, cabinet and window hardware, replace missing screens, fix minor plumbing and electrical problems, etc. These items are going to show up on the home inspection, so you might as well address them.

4) Put a fresh face on the outside of your home. Make sure all the exterior lighting is in working order, purchase new doormats, remove weeds from the garden, clean out rain gutters, give the lawn a fresh mow and consider planting some colorful flowers in the front yard.

5) If a complete paint job is too daunting, then consider hiring a painter for a few hours to do touch up on walls, trim, moldings and cabinets on the interior and exterior of your home. Lastly, consider bringing in fresh cut flowers, ferns or orchids. If you feel inclined, set the table. Remember, prospective buyers will decide in the first few minutes in your home whether it’s the one for them. Give it your best shot!

Written by:

Collins Design & Development

1999 So. Coast Highway, Suite 1 Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Work: (949) 494-5255 – Fax: (949) 494-1315 – Cell: (949) 554-5751



26 Aug 2016

What an Agent Looks for When Buying Their Own Home

No matter how much research you do, or how much advice you solicit, you probably feel you haven’t done enough before buying a home.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Real estate agents can feel the same way, even with years of experience under their belt. But that experience has also armed them with proven strategies and tactics that can come in handy for anyone seeking to buy for the first time – or even the fourth or fifth.

We asked  longtime Orange County-based agent Diane Cannon to share her best advice in three key areas, based on her personal homebuying experiences. Whether you’re buying or selling, you would do well to learn from their stories.

Who we asked:


Diane Cannon, a REALTOR®-Sales Associate in our Laguna Beach office. She has lived in the gated Jasmine Creek community in Corona del Mar for 15 years.


What we asked them:

What is the most important thing you look for when buying a home?

Diane: “I’m a big fan of single-level houses. But a lot depends on the home’s age range, when the kids are moved out of the house, and your age. I say look for something long-term that you can stay in. I love that concept of the longer you’re in it, the price of the overhead is reduced substantially in comparison to values going up over all the years you live in it.

“Noise also is a big deal for me. I don’t like to be in a noisy area. I lived oceanfront for 10 years in Corona del Mar, but when you’re in a public area, where a lot of people like to spend their weekends, it’s somewhat of an intrusion on your privacy.

“I like gated communities in Orange County because they provide both privacy and security. The older gated communities give you more space because they didn’t have the option to build on every square foot of property. I think given the influx of a larger population, gated communities are probably going to help with prices for sellers.”

What is the biggest obstacle you have faced before closing a purchase?


Diane: “A non-respectful seller–when I’m trying to sell a house and trying to get the seller to be more kind and understanding. I think whenever anybody buys a home, in any price range, but especially when somebody spends a few million dollars to buy a house, sellers should act appreciatively. Be of good will, don’t leave the house a mess. I put in my contract that the house is to be professionally cleaned at close of escrow.

“It’s about being very diligent and spending time as you’re coming to the close to check out the property so you’re not caught off guard, or have a buyer say they came to the house without the agent present and have them tell you what’s wrong with it.”

What do you look for when choosing a real estate agent?


Diane: “I have to feel the trust of that agent. I don’t want the used-car salesman routine. I want somebody I feel that I can trust and who also has a record of success. I can’t tell you how often people don’t even ask an agent how many sales they’ve had in the past couple of years. They don’t ask for any proof of that. They don’t ask if an agent has been fired from a broker. I think it’s important to find out their history. Ask how often they go out of town each month. Are you the person I’m going to be communicating with? Will you be showing my property? A lot of agents have assistants, so you need to know. I personally want to feel really comfortable and trust my agent.”

14 Jul 2016

What You Can Buy in Orange County in the $1,500,00’s

This sophisticated condominium embodies the sought-after coastal lifestyle that Southern California is known for. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, whitewater views, and the most elegant residential touches, this listing won’t last long on the market. To learn more about the additional amazing features this home has, like the one-of-a-kind glass enclosed sun room, callDiane Cannon or Michael Hinderberger right away!

1555 N Coast Hwy.  Laguna Beach, CA 

1555 N Coast Hwy.

03 May 2016

Questions to Ask When choosing Your Real Estate Agent

Diane Cannon of our Laguna Beach office is one of the top-producing agents in our company’s vast national network of residential real estate professionals. For 28 years, Diane has lived and worked in the highly competitive Laguna Beach market. She is highly regarded by her peers, and has represented multiple generations of clients in the sale and purchase of premier properties.

With the busy spring and summer seasons upon us, we asked Diane to share her thoughts on how clients should go about selecting an agent who will fulfill their needs and goals. Below is her list of questions to always ask the agents you interview before putting your home on the market:

  1. What percentage of your clients are buyers vs. sellers?
  2. How many sellers did you represent in the past two years?
  3. How long have you held your real estate license?
  4. Can you provide me with a list of the properties you represented for sellers only?
  5. How many homes did you close in the last 12 to 24 months?
  6. What should I do to get my home ready for showings?
  7. If my property is vacant, should I stage it?
  8. Will I be working with you directly or will there by assistants or other team members I will work with?
  9. Have you received any awards or recognitions as a REALTOR®?
  10. How often are you out of town on weekends or take vacations?
  11. Can you provide me with at least three names and contact information of sellers you helped?
  12. What marketing techniques, skills, or other resources will you deploy to sell my home?
  13. Do you have a website, and how much do you spend monthly on print ads and Internet marking?
  14. What do you think is the most likely sales prices of this home?
  15. How long do you think you will need to sell this property?
  16. What is the best time of year to put my home on the market?
  17. If you are interviewing new agent after a listing expired: Why do you think that my previous listing broker could not sell my home?
  18. What is the commission you charge when listing my home?

For more pointers on selecting an agent, check out this blog post.