Why work with us?

Why should you work with Condo Experts Group?

If you’re buying or selling a condominium, don’t pick an agent who rarely represents Walnut Creek condos.

Condo Experts Group was founded by Robert Thomas, a certified Condominium industry veteran with a vision of an exclusive and one of a kind real estate team that would focus on educating clients in order to improve the often misunderstood industry. After years of seeing condo clients being represented by real estate professionals with no true understanding of condominiums, Robert set out to create a service that would ONLY work with Condo and Townhouse buyers and sellers.

 

Whether buying or selling, here are some basic questions we recommend you run by prospective agents:

 1. Do you have a Product Specialty?

Single family homes? Land? Commercial?  Typically you will discover the vast majority of agents will do just about anything that comes along…  While on some level there is nothing wrong with this, the end result is they simply can’t have in-depth knowledge on everything.  If you’re buying or selling a condominium, don’t pick an agent who rarely sells condos.

 

2. Do you have a geographic area that you focus on?

Here you will almost certainly get a YES answer, but the key is to probe a bit deeper. You will find many that focus on “The East Bay”  which means anything between Berkeley and Brentwood,  Pleasant Hill to Pleasanton.  Finding a neighborhood expert is especially important. An agent who specializes in a neighborhood may also be in touch with buyers who are looking for a home just like yours or sellers who haven’t put their home on the market yet. It’s really a very local business and you’re really best off to find someone who works in Walnut Creek exclusively.

 

3. What is the typical price of the properties you represent?

What if the agent doesn’t usually work with buyers in your price range. Some agents work with homes of all types in a specific area. But if you’re looking for a $400,000 home, you are unlikely to get much attention from an agent who mostly handles $2 million listings.  The truth is most condos sell for less money than single family homes.  They are also more complex, so more work.  So asking them to represent you in a condo is asking them to work harder and make less money. This is not a compelling proposition…

 

4. How many Condos or Townhouses have you sold in your career?

The majority of condos and townhouses are represented by people who do a condo transaction only once every THREE years. ( We’ve got the data… )

You are better served by a condo specialist who’s knowledge and experience you can trust.  There are a lot more “moving parts” to a condo transaction.  Financing is different.  HOA’s add a level complexity.  Once understood, it’s very manageable, but the same thing can be said about brain surgery.

 

Just some of the unique issues with a condo purchase:

  • Why do some condo projects not qualify for financing?
  • Why should I read the meeting minutes?
  • What are condo financial statements?
  • What is a reserve study?
  • What is Condo Master Insurance?
  • What does the condo management company do?
  • What exactly is included in the condo dues?

Like most situations in life, people who know what they want have a much better chance of getting it.

 Most people, when looking for their new home, start by looking at current listings… go to 6 or 8 open houses, and decide which to write an offer on.  Here at CEG we recommend a different approach.  Instead of looking at what’s available, we suggest figuring out what you WANT first. 

Then we’ll work together to find it.

Similar to picking a life partner.  You wouldn’t go to a party, look around the room at the 15 available people, and pick one out and decide THAT’S THE ONE! ( At least we hope that’s not what you’d do…)

 We are dedicated to helping you make an informed decision.  There are over 90 different Condominium and Townhouse projects just in Walnut Creek.  With a total of almost 8,000 DIFFERENT units.  They offer a wide array of choices, for example:

  1. Size of unit
    1. 1 bedroom can range from less than 500 to over 1000 sqft
  2. Location 
    1. Urban, suburban, near transportation, restaurants, trails, shopping, golf, etc!  Typically you’re not going to get close proximity to all of these in one unit.  What’s important to you?
  3. Age of the complex . 
    1. It’s not as simple as you might guess, older projects are typically larger in both unit size and more generous with landscaping, amenities, and space in general. 
    2. But they may have lower ceilings, dated architecture and finishes.  In some situations, a new complex will pack 3X the number of units in the same space as an older project.
  4. Size of the complex 
    1. Just in Walnut Creek they range in size from 8 to 800 units!  That creates a very different energy.
  5. Amenities
    1. Pool, Tennis, Workout room, sauna, hot tub, spa, lawn/ BBQ area
  6. Security
    1. Limited access? Direct to the Street?  Secured buildings?  Gated Entry?
  7. Health of the HOA 
    1. When you buy a condo you are buying two things:
      1. A specific unit
      2. And a share in the overall development.  We will work with you to help you understand all that that means.
      3. Financially healthy or in need of life support?

These are just some of the PROJECT variables… then there are the individual units characteristics.