The World’s Greatest Realtor 2018 Award Winner

sebfreyCommentary, Local, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

Realtor Logo

Sebastian “Seb” Frey is the The World’s Greatest Realtor 2018 Award Winner!  This prestigious award was granted to him by one of his clients upon the successful sale of their family home in San Jose, California.  Closing gifts are common in the Santa Clara county real estate market, but it is unusual for a client to buy the agent a gift – usually, it’s the other way around.  So why did this homeowner go through the trouble and expense of getting a custom made closing gift for their Realtor? The World’s Greatest Realtor Case Study Cathy grew up in a quiet, tidy neighborhood of San Jose.  Homes in the neighborhood consisted of single level ranch homes built in the 1950’s – most were around 1150 square feet or so, and the typical lot size was about 6,000 square feet.  Her parents were the second owner of the home.  Mom had died over a decade ago, and dad had just recently died. The home was being lived in by her brother Steve, who was on title.  A third sibling, another sister, was on title as well.  Steve had been living in the home for most of his life – and had a lifetime’s worth of items stored in the house. Actually, he had several lifetimes worth of stuff stored there. To be honest, the home was packed.  Many rooms had boxes and bags of items, stacked from floor to ceiling.  There were storage sheds in the back yard – crammed full of junk.  The garage was likewise completely … Read More


sebfreyPress Releases, Seniors

Seb Frey and "Pama" - his grandfather, BJ Prescop

Capitola, CA – December 23, 2015 – Sebastian “Seb” Frey has been awarded the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation by the Seniors Real Estate Specialist Council of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). Seb joins more than 16,000 real estate professionals in North America who have earned the SRES® designation.  All were required to successfully complete a comprehensive course in understanding the needs, considerations, and goals of real estate buyers and sellers aged 55 and older. Mr. Frey was quoted as saying, “As America ages, I feel it is increasingly important that the real estate brokerage community – and myself in particular – be aware of and prepared to handle the specific needs of the not-so-young-but-young-at-heart set.  Attaining the SRES Designation is a hallmark of my commitment to serving these folks as best I can.” Seb continued, “I really enjoy working with older clients – hell, I myself am only a few years away now from an AARP membership!  I grew up with my grandfather living in our house, and I was really close to him.  I loved hearing him talk about the ‘old country,’ that ‘them were the good old days!’ and how ‘this country has gone to pot’  – and mind you, that’s back like when Ronald Reagan was President!  But Pama – that’s what we called him – really instilled in me a love for and respect of previous generations.  To this day I love talking with older people, to hear their stories and how they look at the world today from a venerable perspective.” SRES Council, founded … Read More

A Bad Real Estate Agent Can Cost You


A Bad Agent Can Cost You

Many people don’t think much about how a bad real estate agent can cost you, but the truth is, a bad real estate agent can cost you a lot. I’m going to share with you a couple of examples how, and how much. I tend to work with more sellers than buyers – currently I’m running about two-to-one sellers over buyers…but the last two deals I closed, I represented the buyer. As a buyer’s agent, my job is to get the absolute best deal for my client that I possibly can. As part of that, I help my clients with their due diligence, to make sure that they know everything there is to know about the property before they fully commit to buying it. No surprise there, right? The surprise to me is that listing agents often do no due diligence of their own whatsoever. They begin showing the property with absolutely no disclosures available. They expect the buyers will make offers knowing nothing more about the property than what is visible to the naked eye. Amazing! Sometimes, before they’ll take an offer, they will hurriedly get the seller to fill out the bare minimum set of disclosure forms – but often they won’t even do that, not until a price has been agreed upon and the home is under contract. When I am working with the buyer, this is almost always a very costly mistake. The agent is leaving the seller open to re-negotiation of the deal, based on the buyer’s inspection findings. And that’s … Read More

Advice for FSBOs from a Real Estate Attorney

sebfreyCommentary, For Sale By Owner


I have been a member of Quora for some time now, but like a lot of sites I join, I haven’t participated much. But lately I’ve been spending more time on the site, and I came across a Quora question asking if real estate agents will become obsolete. Since real estate agency is my bread and butter, I started reading the thread. There’s a variety of perspectives on this, but one reply I found particularly interesting, written by a former real estate attorney, which read in part: In addition to the inherent complexities of even the most run-of-the-mill real estate transaction and the tremendous financial stakes involved, real estate transactions are emotional.  You’re not dealing with a lawn mower, a refrigerator, or some other fungible good, you’re dealing with someone’s home–a place where the seller’s memories were made and where the buyer wishes to make new ones.   This is a highly personal transaction, and the potential for doubt, insecurity, second-guessing, mistrust, defensiveness, cold feet, confusion, paranoia, and, therefore, conflict is extremely high.  The role of realtors throughout this process is invaluable. Go ahead and read the whole reply, or even read the whole thread (although it’s kind of long).  I found it very interesting because often times the debate about the value of Realtors centers around marketing, and how today a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) can do so much marketing on their own, further diminishing the value of having it handled by a professional.  While professional marketing is very important, the value of an agent in terms … Read More

What’s Important to Home Owners Thinking of Selling

Seb FreyCommentary

What's Important to Home Owners

Numerous consumer surveys have been performed over the years, asking what’s important to home owners thinking of selling their home. Curious to know the answers? Some of them may surprise you. Here is what people have said is most important to them: Obviously, most people are interested in getting the best price for their home, above all else. Next, it’s also important to people that the property have the shortest time on market which is convenient for them. And, speaking of convenience – selling a home is a hassle, so having the shortest time on market is highly desirable for most sellers. People want the process to have as little impact on their lives as possible. They want the experience to be fluid, easy, and without drama and surprise. Homeowners also want good communication from their real estate agent – they don’t want to be wondering what is going on with their transaction. They want to know what’s going on, without having to ask. What it all comes down to is that what most home owners are looking for, really, is a diligent effort on the part of their agent or broker to get the job done, in accordance with their responsibilities as an agent. And that’s one reason why – if you do decide to list your home with a real estate agent – picking the right agent from the hundreds or thousands you’ll have to choose from will be crucial for your home selling process.


Seb FreyPress Releases

Seller Representative Specialist

Aptos, California, September 16, 2014 — Sebastian “Seb” Frey has been awarded the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation, the premier seller agency designation in the country. The SRS is conferred by the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB) and is an official credential of the National Association of REALTORS®. Seb joins an elite group of real estate professionals in North America who have earned the SRS designation. In fact, of approximately 284,000 licensed agents and brokers in California, only 146 Realtors have managed to become a SRS at the time of this publication. Mr. Frey has been a real estate professional for well over a decade, and has recorded hundreds of home sales during this time. He is also credited with the creation of the innovative SellForSure Home Selling System, a guaranteed, proven system for getting a home sold in a short time, for the highest price possible. “I am a firm believer in continuing my education, and that’s why I worked to attain the SRS designation. I want to make sure I provide the very highest quality of service and agency possible,” Mr. Frey was quoted as saying. He continued, “I believe in giving home owners the absolute best representation possible when the time comes to sell their home. So many home owners get bad advice from weak agents, and end up losing thousands of dollars on their home sale. That’s why I created the SellForSure Home Selling System, so that home owners will have one simple, concise step-by-step plan for selling their for the … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Great Debate

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

You really need to look at the year before to see how the market performed – and from the statistics, we can see the median home price, county-wide, is actually down 33.5% in April of 2009 compared to a year ago. … Honestly, I am mystified how people can take a few anecdotes, completely ignore the state of the economy and the housing market as a whole, and now herald, with strident authority, that we are now at the bottom of the market and THIS, TODAY is the time to buy, or you will miss out on the chance of a lifetime. … Well, that’s not true – short sales can also occur at those prices, and some people who have had their homes a long, long time may have enough equity in them to compete with all the REOs and short sales. … Personally, I think it’s going to put increased pressure on the bottom of the market, as many people who were looking at buying a lower-priced “starter” home may now be thinking of stretching to go for one of these “premium” foreclosures which I expect we’ll be seeing.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Deathmatch

Seb FreyCommentary, Santa Cruz Real Estate

Whether you think the current housing crisis is a cause of a symptom of the economic meltdown in the United States and abroad, there’s no denying that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about how long this recession will last , how deep it will cut , and what this means for people looking to buy a house in Santa Cruz today. deathmatch.jpg I’ve said it several times in various postings to this blog, but I think it bears repeating: I think home prices in Santa Cruz county will continue to drop for the foreseeable future – and by that, I mean the rest of this year, at least. … It’s not a new thing – as I mentioned a blog entry or two ago, this multiple-offer feeding-frenzy has been going on at least 18 months, I don’t see that it is more common today than it was a year or so ago – but perhaps it’s being talked about more in the media, as there is now more effort into talking up the economy rather than talking it down. … I had seen it when it had come up (I send myself e-mails from my automated system for every bank-owned home that hits the market), but at the moment, I had a number of deadlines I was working to meet so I didn’t look at the particulars to see that it was really an incredible deal. … Actually, when it started out, I don’t think it was a short sale – but as the months went by, the price was reduced until finally the owner owed more on it than the market would pay.

Is 2009 The Year to Buy Santa Cruz Real Estate?

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

The Housing Crash guy says: A landlords’ rule of thumb is that a house price should be a maximum of 15 times the annual rent for that place, yet in coastal areas, houses are still selling for 30 times annual rent I think he’s got a good point there – which goes to underscore my belief that prices in Watsonville are actually very reasonable at the moment. … Looking over the ads on Craig’s List, it’s safe to say that a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house would rent for about $2,400 a month in Santa Cruz, assuming it was in a not-so-great location. … Let’s look at the payment for a $500,000 house – but let’s assume you’re putting down a reasonable 10% instead of the FHA minimum of 3.5% – so you’d have a $450,000 loan, again at about 5.75% because with only 10% down, you’d still need to pay mortgage insurance. … Let’s say you’re in a tax bracket of 25%, and you can figure you’d save about $640/month in federal and state taxes, bringing your effective monthly after-tax payment to about $2,519 per month, or just about $120 more than renting.

The newest CRS In Town

Seb FreyCommentary

Council of Residential Specialists

For those of you who have been following my twitter feed, you may have noticed that I’ve been working or some time on getting my CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) Designation. At long last, I was awarded the CRS designation a couple of days ago, making me the newest CRS in town. A lot of my colleagues think the CRS (and other Realtor designations) are all a bunch of hooey – of course, the people who think that are mostly the people who have never bothered to try and get any. There are many fine Realtors out there without a designation to their name, of course. Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking for a Realtor and you know nothing else about them, it’s not a bad thing if they have a few of those designations – you may have seen ABR, CRS, SRES, and GRI, for example, following a Realtor’s name in their marketing material. This indicates that the Realtor at least strives to improve to offer a higher level of education and training than the average Realtor. One thing good about the CRS Designation about most others is that it actually has some fairly stringent production requirements – that is, you must have actually sold some real estate in order to get this designation. So when you see that someone is a CRS, it’s a sign that they have at least been around the block a few times and they didn’t just fall jarringly and recently off the turnip truck. One of the supposedly … Read More