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Top Real Estate Agencies join forces

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate announced a strategic acquisition for a valued member of its network,  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties, with the affiliated brokerage’s acquisition of San Luis Obispo Realty. The combined company will do business as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties, doubling its agent count and market share to become one of the largest real estate firms in San Luis Obispo County.

This marks the brokerage’s second major expansion since joining the franchise network in 2016, highlighting how Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate helps affiliated brokers identify, assess and seize smart growth opportunities.

San Luis Obispo Realty

Gavin Payne Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Haven Properties owner/broker

Broker/owner Gavin Payne acquired San Luis Obispo Realty a year after acquiring Morro Bay Realty, another acquisition executed with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

By working collaboratively with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Payne has demonstrated that strategic acquisitions can be executed with efficiency. The broker’s and brand’s shared focus of market share growth, cost savings and cultural alignment helps ensure a successful transaction.

Better Homes and Gardens work with their brokers/owners on a regular basis to identify and structure unique and smart growth opportunities. This latest milestone will enable Payne to utilize the former San Luis Obispo Realty office as the combined entity’s new headquarters, providing a modernized workspace and ample room to accommodate the company’s ongoing expansion.

This realignment, combined with an increased market presence, enhances the brokerage’s ability to provide the luxury concierge service that has been integral to its success.

By joining the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Network, San Luis Obispo Realty’s agents will benefit from the broad suite of resources, technology and marketing materials to fuel their businesses. The San Luis Obispo Realty leadership team will remain with the company as agents and broker associates.

Staging Your Home to Sell in SLO

A Well-Staged and Decorated Home Entices Buyers to Come In and Stay a Lifetime!

A seller can certainly assist in helping create a “Welcome Home” experience for a buyer. Providing aesthetic tools like furniture, accessories, and decor helps awaken a buyer to the possibilities.

As well as presenting your home in its best possible light, home staging also helps buyers see themselves in that space. Buyer’s agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered on a home between one and five percent in comparison to like homes on the market that are unstaged. Seller’s agents concur, also reporting an increase of one percent to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, and adding that there were slight decreases in the time on the market when the home is staged as well.

Empty houses provide little interest. Who wants to picture themselves in a boring home? Buyers should be invited to imagine themselves coming home to your space.

“Buyers have a hard time envisioning themselves if it’s empty,” said Scott Leverette of McGuire Real Estate in Berkeley, Calif. “I think also a home looks smaller if it’s empty.” 

Tips from real estate and home staging professionals might include:

* Put A Little Love in Your Art

When creating the space, home stagers will bring in furniture, art, and accessories that are current with the trends offering style and inspiration. A buyer may be persuaded to make their highest and best offer on a home that looks as though it was on a picture of a magazine. 

* Eliminate the Negatives

Be a savvy seller! Your outdated decor will immediately turn off a potential buyer, lowering your home value and making the selling process that much more difficult. Items that may be considered out of date and nearly obsolete in today’s standards for construction:  Gold or brass-like lighting and plumbing  fixtures; doorknobs and cabinet hardware:  “Swap it all out for something with contemporary appeal," says Emily Finch, an interior designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even chrome can be considered outdated and give an impression of a low-budget feature. Brushed nickel and bronze are currently the new metals of choice with designers and builders. Consider exchanging dingy beige outlet plates and switches for new clean contemporary white ones for an easy fix at a reasonable cost expense.

* Tu Casa es Su Casa

Buyer and seller agents alike agree that a buyer should be enticed to see themselves living in a home. A very popular suggestion is that a seller “depersonalize” the space. Showing off pictures and art of the kids and grandkids is every parent and grandparents joy….except when trying to sell a house. Personal articles only remind potential buyers that they are in someone else’ home and therefore can be huge distractions. 

While removing these personal items, begin to pack away and store items that are not strategic for home staging. A cluttered home is another huge distraction and can make a home feel smaller. 

* Home Cozy Home

Different in the way a cluttered home can be a huge distorter of Feng Shui, creating homey vignettes or inviting settees lends a peaceful easy feeling causing a buyer to pause and take in the surroundings.

* Put Some New Shoes On

Some sellers feel very strongly about people taking their shoes off or insisting that shoe cover booties be worn when touring their home. By giving buyers explicit instruction as such, you are reminding them of the seller’s connection to the home. Remember, the goal is to allow buyers to picture your house as theirhome. This becomes harder to do with a constant awareness of being in another person’s home.  Sellers, remember that you're moving and clean carpet will soon be the concern of someone else!

* Just “Pet” i-ful! 

In the items of most common home improvement tips, agents will also highly recommend, “Remove pets (and signs of them) during showings!” Meeting someone else’s animals can be stressful. Pets might be protective of their turf, so owners should consider taking them somewhere else during showings…. While adorable to their owners, pesky pets can be a nuisance…a barking dog screams “Go away! This is not your home!”

There is absolute strategy involved in selling a home. Sellers and their agent share in the burden of securing the highest and best offer on the home. Agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients as a seller has responsibility and duty to getting their home in its best possible showing presence. It is in a seller’s best interest to show their home in its greatest potential!  

Looking to sell your home? Contact one of our agents today to get info on your home's value and insight on how to get your home into outstanding showing condition!

Prepare your Home to Sell

Preparing your Home for a Quick Sell

Getting your home prepared before you list it on the Real Estate Market for sale can take much stress out of the transaction.  There are plenty of little things you can do that don’t take a lot of time or money that will help render a smoother and expeditious experience.

Jump start the sale of your home with these great tips:

  1. Depersonalize the Space
  • You do not want buyers to be distracted.  Not everyone has the same taste in décor so when it comes to furniture keep it neutral.  Stick with understated pieces that aren’t too flashy or distracting. 
  • Pack away any personal family heirlooms and photographs.  The new buyers need to be able to imagine themselves and their items on the walls.
  • Re-paint the walls a very neutral color that would appease to the buyers. This goes along with the idea that not all people have the same taste in decor.  You do not want buyers to remember your property as “the purple wall house”.
  1. De-Clutter the Space
  • Less is more!  Move out some furniture because property shows better with less furniture in it. 
  • Remove any leaves from the dining room table to make the space around it look bigger. You want the buyers to be able to move around easily.  
  • Clear clutter so potential buyers can picture themselves living there and be able to see the homes full potential.
  • Remember to clean out closets and make them look tidy. Buyers will open them up to see the storage space and you don’t want items falling out on them. 
  1. Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection
  • If you do not know the current condition of your home you can opt to get a pre-listing home Inspection to let you know which things might need attention or repair.  
  • Home inspections done while in a transaction could potentially cause a listing to fall out of escrow.  It is always better to be prepared for what might need to be dealt with before it goes into escrow.
  1. Select an Exceptional Realtor
  • Some traits to look for in an exceptional realtor include: great communication skills, strong negotiating skills, someone who can offer guidance throughout the entire process, and the ability to price your property at the correct price from the start. 
  • If the pricing is incorrect from the start it will be a mistake that could set you back.  This can and will stop a home from selling quickly! 

Please contact us for all you need to know about selling your home in San Luis Obispo, or find a home here!

Debt vs Real Estate Goals

Income Tax Refunds to Benefit your Real Estate Needs

It’s that time of year again to file income taxes.  If you are wondering what might be a great way to invest your refund money here are some great tips why paying off debt can benefit you in the Real Estate Market.


Your credit score will help you purchase Real Estate by making the loan process much easier.  

  • While paying off credit card debts start with the cards that have the smallest balances first and bring them to a zero balance.   When you bring a credit card balance to a zero amount that will bring your per-card utilization down to zero percent which will result in a higher credit score within the three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.  
  • By paying off debt you can improve your credit score which in return can help you receive better interest rates and terms for financing when you are investing in Real Estate. 
  • The better your credit score the smoother and quicker qualifying for a Real Estate loan will be, making you that much closer to owning your dream home.
  • Once your dream home is purchased; the better your credit score is the better your insurance premiums will be.
  • Paying off debt will also lower your debt to income ratio which will make it easier to qualify for a mortgage loan.  For an FHA Loan the max qualifying debt burden cannot exceed 43% debt to income ratio.

No matter how you look at it paying off debt is a great thing and if you can boost your credit score while you are in the process, what a great bonus that will be!

Beware of real estate scams

Beware of Phishing Scams Targeting Real Estate

You may have read that wire fraud has been on the rise. These attempts to steal one’s money are targeting unwitting victims via their own personal email. Phishing is the name of a form of social engineering in which targets are tricked into handing over their own personal information and sensitive information like their logins. Criminals are no longer just interested in your social security, bank account, or credit card numbers. Any information they gather could be used in conjunction with login access that people can be tricked in to giving up. Lately real estate sites have been targeted.

Cybercriminals are after more than just credit cards and Social Security numbers. Any information meant only for you could be a target. Please note...any information that you input on this web site remains private and will be used for our eyes only and to assist you in buying or selling real estate. Your information is NEVER SHARED beyond the agent that is assisting you.

Here are questions to ask yourself tohelp you identify fake phishing messages:

1. Who is the email coming from? The email address should not be unrelated to the group, company, or organization they claim to be representing. 

2. Misleading links. Links in the email are not to where they say. You are consequently directed to false URL.

3. Generic terms and incomplete informationCybercriminals will use generic templates to mass email. The information they have on a person is incomplete so they may use pieces of your information to attempt to appear legitimate.

4. Requests for sensitive data. Legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive data to be conveyed through email. If the email is sending you to a link, verify the URL and make sure that you are not being directed to a false Login page.

5. Is it information on you that could have been gathered from an online profile?  Sometimes this information is included to make a phishing email convincing. Check the email for other signs of phishing before clicking any links or downloading any attachments.

6. Emphasizing urgency or alarm. To trick you into moving fast, they will incite phrases such as, “Your payment is late” or “Please take care of this immediately” or “You must take action”  causing you to reveal sensitive information without hesitation. Take a moment to consider the motivations of the sender before handing over information you otherwise wouldn’t.

7. Poor attention to spelling and grammar.  Most formal communication is written and edited by professionals. If an email is laden with typos or unusual syntax, be speculative.

8. Unnecessary account verification.  If there is no justification in the email to validate the verification, you should ask questions and ask that justification be provided.

9. Cybersquatting.  This is when cybercriminals purchase website names similar to official websites, hoping to mislead users who don’t pay close enough attention to the URL – i.e. g00gle.com or paypa1.com, instead of google.com or paypal.com.

Bottom Line- If something feels a little off within an email or their offer of reward seems too good to be true, trust your gut. It just may be.

Please note that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Haven Properties is a secure Real Estate web site and none of your information is shared or used for any purpose other than assist you in your real estate search or providing you with relevant or requested information. Please contact us directly if you want to talk to a "live real estate professional." We want you always to feel secure in your real estate search and experience with our company and web site.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Haven Properties
San Luis Obispo Office:
441 Marsh Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Morro Bay Office:
805 Main Street
Morro Bay, CA 93442

CA DRE# 01935192


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Better Homes and Gardens® and the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Logo are registered service marks owned by Meredith Corporation and licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. A Payne International Corporation fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. Any services or products provided by independently owned and operated franchisees are not provided by, affiliated with or related to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC nor any of its affiliated companies.

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