Background: I grew up in a family of Realtors and was a Realtor briefly (15 years ago). I believe a good Realtor adds value in a real estate transaction.
That being said, my wife and I hired Hugh to sell our condo in Playa del Rey and to purchase a home in Hermosa Beach. My wife found Hugh through Yelp. In short, the reviews on Yelp accurately reflect the value and solid advice provided by Hugh. We would work with Hugh again without question. Whether buying or selling, Hugh provides thoughtful insight without pressure to close a transaction.
There are unique factors to consider when working with Hugh as both a seller and a buyer.
Buyer – You need to be comfortable doing some of the leg work. As a buyer, this means searching on-line databases (Redfin, http://theMLS.com, etc.) for houses as they come on the market, attending open houses on your own and arranging viewings of properties with the selling agent. The reason you take on this work is that the commission is reduced from 2.5% (typically) to 1%; this is a direct reduction to the purchase price of the home and has the lasting value of reducing the basis for property tax purposes. Once you narrow your field of possible properties, Hugh will arrange to take you through three properties. When you go through the properties with Hugh, he will provide good insight into the property, street, neighborhood, etc.. As long as you are comfortable doing the upfront work yourself, it is well worth it. Hugh will also recommend a top-notch home inspector. This is enormously valuable because you actually feel like you are getting a thorough view of the property.
Seller – You need to be comfortable hosting open houses, including putting out street signs (provided by Hugh), etc. This is not difficult, it is just time consuming. Hugh will provide a first round/initial printing of flyers for the property and you will be responsible for paying for additional printings (which Hugh can arrange for you). If you can manage the time to hold your house open, or if you are willing to pay someone else (a friend, nanny, etc.) a bit of money to hold the house open for you, this is a good arrangement. I am very glad we worked with Hugh to sell our condo; I just wish I had paid someone else a small amount of money to hold it open for me; after several weeks, it gets very tedious to do this yourself.
Donald, who works with Hugh, is also a good guy who will provide assistance through the process.
We wish Hugh much success in the future. We have paid other brokers the full 2.5% compared to Hugh’s 1% and I will tell you that the quality of the service we received from Hugh was far in excess of the other standard brokers.