They have a tremendous amount of experience selling all types of properties whether single family homes, townhouses, condominiums, multi-family such as duplexes and tri-plexes, and even raw land.
Jim and Katie physically visit, on average, more than 60 homes per week. This is accomplished by faithfully going on Real Estate Broker Tours (the equivalent of open houses for Real Estate Agents and Brokers), and consistently showing buyers homes to purchase. Surprisingly, there are very few Realtors who go out week after week to look at all price ranges of homes. Typically, the average Realtor rarely goes out on a Real Estate Broker tour and if he or she happens to go it is because he or she is looking at several homes in a very specific price range for a particular buyer. The advantage that Jim and Katie have of seeing all price ranges of homes and seeing them week after week is that they have an accumulation of knowledge. It is easy for them to be aware of what a given home is worth in a given area and what a comparable home is worth somewhere else. Also, as a result of seeing such a diverse number of homes each week, Katie and Jim are knowledgeable about all segments of the real estate market -- high end, low end, and everything in between.
Although there are still a few self-proclaimed "Local Experts" or "Neighborhood Specialists" who consistently work a small neighborhood or geographical area, these Realtors are like dinasaurs and becoming almost extinct. Most buyers want good schools, nice neighborhoods, and a less than hour commute to work. Therefore, buyers do not have to buy in one specific neighborhood. What the "Neighborhood Specialists" do not understand is surrounding neighborhoods, towns, and cities that have similar homes, schools, and settings. As a result, they often are unable to advise their clients well especially when a real estate market starts to change. Knowledge is power. Understanding our real estate market is crucial. Jim and Katie are great students who are constantly gathering information and data by regularly seeing properties. As a result, they typically know why one property is worth more than another, why one property took longer to sell compared to another, what the upgrades were in one home versus another, etc.
Jim and his family originally moved to Silicon Valley from a suburb of Chicago after Jim's Father accepted a job in California. This occurred about a year and a half prior to Jim entering high school and ultimately had a profound influence on Jim because he experienced, first hand, what it was like to come into a new area and be shown by a Realtor homes available for sale. Jim and his family looked at approximately eight different towns and roughly 40 properties before his parents purchased the home that is still the family home to this day. That marked the beginning of Jim's interest in real estate. Later in life, Jim and his wife, Carol, sold a home they had purchased at the beginning of their marriage. Jim was not actively practicing real estate at that time and once again, learned first hand, the stress associated with having to keep a home in tip top shape so that it could be shown to prospective buyers at a moment's notice and manage two small children at the same time. As a result of that experience, Jim learned empathy for home sellers and is very respectful of the hoops that sellers must jump through during the process of selling their home.
Jim and Katie both have strong backgrounds prior to entering into the field of Real Estate. After graduating from Santa Clara University with a business management degree, Jim worked as an outside sales representitive for several organizations before founding his own company. After successfully building his company from nothing and operating it for several years, Jim sold it and went to work for The Wall Street Journal where he managed five western states overseeing both independent distributors and company run distributors responsible for retail circulation. That job involved a lot of travelling and introduced Jim to the intricacies of corporate structure and how to successfully get things done in such a large organization. Jim, then went on to run a corporation where he was on the board of directors and assumed the role of general manager. Needless to say, Jim's approach to real estate has been profoundly shaped by his past business experience. He is extremely professional and is able to offer outstanding advice to his clients. He is able to interact with every type of personality and earn people's respect. He is very businesslike and able to assist his clients with extreme diligence.
Katie has always been extremely intelligent and a very quick learner. She graduated early (3 years) from Santa Clara University with a degree in Communications. While at Santa Clara she held several part time jobs. One of those jobs was tutoring math. She also assisted in film editing. After graduating, she moved to the east coast where she worked for The Hartford Insurance Company. She put together financial models and assisted distributors in determining the right insurance plan for their clients. Real estate has always been the topic of discussion in the Galli household. As a result, it was natural for Katie to ask her dad, Jim, if she could join him when she moved back to California. Of course, the rest is history and the partnership that Jim and Katie have formed is unbeatable!
Katie and Jim generate fully narrated virtual tours of the homes that they sell. Following are a few examples. Click on the photograph of a given home to view the respective virtual tour. You will notice that the second example incorporates drone photography. The third example is where the ultimate buyers were planning on going to Lake Tahoe on a vacation and would not have been able to attend the real estate broker tour or the open houses scheduled for that weekend. They contacted their Realtor and were able to schedule a private showing. Had it not been for the virtual tour, those buyers would have missed the property completely. Also, in that particular video we were able to talk about certain features such as the solar system installed on the roof, the special dishwasher that was able to grind bones while cleaning, the triple pane windows used to keep out noise from the neighboring school. Enjoy the following videos:
Click On Each Photo To Watch Narrated Virtual Tour For Respective Property
Move between photos by clicking on right or left arrow
Katie studied film and photography while in college. She is able to catch those magic moment twilight shots, along with other photos that help to showcase what any given home has to offer. It helps to have good subject material. Being able to obtain the right camera settings, correct angles, etc. really helps potential buyers view attractive photos and see the given home in the best possible light. Below are a few sample twighlight shots along with other sample photos:
Jim has been drawing floor plans for years and was one of the first Realtors to do so on a regular basis. He physically takes all measurements and then generates the floor plan using his Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. A number of properties successfully sold because of these floor plans. In particular, the first two samples that you see below pertain to 598 Orange Ave, located in Los Altos, CA. The first floor plan was how the property appeared at that time in 2007. The second floor plan was Jim's vision for improvement. As it turned out, the buyers after having seen the proposed floor plan, purchased 598 Orange Ave and remodeled the home incorporating almost every idea as shown in that proposed floor plan.
Are floor plans important? Yes! They help people to see how the home is currently laid out. At open houses, broker tours and showings, Jim and Katie are able to show potential buyers and/or their Realtor the current floor plan and assist those buyers with remodeling ideas that will help them to improve the home for their particular lifestyle. Often, a husband or wife will come to an open house. The other partner may not be able to make it out during that particular time slot, so the one spouse that has seen the home is able to bring the floor plan back to his or her own home to show the other spouse.
Another successful sale, as a result of having a floor plan available, was when a woman who taught piano lessons needed a big enough space to have two baby grand pianos adjacent to each other -- one for her as an instructor and the other for her student. The floor plan instantly provided the solution. The woman went home, showed her husband the floor plan and a day later they made an offer on the home.
Following are a few examples of floor plans that have been generated. Click the right or left blue arrows below to view several examples of different floor plans:
Broker Tours are another wonderful tool to help sell any home. A broker tour is really a number of open houses scheduled weekley during an approximately 3 - 4 hour time slot targeting primarily Real Estate Agents. It is an extremely efficient way for Realtors to see a good number of homes in a short period of time without the hassles of having to make appointments or be required to arrive at a specific home at an exact time.
A number of Realtors never even inform their sellers about Real Estate Broker Tours, typically, because they are lazy. Jim and Katie are firm believers that Broker Tours help to sell any given home and always recommend to their sellers that their property be scheduled for one or more broker tours. When Realtors physically see a home and end up liking it they usually then contact one or more potential buyers with whom they have already been working with to inform those buyers about the particular home. This, then, usually leads to the Realtor scheduling a time to show the home or sending the buyers to the next scheduled open house. Because Realtors are usually busiest during the weekend and broker tours are scheduled during weekdays, broker tours are the best time for Realtors to come and view properties.
There are an assortment of Broker Tours. Here are just some of those tours: 1) The Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga Broker Tour occurs on Wednesdays, 2) The Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Broker Tour occurs on Thursdays, 3) The Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto Tours occur on Fridays. Below are several examples of these different Broker Tours:
Jim and Katie are firm believers that holding open houses is one of the best ways to sell any home and they are the ones who host the open houses. This can often be in very sharp contrast to many other Realtors who have others host open houses. Often, these other people who host are not even licensed Realtors and are completely lacking in the area of people skills.
Purchasing a new home is typically a family's single largest investment. Buyers want to physically see a home before making an offer. Jim and Katie are excellent in communicating with these potential buyers at an open house. They are quick to address buyer concerns and point out features of the home, provide information about the neighborhood, nearby schools, parks, shopping, nearby freeways, businesses, etc.
Open houses work to sell a home!
Should every home be staged? No. Each home should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Don't be fooled by any Realtor who offers "free staging." Typically, the staging cost is ultimately paid for by the Seller. Katie and Jim have worked with some of the best Stagers in the business. Each situation may require different expertise. Sometimes a Stager who has a large furniture inventory is the right choice. Other times, a Stager who can work with a Seller's existing furniture is the right choice. Some Stagers excel with certain types or styles of homes. Sometimes, having a property staged is a complete waste of time, money, and energy. Jim and Katie are happy to discuss whether or not any given home should be staged. Certainly, there are times when having a home staged makes all of the difference in the world. It can be difficult for a number of potential buyers to imagine what a home can look like when all they see is vacant rooms. The following pictures show a home that Jim and Katie sold which was staged. You can see for yourself what the given rooms looked like after staging and what they looked like before staging occured. This is just one example of many of the homes that Jim and Katie have sold where "staging" was the right choice:
Many disclosures are legally required to be provided to a buyer by a seller when selling a property in California. California, quite possibly, could be the most progressive and consumer oriented state in all of the United States. Needless to say, there can, often times, be several hundred disclosure documents involved with selling any home.
It is important to have Jim and Katie who are skilled in advising their clients on how to fill out these documents represent you as a seller. One of Jim's favorite stories pertains to him assisting sellers years ago who were selling a condominium. As Jim was at the kitchen table advising the sellers on how to fill out the documents, the husband, in passing, mentioned that a skylight located in the hallway outside of the unit had leaked and had since been repaired. Since this had occured outside of the unit, he thought it was not important to include this in the disclosures. Jim was very adamant that he should include this as a disclosure along with a thorough explanation of the dates involved, what had happened, when, how, along with information regarding the repairs.
Approximately three years later, while Jim was on a real estate broker tour, he was approached by the Realtor who had represented the buyers years earlier and was told that those buyers were going to sue the sellers of the condominium. As it turned out, the buyers had left on a vacation during the rainy season. When they came back from their vacation, they found their condominium severely damaged by water from a leaking skylight (the new skylight or repaired skylight that the sellers had told Jim about when they were selling). The skylight dripped water into the hallway which, in turn, traveled under the front door. Not only was there severe damage to the unit, but there was also damage to the property located directly below them. The dollar amount of damage mentioned was somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $200,000. Jim went home that evening, found the disclosure that had been generated years earlier by the sellers and sent a copy of that disclosure to the Realtor who had represented the buyers. That was the end of the matter. Jim never shared that story with the sellers because he knew that the husband had since passed away and never wanted to upset the wife. How do you think she would have reacted had she been given the news approximately three years later that she was being sued for roughly a couple hundred thousand dollars? Most sellers after hearing this true story quickly understand the importance properly filling out disclosure paperwork. Following are links to disclosure documents filled out by prior clients. Typically, what you are seeing in the following examples is how Jim and Katie present disclosure documents to prospective buyers and their realtors. Click here here to see an example. Click here to see another example.
Who should be responsible for inspections and reports? Although there may be some exceptions, as a general rule, Jim and Katie recommend that Sellers have inspections and reports generated before a home has its first open house. Sellers then have full knowledge of what potential repairs may be needed. In some circumstances, it may make sense to have repairs made by the seller so that a potential buyer has nothing to worry about. In other cases, it makes more sense to fully disclose the findings to the prospective buyers. The buyers can then decide how to structure their offers with this knowledge. Often, it is much better to have repair work handled by the buyers because then they can select the work and finishes to be completed according to their specifications and tastes rather than according to the seller's.
Like everything else, experience matters. Jim and Katie know who the reputable inspectors and companies are that provide good service and thorough reports. It is important that the companies and inspectors are well known in the local real estate community and respected. Obviously, buyers are entitled to have any and all inspections that they desire. Should a buyer hire a disreputable inspector who claims that a costly and unnecessary repair be made, it is helpful to have a reputable inspector explain and show why the unnecessary repair is not needed.
Jim and Katie are very skilled at coordinating painters, stagers, roofers, inspectors, haulers, contractors, handymen, etc. During his career, Jim has worked with approximately 17 different builders/developers. He has learned many things from these professionals. Sellers can rest assured that necessary jobs will get done. Jim and Katie regularly work with a number of contractors pertaining to their many real estate clients and their own personal real estate. They are also very skilled in their own right as they have worked on numerous remodeling projects for their own portfolios. Because of this constant interaction with multiple contractors, Jim and Katie, are well known and respected. When they call to get something done, the contractors know that the job will not be just a one shot scenario and if they continue to provide excellent service there will be more business coming their way.
The saying: "It's not what you know, but who you know," definitely holds true in the real estate business. It is often estimated that approximately ten percent of Realtors are responsible for 90% of the business in the industry. Jim and Katie have consistently been in this elite group of Realtors. There have been many times in their careers where a real estate transaction successfully occured because a phone call was made to the right person. Often the right person is another Realtor, but in some situations it amounts to contacting the right past client, builder, developer, real estate manager, friend, acquantance, etc.
Jim and Katie maintain regular communication with other Realtors who work in other parts of the state, as well as other parts of the country. Often Jim and Katie will introduce their clients to the right person who can help them out. The reciprocal is also true.
Jim and Katie utilize conventional advertising such as running open house ads and classified ads in local newspapers, magazines, and other similar publications. Unlike the majority of Realtors, Jim and Katie are able to have complete control over their own website. They dedicate one or more web pages to each property that they have listed. By having this control, they are able to have flyers, brochures, internet advertising, newspaper advertising, etc. all funnel to the given web page(s). This provides around the clock information about the given property to any prospective buyer. For some examples click here or click here.
When looking at these dedicated web pages you will notice that there is a tremendous amount of information about the given property. There are narrated virtual tours, floor plans, photographs, a map with directions on how to get to the property, specifications, additional information, and access to disclosures and reports.
In addition to having the property for sale marketed on our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Jim and Katie have access to special Sereno advertising which reaches potential buyers worldwide and to advertising directly to those Realtors designated as top agents.
When you hire Jim and Katie as your Realtors, that is precisely whom you get. Unlike, other Realtors who delegate responsibilities to others, Jim and Katie are the ones who negotiate for you. Jim and Katie truly believe that in most negotiations a win-win solution usually can be found. With their excellent reputations in the real estate community, Jim and Katie are already well respected and known by most realtors. They are known for playing a fair game. They are excellent communicators, tremendous listeners, and outstanding problem solvers.
Jim and Katie successfully represent a multitude of both buyers and sellers every year. With all of the accumulated experience of negotiating so many real estate transactions, their creativity, diligence, firmness, lack of abrasiveness, integrity, and complete devotion to problem solving, it is no wonder that they are so successful and consistently ranked among the top 2% - 5% of Coldwell Banker agents in the world.
When it comes to creativity, Jim and Katie are very solution oriented and have the ability to think outside of the box. One example of creativity pertains to seller financing. Unlike, the majority of Realtors who have never ever been involved with seller financing, Jim and Katie have successfully used this tool to sell real estate. There was a property that Jim sold where a One Dollar per year lease was in effect for a two year period of time. This allowed the buyer to not have over two million dollars tied up in land costs which freed up that money to be spent on constructing expensive retaining walls and building a new home. Ultimately, two years later, the buyer completed construction, obtained conventional financing on the property that, at that time, appraised for over $7,000,000. The buyer was then able to pay the seller the more than $2,000,000 which had been agreed upon two years earlier. This was truly a win-win solution.
Below is an email received from sellers thanking Jim for setting up seller financing to assist them in selling their home in Mountain View. The seller financing was beneficial to the buyer because it allowed the buyer flexible terms and a less costly alternative to purchase than conventional financing. It was beneficial to the sellers because it allowed them to receive a higher purchase price and a steady stream of income at a significantly higher interest rate than they could have earned in other investment opportunities. Please see the following email:
Creativity often requires knowledge. Some other creative solutions that Jim and Katie have implemented in order to successfully sell properties pertain to equity sharing, 1031 exchanges, utilizing proposition 60 or proposition 90, utilizing private financing.
A number of times, equity sharing has proven to be a wonderful solution partnering one cash rich buyer with another cash poor, yet income strong, buyer. The two buyers combined are able to purchase much more than they could individually. Equity sharing is a concept that both Jim and Katie believe in very strongly. In fact, they practice what they preach and have used equity sharing to great success with their own family members, as well. Jim has, over the years, actually conducted seminars on the benefits of equity sharing.
Jim and Katie have assisted their clients in performing 1031 Exchanges. In one example, a 1031 exchange was used to sell a home that had years earlier been a family home (but had been most recently rented to tenants for several years) and exchange it for another single family home which the clients initially rented out to completely qualify for the 1031 exchange. Then, after enough time had passed, the clients converted the new home they had purchased into their primary residence.
In another example, proposition 60 allowed a client to sell one home, purchase another, and still keep the same low property taxes.
One more example of creativity is when private financing was found for a buyer who could not obtain a conventional loan. This buyer was unable to sell valuable stock (during a black out period) and would not have been able to purchase the home that he and his wife had fallen in love with had private investors that Jim had known not loaned money using both his stock and his new home as collateral. Ultimately, after this buyer was able to sell his stock, he paid off the private investors and ended up owning his home free and clear.
The last thing any seller wants to think about is the possibility of being drug into a lawsuit -- whether that is during or after the sale occurs. Working with experienced real estate agents greatly reduces the likelihood of a potential lawsuit. Jim and Katie both hold California Real Estate Broker licenses and regularly attend training on the most recent contracts, forms, and documents used in the real estate industry. Likewise, they are continually learning about the most current real estate law cases. Generally, several times a year, they attend seminars where attorneys discuss new laws, disclosures, contracts, how to avoid legal pitfalls, etc.
Real Estate is generally one of the largest assets that any seller sells in his or her lifetime. Jim and Katie do not want to have some inexperienced part time assistant, transaction coordinator, etc. attempting to process and review critical real estate contracts and documents, which is precisely why they do all of their own paperwork.