(Seven First - Rate Ones)

December is often a time during which various sorts of largesse are distributed, like presents, Xmas bonuses, etc. But, mortgage brokers, unlike most other professions are specifically prohibited under HUD's Real Estate Procedures Act (RESPA) and the California Department of Real Estate from giving anything of monetary value to realtors, regardless of the time of year. About all that we are still permitted to give is a ringing endorsement of those who have demonstrated outstanding service. So, what follows is a Xmas present of sorts to realtors with whom it has been a pleasure to do business.

First off, I should mention that buyers rarely solicit my opinion of who is a good agent because in the normal course of events a client comes to me AFTER they have begun working with a realtor. And because my interaction with sellers is minimal, requests for recommending a listing agent are also scant. But, as with every profession, there are good ones and those that are less so. If you are looking for a realtor, they basically fall into two camps listing agents (representing sellers) and buyers' agents (representing buyers). Though they may wear either hat (or both on occasion) they usually have a preference for which side of the transaction they are on. In years gone by, some realtors were snooty about their being listing agents and almost considered it beneath their station to work with buyers, but with the current dearth of sales many of those same agents have found their former stance one they can no longer afford. None of the realtors here are of that mind-set.

Earlier this year I wrote a couple of articles titled "The Right Realtor" which you may want to peruse. The one on listing agents appeared in the April 2010 newsletter; the one on buyers' agents in the May 2010 issue. The articles included a rather exhaustive list of questions that one might ask an agent they were considering. But, if you would rather dispense with all of that rigmarole, the list that follows is one of realtors that I believe are a credit to their profession and with whom a prospective buyer or seller would be well served.

They all share certain things in common, for example, access to the MLS (multiple listing service) and they all show and list properties in cities other than just the 3 or 4 that I asked them to specify. They will also show you For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), if you happen to run across one that is the apple of your eye. And, with one or two notable exceptions, they represent buyers and sellers alike. They are also happy to furnish you with references, though as one realtor wryly observed, "I discourage it. When is the last time you saw someone give a bad reference?"

To the many realtors with whom I have not had a working relationship, all I can say is that hopefully the coming year will provide an ample opportunity to correct that oversight and allow your inclusion among the following august body). So, without further ado, what follows is a brief description (in alphabetical order) of exemplary agents with whom I've worked.

Carole DeJonge, a San Diego native, sees herself as personable, a good negotiator and a creative problem solver, all traits to which I can readily attest. She is one of the sharpest realtors I've come across and though it's a bit cliche she truly does "think outside the box". Carole, active in real estate since 2002 and in the local market for the past 7 years, is with Purdy Homes Real Estate located in Carlsbad. Being a real estate investor, herself, she knows first-hand many of the considerations that need to be taken into account when investing in income property. She is experienced in short sales, REOs (foreclosures), 1031 exchanges, FHAs, & HomePath programs. Carole works primarily as a buyer's agent. Her marketing techniques involve referrals, brokerage advertising, local print publications like Carlsbad Magazine and advertising specialties like Ad-Cart. Her sales niches are conforming amounts up to $2 million. She has a particular affinity for the following areas: Encinitas, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Oceanside, Cardiff, San Marcos. She is the epitome of a go-getter: vibrant and available 7 days a week. Even the outgoing message on her cell phone is energetic and bespeaks a certain "can-do" spirit.

Personal quote: "I handle all transactions personally from start to finish! I will be with you as long as it takes to find the property that is right for you!"
Her mobile phone is (760) 201-6402
Her email address is

Marti Marion not only specializes in age-restricted communities, she
lives in one. Residing at the Ocean Hills Country Club and working with seniors has proven a natural fit for her. She works for Realty Executives showing property in Ocean Hills and the environs. Another forte of Marti*s is being a relocation specialist. Having lived in San Diego for 28 years and been a realtor for 15 of them, she knows the surrounding areas like the proverbial "back of one's hand".

Though she prefers working with buyers she is not averse to representing sellers. In working as a listing agent, she uses all the conventional sales marketing tools: MLS, open houses, print advertising, signage, internet & networking.

Marti is particularly well-versed in programs like My Community, a program that expands eligibility for public service employees such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, health care workers and buyers with disabilities. The program also benefits buyers with limited savings for down payment and/or closing costs. Marti says her sales niche is in the area of $350,000 to $640,000, a range that most of the homes in Ocean Hills occupy.

She prides herself on using "no high pressure approach", but instead prefers a laid back and helpful one. To get the best deal for her clients, Marti uses her winning personality and being a good negotiator. Over the years Marti has cultivated numerous affiliations with other real estate related professionals like mortgage brokers, home inspectors, title companies, escrow officers.

Personal quote: "I have worked in several counties as a Realtor and finally have a product I truly like. I love giving tours and showing prospects our community [Ocean Hills Country Club]. I especially like the social side of sales".

Her office number is (760) 639-1977 Her mobile phone is (760) 519-3644
Her email address is
Her web address is

Sylvia McGuire is the grand dame of realtors in Oceanside, having been a realtor for more than 20 of the 30 years she has resided there. As the President & designated Broker of C.R.E.S.T., Inc. (an acronym for Coastal Real Estate Service Team, Inc.) she represents sellers and buyers alike. The cities of Oceanside, Vista, and San Marcos are those cities in which she is principally active. Ms. McGuire uses the MLS, open houses, print advertising, signage, and the internet to market her listings. Her sales niche is in the range of $200-750K, concurrent with the values of properties in those areas. Prior to being a realtor, Sylvia logged 17 years as a certified Sr. Escrow officer. As a consequence, she is familiar and comfortable with nearly every conventional loan program as well as FHA, VA, and the HomePath programs. She is professional and friendly and likes to think of herself as her clients "real estate coach" and as such professes a special affinity for working with seniors and first-time buyers. Her company consists of friendly agents who believe in one-to-one professional connections and pride themselves on assisting their clients. The company by line is "Real Estate Solutions".

Her office number is (760) 757-1031 or (800) 720-1031
Her website is
Her email address is

One of the first things that struck me about Don Nelson when I spoke to him over the phone was his smooth, friendly, avuncular voice. It reminded me of Jon Miller, Joe Morgan's baseball broadcasting partner on ESPN. Nevertheless, it was interesting to discover that my ears did not deceive me and that he actually had been in radio broadcasting for 40 years and that real estate was his Don's second career. Mr. Nelson first moved to San Diego in 1980 and after retiring from the broadcasting business decided in 1998 to convert his longtime love affair with real estate investing into a second career.

He functions exclusively as a buyer's Agent with offices in San Diego & Palm Springs.  His marketing approach is internet based. Securing the #1 spot on the internet under "San Diego Buyer's Agent" has brought Don a steady stream of buyers with which to work. His warmth and willingness to invest as much time as it takes to find the right property for his clients have engendered loyalty and repeat business. To keep his name in front of clients he uses calendars, football and baseball schedules and magnets. Don's comfortable with all the conventional programs as well as FHA, VA, HomePath, and CalHFA. Buyer protection and being a good negotiator are two skills that he lists as particular areas of expertise. His approach in taking on clients is selective and upfront: he states, "I work only with buyers who have signed an exclusive buyer broker agreement and have
been pre-approved by a reputable lender."  Don has several accreditations.

Among them are the following: Certified Exclusive Buyers Agent, Accredited Buyer*s Representative, National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents and e-PRO.

Personal quote: "My primary job is to listen, to understand my clients" needs and to translate those needs into a plan of action. My business is built on referrals. Referrals are a by-product of honesty, outstanding service and most of all, respect for everyone I come in contact with."

His San Diego direct line is.... (619) 446-6978
His Palm Springs direct line is.... (866) 437-5244
His email address is....
His website address is....

Unlike some sons, Jeff Nelson, did not follow in his father's footsteps since his involvement in real estate pre-dated his father's. Nor does he confine himself to any one side of a real estate transaction; he represents buyers and sellers, though he does have a penchant for working with buyers. Also, he ranges farther a field than most other realtors in that he shows property in Scripps Ranch, Poway, La Mesa, Downtown San Diego, Mission Beach Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Carmel Valley Del Mar and Rancho Penasquitos.

Jeff has been in real estate since 1994 when he started working at the San Diego Association of Realtors. In 1995 he became the Director of Legal Services and was the liaison to five core committees including Risk Reduction, Professional Standards, Mediation, Grievance and Realtor/Attorney. He is the consummate real estate agent: knowledgeable and professional. He utilizes open houses, yard signs, the internet and, of course, the MLS. With prices having dropped in the past few years, the bulk of Jeff*s sales come from the low (under $417K) and moderate price range ($417-$730K). His particular areas of expertise are short sales, 1031 exchanges, probate land sales and 55+ communities. Among his professional memberships and accreditations are the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, San Diego Association of Realtors, Real Estate Buyer*s Agent Council, National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents.

Personal quote: "I am an independent broker who works personally with each client. I am a seasoned negotiator and enjoy working for my clients in any capacity, buyer or seller. I am an expert in Internet communication and marketing and carry the National Association of Realtors Prestigious e-PRO designation."

His direct line is (858) 549-4444 and his email address is
His website address is

Pamela Parkinson has sold over 1000 home in the course of her 25 years in real estate, the bulk of it in new home sales. Over the years she has worked for major developers like Woodcrest, Greystone, and Lennar. In working at Lennar, she strove to live up to Lennar"s motto that her customers be "tickled, delighted and happy" with the handling of their transaction. Pam was the lead agent for many of their most prestigious developments like Bressi Ranch and The Lakes above Rancho Santa Fe. Due to her extensive experience she is comfortable in representing properties from the inexpensive condo to the multi-million dollar estate and everything in between. Her knowledge and professionalism inspire trust and confidence. She also has a knack for being able to put buyers and sellers at ease. These qualities and her follow-up after the sale have won her a loyal following of buyers and contributed heavily to her amassing her truly enviable sales record.

Some 18 month ago, she transitioned into residential resales representing Prudential California Realty. After years representing builders and interfacing with buyers, she says she enjoys being a buyer's agent every bit as much as representing a seller. Pam prides herself on her honesty and looking out for the best interests of her clients. She is also particularly adept as a relocation specialist and working with seniors. Pam employs all of the marketing tools at her disposal: the MLS, open houses, print ads, signage, internet, and the corporate and relocation muscle of Prudential Realty. Because of her experience in new homes she has closed transactions all over San Diego County, but prefers the neighborhoods of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside and along the I-15 corridor in North County. She is familiar with a variety of conventional loan programs and government ones like FHA. Pam believes that networking pays dividends "because you never know who someone else many know". She is a member of Facebook and by simply being friendly and out-going she has picked up numerous clients while working out at 24-Hour Fitness. As a consequence, she lightheartedly claims to be one of the strongest realtors in Carlsbad.

Personal quote: "With over 25 years in the industry and over 1000 sales, my experience surpasses the competition. My goal is to exceed my clients' expectations."

Her office phone is.... (760) 431-3331
Her cell phone number is.... (760) 805-0979
Her email address is....

Christian Ostergaard and his father, Fred, own Ocean Hills Realty which is responsible for the lion's share of all sales in the 1633-unit development known as the Ocean Hills Country Club (OHCC). Despite the company's many listings, Christian functions as both a buyer's agent and listing agent. The Ostergaards go the extra mile with their listings, checking to make sure that vacant properties are maintained. Since the OHCC is an age-restricted community it has afforded him more experience than most realtors in being sensitive to the needs and concerns of seniors. He utilizes open houses, the MLS, the internet, signage and networking to marketing his listings. He is one of the few semi-bilingual agents on the list that speaks as he put it "un poquito" Spanish. In the event, that Russian is your native tongue, his wife, Larisa is fluent in that language, as well. In accordance with the price range of homes in the OHCC and the surrounding areas, Christian's sales niche runs upwards from $250 to 800K. The cities that he shows property in are mostly Oceanside, Carlsbad, & Vista. He is familiar with conventional purchases and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) or reverse mortgages. When I asked him if he had any particular trait or quality he'd care to list, he gave one that no other realtor mentioned, patience. It is no doubt a quality that is much appreciated by his buyers, for he cares about his clients.

His direct line is (760) 419-1386
His email address is....
His website address is....

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