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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Category: APR in the News
Agents Sound Off


Nick Granoski
Palo Alto

Question: What do buyers and sellers often fail to account for?

Answer: The power of live conversation can be underestimated in this age of technology, especially as it relates to fast-moving real estate transactions.

Buyers and sellers are using technology to be faster and more efficient with communicating via text, e-mail, etc. While this does facilitate faster communication, it’s important to remember that real estate transactions can also be emotional, and technology does not always translate emotions effectively. Feelings matter, and deals come together (or fall apart) based on what is communicated or interpreted.

Live conversation during transactions can quickly clear up misconceptions or assumptions faster and more cohesively than an ongoing exchange of e-mails or text messages back and forth. Tone of voice, clarity and questions that evolve based on the flow of conversation can be assessed quickly, accurately and will save both buyers and sellers lots of money and time when done correctly. Don’t underestimate the power of communicating the old-fashioned way when it comes to effective real estate transactions.

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Please join us in welcoming our newest additions to the Alain Pinel Realtors family.


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Mark Stornetta Named Sales Manager for the Wine Country

StornettaSONOMA, CA – Alain Pinel Realtors (APR), the fifth largest residential real estate firm in the United States, has named Mark Stornetta as the Sales Manager for the Wine Country overseeing the brokerage’s Sonoma office. The Sonoma office will continue to be managed under Rick Turley, APR Vice President and Managing Broker of San Francisco and the Wine Country.

Born and raised in the North Bay with over 30 years in the wine industry, finance, and real estate, Stornetta has represented some of the finest vineyards, ranches, and residential properties. Having built his business on referrals, he prides himself on his honest, ethical, and detail-oriented approach to real estate.

“Mark has extensive knowledge and knows the Sonoma and Napa markets better than anyone,” said Turley. “With his professional approach and vast experience combined with the trusted brand and historical track record of Alain Pinel Realtors, I am confident we will grow our footprint with incredible sales associates throughout the Wine Country.”

The move reflects an ongoing commitment from APR to grow its presence in the area. APR made a splash last year when it hired Turley, former President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s San Francisco Bay Area Regions, to oversee growth in the area. The firm also hired Tim Freeman, a former manager of Coldwell Banker’s largest Wine Country office, to oversee the training of new agents.

“I look forward to working with Rick and the rest of the leadership team at Alain Pinel Realtors in furthering our reach in the region. Having lived and worked in the Wine Country, I’m thrilled to be part of a team that believes in its promise.”

Stornetta earned his B.S. degree in agricultural business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, then spent nine years as a Farm Credit loan officer and branch manager in Sonoma Valley before joining Glen Ellen Winery as a general partner and CFO. For the past decade, Stornetta has been pleased to be involved with complex purchases and sales of Wine Country real estate.

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Agents Sound Off


Lance Fulford
San Francisco

Question: What features add the most value to a home?

Answer: Value — like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder, and in my 20-plus years of experience as a local Realtor, there are multiple differences between buyers in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.

Across the board, however, I would rank a garage as the most valued. This is followed by outdoor space (patio, deck or gardens) and a remodeled kitchen and baths.

Many buyers will forgo remodeled features if they can get a “better” location or one that they put higher value on for their life stage and/or lifestyle.

Then we get into floor plan and functionality, and finer points such as hardwood flooring, moldings and other details including energy upgrades.

Buyers don’t put a value on structural items like foundation or a heating system because they expect those will be there and take that as a given. However, if structural items are an issue or are missing, most buyers will eliminate the property from their list altogether.

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Agents Sound Off


Julie Leitzell
Mill Valley

Question: How important is it for Bay Area residents to carry earthquake insurance? Why or why not?

Answer: Whether a homeowner should carry earthquake insurance depends on where the home is located, how it is built, the level of retrofitting and the kind of soil it sits on.

In Marin County, the majority of older neighborhoods are built on rock and solid soil. That’s one reason most of my clients forgo the earthquake insurance. Another big factor is how much equity they have in their home, and also the amount of damage that would have to happen to meet their deductible.

Given that our median price in Marin is hovering around $1 million, and many homes will cost at least that much to rebuild, those homeowners who have earthquake insurance will spend at least $100,000 on repairs or rebuilding before an insurer begins to pick up the costs. Given the history of Marin County’s earthquake damage, many residents feel it’s more financially prudent to ‘self-insure’ and have funds in the bank for repairs should they be necessary.

However, everyone should consider the possibility that their home could be a total loss in an earthquake. The Earthquake Authority has made its insurance more attractive in the last decade, adding content insurance, an allowance for temporary housing and an option for a lower deductible. Log on to the California Earthquake Authority website to find an easy-to-use calculator that estimates premiums based on various scenarios.

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