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The Home Co. Realtors of Oakland, California
Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016
Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World
Oakland, California, January 12, 2016 – The Home Co. Realtors of Oakland, CA has won “Best Of Customer Service” Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The real estate renovation and sales firm was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.
The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign oftheir commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
“We are so thankful that our clients have continued to recognize our unique capabilities as a specialized real estate brokerage not only offering property listing and selling services, but also in-house staging, design and renovation services” said Jennifer Montague Clark, owner/broker of The Home Co. “As a ‘one-stop-shop’ we truly simplify the process for our extremely busy clientele.”
“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize The Home Co., voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”
Follow The Home Co. on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/thehomeco
About The Home Co.
The Home Co. is a boutique real estate firm in the San Francisco East Bay Area that specializes in residential real estate sales and renovation and design consulting for property resale since 2007.
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.
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This video was commissioned by HGTV and produced by Lusid Media. The show concept and working title was "Radical Renovations" to showcase some of the more unique properties purchased, renovated and "flipped" by husband and wife team, Jennifer Montague Clark (Founder, The Home Co. Realtors) and Steve Clark (Founder, RFC Renovations & Design) in the San Francisco Bay Area. https://vimeo.com/109721798
Residential real estate prices are still climbing in one of the nation’s hottest markets, Oakland, California. A recent listing by The Home Co. Realtors in the ultra-desirable Rockridge neighborhood received 30 offers and is setting a new record price per square foot.
Oakland, CA (PRWEB) November 04, 2014
373-63rd Street, listed by Jennifer Montague of The Home Co. Realtors, is only 1,400 square feet per public record. Yet after only 12 days on the market, 30 offers from anxious buyers inundated the 12-year real estate veteran. An all-cash offer for $1.5M was ultimately accepted and the property will close escrow on November 5th- just a quick seven days after it was accepted. The sale price represents a record-breaking $1,071 per square foot.
“I was absolutely stunned by the level of interest” said Montague, who not only listed the property as Owner/Broker of The Home Co. Realtors, but who also acted as designer and stager for this recently renovated home. "My design was a fresh and modern interpretation of this 1915 Craftsman that clearly resonated with buyers,” Montague said. The high-quality renovation performed by general contractor RFC Renovations and Design, combined with the allure of Rockridge, made this the hottest property in town.
With its delectable eateries, unique shops, walkability, and proximity to BART, Rockridge is already Oakland’s most desirable neighborhood, but this record-breaking sale truly validates the buzz surrounding the other City by the Bay.
The Home Co. Realtors is a boutique real estate firm that specializes in residential real estate sales and renovation and design consulting for property resale. RFC Renovations and Design is a licensed general contracting company specializing in high quality residential renovations.
“Do You Believe in Miracles?”
I rarely write about architecture in these blogs, and I have never written about one of those property-flipping ventures wherein people buy distressed properties, fix them up, and sell them at a profit. The reason for eschewing the latter revolves around integrity, which paradoxically enough, is why I have made an exception for today’s blog! Let’s start with the integrity issue, because in the end, everything revolves around it. If you know what it means to “flip” a property, the odds are very large that you learned it on one of those made-for-TV reality shows. If that wording sounds a little biased it’s because I have such disdain for what they’re doing with those shows. They feature unrealistic budgets, often incompetent renovators, and they fail to tell the whole truth. Those few who actually make a profit typically achieve that status because of building materials donated in exchange for an on-show mention. The other aspect of it is the work itself. Invariably, those “flippers” who are thinking in terms of truly improving a property are repeatedly counseled that the property does not have to actually be improved. It just has to look improved.
But for all my disdain for those shows, I do actually know that there are a fair number of people who enter into this for all of the right reasons. They obviously hope to turn a profit, but along with that hope is the expectation that they will actually have to EARN that profit with the work they do on the property. They’re careful about the properties they purchase because some are so far gone that it would never make economic sense to refurbish them unless they cut corners like those TV characters, and to do so is little better than fraud. But that brings us back to that issue of integrity. For all the home improvement fraud that hits the headlines from time to time, there are still a great many others who commit to doing the absolute best job that know how to do. Couple that with a flair for design and sound construction/refurbishing skills, and suddenly you have a project that interests even one as jaded as I have become at viewing the schlock that passes for renovation work on TV these days.
What Steve and Jennifer Clark saw in this Oakland, California property is beyond me. I am quite certain that it is a project I never would have wanted to involve myself in because you’re sure to find all kinds of unpleasant surprises once you start opening the walls to renovate. As it turned out they actually replaced pretty much everything there except the exterior shell. And even the exterior was given a reimaging because I don’t think facelift quite covers what they did here.
The house itself was originally a barbershop. It was built in 1920 as one of those living/work spaces that seemed to flourish in that era. The barber served his customers in front, then at the end of the day he retired to living quarters in the rear of the building. The years passed, and the property changed hands and functions a number of times, eventually morphing into a home only and then, as is sometimes the case, a badly maintained home. It finally fell into the hands of one who tried to do some renovations, but who clearly lacked the skills to do the job properly. The city of Oakland ended up condemning the property, and the owner defaulted on the mortgage. Enter the good guys.
Steve and Jennifer Clark purchased it out of foreclosure and then spent over a year and a half renovating the house, working closely with the city of Oakland to ensure that the property met or exceeded all codes for structural integrity, energy efficiency, and health & safety. But all a city building permit office does is ensure the structural integrity of the proposed renovations. They don’t engage in the speculative, the innovative, the daring. Those things come from the builder or they don’t come at all.
One of the reasons I’ve not written about this kind of work before is because I much prefer things like kitchen remodelings. And I prefer them, in turn, because of the incredible creativity I often see in that field. Ripping out the old cabinets and replacing them with new refurbishes a kitchen, but there’s no real wow factor. What I like is those kitchen remodelings that just take your breath away. And that brings me back to what Steve and Jennifer Clark have done with this home. On their sales flyer they stated that the property had been “rezoned, reimagined and repurposed as a unique and impressive single family dwelling,” which sounds like so much advertising copy until you look at the before and after pictures of the property.
How well did they do? Well, let’s put it this way. Think hotcakes. The moment this house hit the market they were inundated with offers, and they actually ended up selling it for considerably more than the listing price because of the ensuing bidding war. Those who bought the property surely knew of its previous condition, but they didn’t shell out that kind of money for a slick property renovation. They did it for the very reason that kitchen remodelings have always so fascinated me, because the end result was nothing short of spectacular.
What most intrigued me about this project is the condition of the property when Steve and Jennifer Clark got involved with it—well, that and the condition of the property when they came to the end of the project and put it up for sale! Miracles, by definition, are divine, which necessarily lets out anything man-made, but a transformation as total as this one certainly knocks on Miracle’s Door!
Marni Jameson: The couple that remodels together
By Marni Jameson
Posted: 07/25/2013 10:00:00 AM PDT | Updated: 7 months ago
Some married couples, Lord knows how, work together in business. Some couples, heaven help them, remodel together. Jennifer and Steve Clark, of Lafayette, somehow do both.
The Clarks, who have been married seven years and have three kids, not only team up to renovate other people's properties; they also regularly update their own living space.
I'm all for couples collaborating on home improvements. I personally have built, or rebuilt, three homes with my spouse over the years. But many couples who have survived a remodel would rather sleep on a bed of glass shards than renovate with their mates again.
This is because we humans like -- no, rely on -- stability, consistency and routine. Remodeling upends all that. Suddenly you're doing dishes in the bathtub and brushing your teeth with the garden hose.
But sometimes it works out, as the Clarks will attest. After talking with them, I can tell you their success isn't because one is meek as a daffodil while the other's a steamroller. On the contrary, the Clarks both have formidable personalities and run their own companies.
Steve, a general contractor, owns RFC, a residential construction company. Jennifer, a real estate agent, owns The Home Co., a realty, design and staging firm. Four years ago, they began collaborating on each other's projects.
"Honestly, a lot of times I would butt in when I heard him talking about paint color," says Jennifer. "I couldn't let him paint a house a horrible color, so I would dive in."
Steve agrees that his construction clients can benefit from his wife's design and home-staging advice, while Jennifer's real estate clients often need renovation work that Steve can do. So far, they have collaborated on 15 residential renovations for others and a few at their own home. Though clashes happen even for this well-oiled machine, they share advice on how they resolve conflicts.
Money. "We'll set a budget," says Steve, "and we always go 25 to 30 percent over." While that's pretty standard in most remodels, Steve would like to bring costs closer to estimates. But if Jennifer feels strongly about installing a $1,400 vanity that puts the project over budget, they look for other places to cut. "If we were talking about a vacation to Hawaii, we may decide to go to Lake Tahoe instead," says Steve. "If we're going to splurge somewhere, we have to recapture somewhere else."
Masculine or feminine? Couples often clash over design that's female (colorful) vs. male (industrial). The Clarks are no exception. On "wallpaper, for instance, guys tend to think it is over-the-top feminine," says Jennifer. "So we compromise, and just do one accent wall, which makes a statement."
Timing. "Nobody wants to live in a renovation, so the key to keeping conflict down on the home front is to minimize the under-construction period by good planning," says Jennifer. "Have everything selected before you start." Use Pinterest. Pin your vision there, pulling together images of inspirational rooms, tiles, light fixtures, paint colors and fabric swatches.
Give options, negotiate. Whoever leads the design decisions should give his or her partner choices. "I need to give Steve options," says Jennifer, "because it's his home, too." So when it's time to pick a chandelier, Jennifer will select four she likes, and ask Steve to pick one. However, if Jennifer must have a light fixture he isn't crazy about, they negotiate. "I say, if we go with your chandelier, can we upgrade the TV from a 48-inch to a 52-inch?" adds Steve.
Know what your partner does better. In the Clarks' case, Steve appreciates Jennifer's decisiveness: "She can look at three colors, pick one and go." Jennifer likes Steve's leadership skills. He served in the Army, so "he really can whip his crews into shape," she says. On a home project, her decisiveness and his ability to keep the crew moving make for efficient teamwork.
Use professional courtesy. Treat each other as pros. Steve says, "I sometimes speak to Jennifer as if she were one of my soldiers or employees. She has to remind me that she has her own company and is a professional. She's right. We should treat each other better than our employees and better than our clients."
When tempers flare ... Jennifer says, "We definitely have our moments and exchange looks that say 'I can't stand you right now.' " To restore peace, they hear each other out. They also know when to step away and cool off and when to agree to disagree.
"Eventually we both know that, when we consider our family and future together, nothing is worth fighting over," Jennifer says. "Plus, we love doing this and know that together we can create something even bigger and better."
After collaborating on 15 residential renovations, plus their own house, Jennifer and Steve Clark, of Lafayette, have learned how to remodel and stay happily married. Here they are seen during the transformation of an Oakland church into a home. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Clark). See article and photo at http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23718428/marni-jameson-couple-that-remodels-together?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com
Marni Jameson is the author of "House of Havoc" and "The House Always Wins" (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.