Meet the Team – Mary Pope-Handy and Clair Handy, a mother and daughter team with Christie’s International Real Estate Sereno.
I, Mary, have been selling homes full time for over three decades. Clair assisted me for years with various clerical and blog tasks, and later did more marketing, article writing, graphic design for some of the post artwork, social media sharing, and real estate errands generally.
In 2021, Clair received her California real estate license to take on a forward facing role in the team and became my junior partner.
We coordinate and do nearly everything together, whether it’s open houses, showings, or marketing efforts, but when there’s a time crunch and we need to be in two locations to accommodate our clients’ schedules, then we divide and conquer.
Learn about the folks supporting our team
Several people, companies, and systems assist us in our work with buyers and sellers in Silicon Valley. Most often, our clients will not see or speak with many of our team members much (if at all), but they are all part of the package, if on the “back end” much of the time. Without them, though, it would be impossible for us to assist our clients in getting their homes bought and sold.
We employ a transaction coordinator, Joe Chames (and team) of Serulian Virtual Services, who makes sure that the paperwork is complete when preparing homes to sell or when navigating clients through the sale and escrow period. With a myriad of places to sign and initial and papers not to forget, it’s helpful to have a second set of eyes on the file.
Additionally, other agents also review the file on behalf of Sereno management. When there are legal questions, which can come up from time to time, we have a legal counsel available to make sure that we as agents are walking the straight and narrow. (This is not legal guidance for our clients.) We get answers back within a business day, if not a few hours.
Finally, there are several agents who assist us in some cases (vacation, sickness, family emergencies) as I am part of a Realtor “co op” group in which we support each other when a hand is needed. If you work with Mary and Clair, there are two backup people or groups to make sure you are able to see homes or have things taken care of in case of vacation, illness, or unexpected issue.
We are very well supported on the office or brokerage level. When you hire us, you get a full staff behind us, too.
Our outside specialists
Whether buying or selling a silicon valley home or investment property, good inspections are critical. We don’t have one list for buyers and another for sellers – no matter which end of the transaction you’re on, you want excellent information. Surprises tend to sour escrows, so part of the plan in helping you avoid trouble is to avoid surprises. Only with excellent information can you make good decisions and have more control of the way your real estate sale progresses.
1. Home or Property Inspectors. It is crucial that your property inspector be exceedingly well trained, experienced, careful, clear, and through. In California, there is no license for home inspectors. However, there are a couple of trade groups which have a very high standard of practice. One is ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and the other is CREIA (California Real Estate Inspection Association).
You can find a list of ASHI Inspectors in Santa Clara County at this link. On this list, I’ve had extremely positive experiences with Brett Reeder of Compass Home Inspections especially.
2. Termite and Pest Inspectors. In California, especially in our sub-tropical coastal area of Silicon Valley, termites are an ongoing issue. We have both subterranean and drywood termites and sometimes even dampwood termites – plus boring beetles, carpenter ants, and many other wood destroying organisims.
By far and away, the termite company I prefer to work with (and have work on my own home) is Thrasher Termite & Pest Control. They are located in Los Gatos but serve all of Santa Clara County (and I believe occasionally go into nearby counties – they once helped me with a listing in Scotts Valley, which is in Santa Cruz County).
Thrasher Termite & Pest Control has a great website, or you can reach them by phone at 408 354-9944. I’ve learned a lot from the folks at Thrasher and have shared some of what I’ve learned from them in this blog and others. See also my article on How often should you get a termite inspection?
On the rare occasion that Thrasher is not available, there are other termite companies that I may need to use. Or, if I’m working with a buyer and the seller has pre-sale inspections, there are pest control companies whose work I trust to be ethical and thorough. The Pest Control Operators of California can provide a complete list of who does termite and pest work in the San Jose area, but we maintain a list of probably 10 local providers that we trust.
The State of California has a site, The Structural Pest Control Board, which has great information for consumers and agents alike, including a license lookup feature.
There are more inspectors whom I endorse and work with, but these two categories are the main ones.
(B) TITLE & ESCROW
There are a number of excellent title companies in Santa Clara County. The one that we prefer to work with is Fidelity National Title in Saratoga with Colleen Stevens, our escrow officer, and Tania Cheater, our title rep, to help us.
They are all also financially sound, which is critically important in today’s real estate landscape in Santa Clara County.
We have a short list of about 3-4 lenders I can refer to you. Some specialize in one type of loan or home situation, some another. Please contact me and I can give you a couple of names that are most likely to be a good fit for you.
If you have a particular bank that you want to work with, please don’t just call the toll free number on the website of that institution. Not every loan officer is as good as another. If we don’t have a name of someone for that lender, we will ask around and find you someone who’s got a known track record. This is imperative so that your escrow is one that’s as smooth and headache free as possible.
(D) And More….
Depending on your needs, we have assistance from movers to house cleaners to photographers and full-time stagers. The list is extensive, reflecting my many years in the business! (Licensed & full time since early 1993.) If we don’t have someone already on our vendors list, we’ll do some research and find some resources for our clients.