Biggest Mistakes Newport Beach and Laguna Beach Luxury Home Sellers Make!


In order to be the expert on my area of expertise, each week I attend various real estate meetings and tour Broker “Preview” opportunities (i.e. new listings) for Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. In any given week, I personally tour over 50 luxury homes just becoming available in our market in the $1,000,000 and above price range.

When I tour available listings, what surprises me most are the BIGGEST MISTAKES NEWPORT BEACH and LAGUNA BEACH LUXURY HOME SELLERS MAKE! 

While I’m sure you have heard about the return of multiple offers on properties, keep in mind, by and large, that applies to homes priced WAY BELOW the luxury home market.  So, for the most part, 9 out of 10 buyers do not have the horsepower or economic wherewithal to entertain purchasing in your price range.  With that being said, Luxury Home Sellers need to apply these simple ways to insure your home has the best chance to sell over your luxury competition. 

STAGING THE SCENE (your home) IS OMNIPOTENT.  Period.  I cannot emphasize that statement enough.  At your Luxury Level of living, “home” does not adequately define where you live.  Yours is an “experience”, a retreat, a show piece!  You must stage it accordingly. 

Stop for a second and think back to when you acquired this castle. What incredible attributes drew you here?  Or did you create this magnificent palace once you took up residence?  Regardless of the answer, the ambiance or aura your home has presently is what you convey to a potential purchaser. 

This is the information I would counsel a Newport Beach and Laguna Beach Luxury Home Seller to follow in order to obtain the highest possible price for their home:

Start with the basics:

§  Remove the clutter (put some of the furniture & clothes in storage if necessary), clear off counters, take down the family pictures, clean out the garage.

§  Wash all windows inside & out (including screens).  (For a “no streak” shimmer use professional Zep cleaner from Lowe’s)

§  Add touches of color where possible. (afghan throw on the living room sofa, new accent pillows, etc)

§  Clean EVERYTHING… Sparkling Clean.  Clean the carpet. Have a maid service in at least once a week.  No finger prints on surfaces, hard flooring should shine, clean the stove and inside the refrigerator, polish the door knobs and address numbers on the house.

§  Bring in the landscaper and lawn service to freshen up the floral appeal and manicure the lawn. Put bright, colorful flowers on the walk to the front entrance and at the front door.

§  Make ALL minor repairs. (No sticky doors, torn screens, burned out light bulbs, cracked caulking, no drippy faucets, no unstretched, wavy carpet)

§  Repair any holes or cracks in driveway and walkways.

§  Put away personal items. (Including in the bathrooms)  Lock up any valuables, money or prescriptions.

§  During showings & open houses, send your pets to a neighbor’s home.

You know a discerning affluent buyer is all about detail, so here’s your “money shot” advice:

1.         Bring in a professional florist to make tasteful, colorful centerpieces for your tables. (colorful flowers or fruit)

2.         Have a “scent” system installed throughout the home…use a smell that isn’t overpowering. There are some systems you can install that can be programmed for different scents in different rooms/locations. (Personally, I love fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for the kitchen.)

3.         Have a designer give you suggestions on accent walls & wall surfaces that will increase the appeal in different areas. (If you don’t already have accent walls)

4.         Even if you aren’t an art buff, add some pieces in the entry foyer and formal living areas.

5.         Change the front drive to patterned concrete or freshen up the color and sealant if it already exists.

6.         Make the Master Bath and most prevalent secondary bath feel luxurious. Buy new towels, put out the decorative soaps, put out spa robes, put flower pedals in 4 inches of water in the tub. (Even better if the tub is a claw-foot)

7.         If your window treatments are heavy fabric drapes, change to sheers that let in more light.

8.         Put new logs in the fireplace and put a basket of flowers in front.  (if it’s not in use)

9.         Set the scene.  Set the dining room table with your fine china, candles (unlit) and centerpiece.

10.     Create vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. (i.e. in the gameroom, display a chess board with pieces set as if a game is ongoing and so on) 

I’ve had sellers hire professional staging companies if they prefer an easier solution. Regardless of how you accomplish the aforementioned, the results and price the home will bring will far outweigh the effort and expense.  When compared to other competing listings, yours will be far more appealing, leave a lasting impression and attract a buyer much quicker and at a higher price.

If you would like more information contact Suzanne Johns, your Newport Beach and Laguna Beach Luxury Homes realtor at 949-973-4485 or email her at 

MultiFamily Becomes Real Estate Investment Preference

Sign of the Times: Office REIT Accelerates Move Into Multifamily

CoStar News has reported Mack-Cali Realty Corp. (NYSE:CLI), paid out about $180 million in common stock dividends last year and announced it intends to reduce its second quarter common stock dividend by one-third . The move signals Mack-Cali’s view that office properties in its markets don’t hold as much potential as multifamily properties in the same markets. 

“With the current demand for office space the dividend reduction represents a prudent step in retaining cash to invest in our multifamily residential platform along with use for general corporate purposes,” said Mitchell E. Hersh, president and CEO of Edison, NJ-based Mack-Cali, in a statement announcing the change.  

With the foreclosure/REO market so prevalent in the last 5 years, these previous homeowners are now renters, creating a very tight and competitive rental market.  This is not an isolated indicator.  I am seeing this as a trend.  If you have cash to invest and are willing to wait for a market rebound, and as many real estate moguls will tell you, the time to buy is when the market is down or hasn’t fully made its rebound.

The TREND shows investors are clamoring to buy multi-family properties.  Like all instances in history, when demand increases, price increases, thus driving ROI down.  In Los Angeles and Orange Counties, I am seeing 4-5% Cap Rates…Not the 7-9% of days gone by.  In most cases, the multi-family properties that come on the market are in need of repairs or renovation while still bringing higher prices and shorter market time.  This is a “Buyer Beware” market.  Please contact Suzanne Johns at 949-973-4485 or if you are considering moving your capital from another market segment.

What people are saying about Suzanne Johns

What people say about SJ!

·         Suzanne is transparent, candid, extremely knowledgeable, & thrives on chaos. She is very detail-oriented & never loses sight of each client’s strategic objectives. She was recommended to me by our corporate CEO. She found the most incredibly perfect place for me…she even had the fridge stocked for my move in! I’ve worked with countless realtors over the years, but none can compete with her.  J. Swensen, Partner

 ·         Suzanne is the most aggressive, forward thinking professional I know. She is accountable and stands by her word and gets things done! I recommend her 110%!!!  Sir C. Crozier

 ·         Suzanne is a self-motivated & driven entrepreneur who keeps her eye on the goal at all times. She is highly educated in her chosen career and will continue to have a positive impact on the real estate industry for many years to come.  M.J. Murphy, President

·         Suzanne is an amazing person! She has high integrity and character. She thinks of her client first and is quick to be a giver! I am honored to know such a wonderful person!  Rev. C. Esijian

·         Suzanne was professional, accessible, and educated.  J. Gomez, Managing Partner

·         Suzanne is one of the most creative, innovative, aggressive and enjoyable people I’ve worked with. The best way to describe her is — “There is no box!” She caps off her creativity with a sincere willingness to help others achieve their investment goals and conducts herself in a no-nonsense, professional manner. This lady gets things done!!  C. Harriman, CEO

·         Many different realtors were recommended to me, but Suzanne was immediately my first choice and I was never disappointed in that decision. Unlike others I’ve worked with, Suzanne listened carefully to what I wanted and worked tirelessly to make sure I found a place that fit my needs. Once we found something promising, she was extremely diligent about protecting my interests. In my 35 years of owning homes, she is the best I have ever worked with.  D. Griffin, CFO

·         It was difficult to choose only three good attributes that describe Suzanne. She is a woman of her word. She works hard, goes above and beyond the call of duty and is extremely knowledgeable in her field. She also comes up with very creative ideas in terms of financing and investment possibilities. She makes everyone she works with comfortable & happy. Suzanne cannot be recommended highly enough! She is literally the best agent we have ever worked with. D. Hutton-Wiggins, Chief Medical Officer

·         Suzanne is the best out there!! She is certified in every aspect of her field. My clients have only great things to say about her. She is efficient, organized and a total “bull dog” when it comes to negotiating for her clients. I would recommend her to anyone!!  M. Perez, Sr Mortgage Banker

·         Suzanne gets it done. She is professional and delivers everything you could ask for from a real estate person. First class!      R. Robinson, Director of Film Productions

·         Suzanne is a consummate professional in her approach to Real Estate as either a Seller’s or Buyer’s Agent. I worked with Suzanne for over two years and she always received praising remarks from my borrowers. As an Executive in the Mortgage Industry for over 26 years, I have never found a more detailed, professional individual in this business. She will always give you an honest straight forward answer and always delivers what she promises. I would highly recommend her in any capacity as an individual with her integrity and expertise is hard to find.  Pete Kelly, Vice President, Vendor & Oversight

·         Suzanne has a terrific knowledge of the real estate and building business. She has a wonderful personality and work ethic. I would hire her again in a second!  M. Burge, RE/MAX International Ownership Group

·         From a personal perspective, I think Suzanne’s strengths are in problem solving, people management and her focus on achieving your goals. I highly recommend Suzanne!  C. Primas, CEO, DCI

Luxury Laguna Beach Realtor Suzanne Johns

Luxury Concierge Real Estate Broker Suzanne Johns

Opulence, Privacy, Discretion. The Luxury Quotient that Equates to a Concierge Experience and stellar standard of service. I know you Expect the Best! And I have the expertise to meet your expectations.

Suzanne brings a tremendous amount of experience, know-how and credibility to her buyers and sellers and has extensive experience in the high end luxury market.  Suzanne knows her clientele expect the best and has the expertise to meet those expectations! Suzanne is a licensed Broker in California and Texas and brings buyers and sellers together nationwide.

Suzanne demonstrates a commitment to serve high net worth individuals, from top business industries to athletes and the entertainment world, by delivering a stellar standard of concierge service. She understands these high profile clients expect exclusivity, elegance and authenticity while privacy and discretion are top priority in their real estate experience.

For over 30 years, the cornerstone of Suzanne’s success is to deliver on her clients’ expectations.  Regardless if she is working with a superstar or representing a family home, Suzanne makes sure to never forget her mantra, “EVERY client is a VIP…it’s more than an attitude, it’s a mentality.”

What differentiates Suzanne’s service? She has multiple advanced designations (acquired through performance and results) and training. You should expect a higher level of customer service, something that will make it a game changer for you. Suzanne has her GRI (graduate of the Realtor’s Institute), CRS (certified residential specialist meaning she has sold over 100 homes in a one year period in my career), ABR (accredited buyer’s representative), SFR (short sale foreclosure resource agent) and e-Pro (Internet specialist) designations along with continually attend training classes to keep up with current market trends.