Caroline Hobbs, Broker and owner of Silicon Valley’s Reward Realty has been building her business since 2013. Her expertise in buying and selling houses have continued to help people achieve their real estate goals and ensure that they walk away happy. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Caroline is one of Palo Alto’s most trusted real estate brokers.
Hi Caroline, firstly can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got your start as a broker?
As a child my mother sold new homes, so you could say that real estate is in my blood. I have always enjoyed design and architecture, so while studying in college I took a job on the weekends as an open house host for a top agent in Palo Alto. This experience was invaluable and encouraged me to pursue a career in Real Estate after graduation. I love helping people through the buying and selling process and find it to be truly rewarding. Many of my clients are first time home buyers or young families. As a mom myself, I understand the important role your home plays in your family’s security, safety and overall day to day life. Finding the right fit, is my number one priority.
Was opening a real estate brokerage something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to start my own business one day, however it wasn’t until I was licensed and selling homes that I knew opening my own brokerage to be the long term goal.
When did you decide to start your own brokerage Reward Realty?
I opened Reward Realty in 2013 and have been growing the company ever since.
What is it that makes Reward Realty so special?
Reward Realty is a small, boutique brokerage in Silicon Valley. My agents and I pride ourselves in the work that we do and work hard to go above and beyond for each and every client. Integrity and honesty are at the core of our values and it is important to me that this rings true for every member of our team. As a company we are always trying to push the envelope and utilize technology to help make every transaction as smooth and seamless as possible.
What is your process like when dealing with a new client?
The process looks a little different depending on whether you are looking to buy or sell or both. Regardless, we will start with a video conference call where we can sit down to discuss your goals and timeline. During our call we will go over the process in detail and come up with a customized plan for you.
What advice would you give to someone searching for their dream home?
I think the trick to finding the right home is to keep an open mind. No home is perfect at any price point. Identify absolute must haves for your new home whether those be schools, commute time, property features, etc. Understanding your needs vs wants from the beginning will help us hone in on the right property.
What is your opinion of the real estate market?
This is a great market for both buyers and sellers. For sellers, prices are at record highs and properties are selling quickly with multiple offers. For buyers, although prices are high, they continue to rise so getting into a home sooner rather than later could save you tens of thousands of dollars. Its very competitive right now, but if you are able to purchase you’ll be making an excellent long term investment in one of the strongest housing markets in the country.
What impact has COVID had on real estate trends in Silicon Valley?
COVID 19 has changed the way many of us live and work. A home office is no longer a luxury, its a necessity. With people staying home, they are looking for more space. The market for condos has taken a big dip since the beginning of shelter in place orders in March 2020. The condos I have seen hit particularly hard are the luxury condominiums located close to large businesses. People are no longer willing to pay a premium to be close to work. Single family homes have been seeing strong returns in most areas. Since Jan 1, 2021 we have seen homes selling on average around 117% of asking price, with no end in sight. Low inventory, record low interest rates and new work from home lifestyles are the primary drivers behind the appreciation.
When will home prices drop in the Bay Area?
Employment is the number one factor that affects home prices. The Bay Area is headquarters for some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world. Not only do they bring a lot of job opportunities to the area, but they are generally high paying jobs with excellent benefits and stock grants. Given the number of well paid employees and lack of inventory, we find buyers continuing to bid up the price of homes in order to secure a property. That being said, unless there were some major economic shifts similar to 2008, I do think it is very unlikely that we will see home prices drop at all during 2021 or 2022.
Thank you Caroline for your time!
You can follow up with Caroline Hobbs at www.carolinelovesmorganhill.com