TOP REAL ESTATE AGENT IN CALIFORNIA SALLY FORSTER JONES
Flexibility and quick thinking are vital traits of the agent whose listings might include a $10 million slice of Desert Paradise in Rancho Mirage, a $22 million Grand Beverly Hills estate and a $29 million, elegant beachfront residence on Malibu’s prestigious Carbon Beach. The same goes for the agent who co-brokered the 2011 $85 million sale of the Spelling Manor, owned by Candy Spelling and built by Spelling’s late husband, TV producer Aaron Spelling. When the agent for all of the above is Sally Forster Jones, clients and business partners know they will receive the utmost in care and keeping. That’s because when Sally agrees to work with a client, she is 100% committed. “I put everything I know into thinking of who the buyer is, how we’re going to market a property and how we’re going to create the best experience for the buyer and seller with the least amount of aggravation.”
In serving luxury homeowners and buyers in and around Beverly Hills or as far away as Tel Aviv, Israel, Sally’s clients and the public know how intimately involved she is with each relationship and transaction. From marketing their listings to the details of every transaction, she collaborates with the professionals on her staff to create visions and plans. Each team member, she says, is dedicated to supporting each other in order to make every client’s experience as extraordinary as possible. “I have experts on my team who are far better than I am in many aspects of our work and I rely on their expertise,” throughout the process of nurturing buyers’ and sellers’ needs.
That meticulous process involves knowing significantly more than what buyers and sellers are able to find on their own. This is no easy task, given today’s knowledgeable real estate clients. “Even in the past few years, technology has changed things dramatically for real estate,” says Sally. “Buyers are much more educated than they were previously. Everything is at their fingertips and we have to respect that.” In most cases, by the time clients engage with REALTORS®, they already have ample information on the current market. REALTORS®, therefore, must add meaningful value to the relationship, says Sally. Doing so involves listening to and understanding clients’ needs in great de- tail and having advance knowledge about potential market changes. “A client may want to see a property based on what they know, but if I know exactly what they want and I’ve seen each property, I can help them narrow their choices.”
That same approach applies to the negotiation stages of each purchase. Sally’s high-profile clients don’t have spare time on their hands, but they can trust that Sally respects their time. “My job is to help them find the best property for their needs and negotiate the best price, transaction and overall experience,” she says. The goal is still the same as it always has been. With detailed information so readily available, however, buyers and sellers rightfully expect that agents have access to significant supplemental facts and figures.
For a top-tier REALTOR® like Sally, managing the expectations of luxury buyers and sellers in an age of instant gratification presents an opportunity she embraces. “I get hundreds of texts and emails a day and my clients know that I will respond right away unless I’m with a client.” Sally tailors her communication to the clients’ preferences; she may be texting one client regularly but having regular phone conversations with another. Serving each client with the attention they deserve also means bringing her talented staff into the fold to manage certain requests in the most timely fashion. “I look at each of my clients as clients for life,” she says. “I keep in touch with them because I enjoy them as people and consider them friends.”
The same advances in technology that give buyers and sellers so much information also give Sally and team opportunities to provide upscale services. For instance, she accesses robust international networks to present each of her listings to a global audience using discretion, taste and visionary marketing. “Staging and presentation are also extremely important,” says Sally. “We create a lifestyle for every property so when buyers come in, there’s an immediate reaction.” Sally and team also carefully vet the potential of interested parties to purchase their top listings. “There are a lot of people who want to get onto a property just to see it,” she says. “We owe it to our sellers to make sure anyone viewing the property has the wherewithal to buy. If there’s any question, we dig deeper.”
Refreshingly, in spite of her luxury market specialty, Sally at times has held the widest listing-price range of any LA-area REALTOR®. “At one point my transactions ranged from $75,000 to $150,000,000!” she says. “We take care of our clients, no matter what.” If one of her elite listing clients refers a friend or family member in a different area or price point, for example, Sally and team will do as good a job for that person as for any other client. When necessary, she’ll also bring other agents into the fold. This, among many reasons, is one way Sally has for decades remained a well-loved professional within various real estate networks. As an advocate for the industry and the success of all REALTORS®, Sally regularly shares her tips and expertise, extending her knowledge to real estate buyers, sellers, professionals and partners.
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