TOP REAL ESTATE AGENT IN CALIFORNIA SUSAN KASTNER
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An unwaveringly positive attitude is necessary for success, according to top real estate agent in California Susan Kastner of Partners Trust in Santa Monica, California. She should know. After 25 years in real estate, including 20 in Southern California, she has experienced many different market conditions. “You have to be upbeat and see the positive aspects in the market all the time,” she says. “Even in a challenging market, there are ways to remain active and upbeat. Putting that kind of personality out there every day helps.” Having started real estate as a side job to her earlier careers in advertising and attorney recruitment, Susan’s business now includes her longtime assistant and a buyer’s agent. The team serves buyers and sellers from Pacific Palisades to Beverly Hills, including Santa Monica, Brentwood, Westwood, Bel Air, Mar Vista, Venice and even Malibu.
Susan’s clients appreciate her good sense of the pulse of L.A. real estate. She has covered the market during its most explosive growth and prides herself on continually researching and understanding its trends. “Time permitting, I go on caravan on Tuesdays and Sundays; it’s so important to view every property, even if it’s not what your buyers are looking for. You have to be informed in your areas.” Susan’s buyers and sellers rely on her for the wealth of knowledge she provides them as well as her one-on-one attention.
“I never put a property in escrow and have a team member take over from there,” says Susan. “I’m always there, paying attention to every detail. Even my most savvy buyers and sellers who have worked with me previously want to know I’m involved in the deal.” Once a transaction closes, she stays in regular contact. “I send cards every few months, follow-up emails, phone calls and plan luncheons to catch up with my clients. A lot of us are friends on Facebook and so we know what’s going on in each other’s lives.” She explains that a successful, seasoned agent makes the effort to stay in tune with their current and past clients’ needs.
“With a buyer, I listen to their needs and wants, rather than showing them anything and everything,” she says. “They know I look for every pocket listing there is and that I know the latest sales comparables.” Susan also enjoys strong relationships with other agents; the mutual respect they share is key to success in a market that often comes down to being in-the-know on pocket listings. “I am willing to work 24/7,” she says. “I have my phone on all the time, even if I’m out and I’ll answer it any time, other than dinner time, when everyone should put it away!”
For listings, Susan’s sales plan includes a comprehensive marketing program incorporating professional photography and virtual tours; comprehensive market analysis with strategic pricing; constant feedback; immediate showings when requested; distinctive brochures; and wide advertising on websites, social media and in various print sources. “My listings are highlighted in my monthly newsletter and I run a commercial featuring my listings every 3-7 minutes at Bay City Deli on Lincoln Bvld. in Santa Monica,” she says. “I’m also in constant contact with thousands of other top agents via a Top Agent Network promotional site.”
Susan’s visibility as a devoted resident of the area bolsters her relationships with prospective clients and business people. Openly giving credit to her life as a single parent, she is fully devoted to her teenage son, saying motherhood served as a terrific, additional motivator. “I’m very involved in every school he has attended and have sponsored charities for all of them,” she says, noting her passion for supporting the community. Additionally, she is active with City of Hope, Heal the Bay, and she also sponsors and donates to organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs, the Mission, LATM and Salvation Army plus belongs to the Jonathan Club. Each year, Partners Trust also chooses new charities to which Susan designates a portion of every paycheck.
Susan is excited to expand her team over the next five years, but she’ll do so very carefully. “The people on your team are a reflection of you,” she says. After all, she has a reputation to uphold. For more than a decade, Susan has received numerous awards such as the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Agents in California and annual RealTrends.com awards. As someone who enjoys engaging with people and making friends through her work, Susan promises herself and her loyal clientele that she will remain involved as business grows.