Compass California honors International Women’s Day

Original post on blog.pacificunion.com >

Real estate: career runway for women

Few fields today offer more avenues for advancement than residential real estate. According to NAR, a full 63 percent of Realtors® are women. (When the organization was founded in 1908,  membership was all-male – a situation that changed little until the ‘50s.) In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a look at how women’s roles in real estate continue to grow.

Megan Whalen  made a name for herself in Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood and has since become one of the Westside’s top agents ,  currently operating as MW Partners. She has been recognized as one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by Real Trends in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.

Megan Whalen made a name for herself in Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood and has since become one of the Westside’s top agents, currently operating as MW Partners. She has been recognized as one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by Real Trends in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.


Real estate offers women many perks that other fields don’t, including control over their own schedules and the ability to work from home. Now, in today’s fast-paced, competitive marketplace, leaders are quickly learning how critical having a wider range of perspectives is to success.

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Many investors are demanding more diversity, too. As the industry places growing importance on women’s advancement, their careers are starting to gain momentum and include more prominent roles.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin is one industry leader who’s never needed to be sold on the importance of women in his field. He grew up with a real estate agent mom, and watched as she searched for a brokerage firm that would give her the support she needed. “I’m proud that at Compass, we’re building the technology, marketing and community to allow my mom and people like her to be successful,” he says.

Inspired by the family trade,  Lisa Kirshner  learned all areas of the business, from commercial to residential to investments and syndication. With nearly 30 years of experience and an impressive personal network, Lisa leads her team in masterfully connecting discerning clients with Southern California’s greatest homes.

Inspired by the family trade, Lisa Kirshner learned all areas of the business, from commercial to residential to investments and syndication. With nearly 30 years of experience and an impressive personal network, Lisa leads her team in masterfully connecting discerning clients with Southern California’s greatest homes.


The company’s California executive team reflects his viewpoint, with COO Brent Thomson, VP of Marketing Jessica Grimes, Chief Economist & VP of Business Intelligence Selma Hepp, Southern California VP of Business Development Leah Sternberg and VP of Operations Chatty Arrieta.

Carey Haynes ’ 30 years of experience and guidance have played an integral role in bringing tech real estate company Compass and its forward-thinking brokerage model to the foothills of the San Gabriels. Haynes is consistently ranked amongst the highest-producing agents in the La Cañada vicinity and the top 1 percent of real estate agents nationwide.

Carey Haynes’ 30 years of experience and guidance have played an integral role in bringing tech real estate company Compass and its forward-thinking brokerage model to the foothills of the San Gabriels. Haynes is consistently ranked amongst the highest-producing agents in the La Cañada vicinity and the top 1 percent of real estate agents nationwide.


Younger women who are newer to the industry are less likely than mid-career women to feel stifled by a glass ceiling, according to the survey.

“At Compass, we believe in the power of entrepreneurial thinking,” says Brent Thomson, Chief Operating Officer. “We’re looking for people who move fast, dream big, and want to shape the direction of their own careers while reimagining the real estate experience.”

Michele Downing  has worked in real estate since 1988. In 2012 she became a Founding Partner of Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage in Pasadena. She has lived in South Pasadena for more than 32 years.

Michele Downing has worked in real estate since 1988. In 2012 she became a Founding Partner of Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage in Pasadena. She has lived in South Pasadena for more than 32 years.


Regardless of her position on the career ladder, there’s another way every woman in real estate can feel empowered. According to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, single women now account for 17 percent of homebuyers in the United States, compared with just 7 percent of single men.

Napa Valley agent  Hillary Ryan  has more than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate. She focuses on helping her clients transact wine country estates, vineyards, wineries, and commercial land development opportunities. Hillary has closed over $6 Billion transactions since the start of her real estate career in 1997.

Napa Valley agent Hillary Ryan has more than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate. She focuses on helping her clients transact wine country estates, vineyards, wineries, and commercial land development opportunities. Hillary has closed over $6 Billion transactions since the start of her real estate career in 1997.


A female professional is in a strong position to make a difference in these women’s lives by helping them achieve economic independence. And as Gloria Steinem noted, “Nothing changes the gender equation more significantly than women’s economic freedom.”

We are proud of all our Compass women real estate professionals. Here are just a few who were nominated by their office staff.

Jennifer Chrisman | Co-Founder, The Malibu Life Team

Jennifer Chrisman | Co-Founder, The Malibu Life Team

Nili Hudson | Agent

Nili Hudson | Agent

Pat Heller | Branch Manager

Pat Heller | Branch Manager

Val Steele  | Agent

Val Steele | Agent

Susan Jacobs  | Branch Manager

Susan Jacobs | Branch Manager

Sarah Kosasky | VP, Branch Manager Malibu

Sarah Kosasky | VP, Branch Manager Malibu

Gloria Carmona | Agent

Gloria Carmona | Agent

Dana Green | Agent

Dana Green | Agent

Maggie Navarro  | Branch Manager

Maggie Navarro | Branch Manager

Leah Sternberg  | VP of Business Development

Leah Sternberg | VP of Business Development

Chatty Arrieta |  VP of Operations

Chatty Arrieta | VP of Operations

Karen Misraje | VP, Branch Manager, Beverly Hills Rodeo, Canon, and Brentwood-Central

Karen Misraje | VP, Branch Manager, Beverly Hills Rodeo, Canon, and Brentwood-Central

Marianne Schier & Sharon Bacigalupi  | Agents

Marianne Schier & Sharon Bacigalupi | Agents

Fran Hughes  | Branch Manager

Fran Hughes | Branch Manager

Jessica Grimes  | VP of Marketing

Jessica Grimes | VP of Marketing

What Are the Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Los Angeles and San Francisco?

  • Neighborhoods in Malibu and Beverly Hills were the most expensive in Los Angeles County in 2018, two with median sales prices of more than $10 million.

  • A $110 million home sale in Malibu last year marked the second-largest such transaction ever in California.

  • Presidio Heights is San Francisco’s highest-end enclave, with the $4.5 million median sales price up by almost 25 percent year over year.


Although buying a home in San Francisco is certainly an expensive proposition, two neighborhoods in Los Angeles had eight-figure median prices in 2018.

That’s according to a pair of recent PropertyShark.com reports, which analyzed the 50 most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco(single-family homes and condominiums) and the 48 priciest in Los Angeles County (single-and two-family homes) based on sales between Jan. 1 and Dec. 14 of last year. Of those nearly 100 communities, none had a median sales prices of less than $1.2 million.

At the top of the heap is Los Angeles‘ Malibu Colony Beach neighborhood, with a median sales price of $10,650,000, followed closely by Beverly Hills Gateway at $10,050,000. While prices in the former enclave were down by 11 percent year over year, the latter registered 31 percent appreciation, the highest of any Los Angeles community included in the report. Both of those neighborhoods are about 15 times more expensive than the overall area’s $705,000 median sales price and nearly three times more expensive than the priciest neighborhood in New York City.

Three of the 10 most expensive homes ever sold in the Golden State took place in Los Angeles in 2018. The top deal was a $110 million sale on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, which was the largest-ever home sale in Los Angeles and the second-largest in California history.

Four-hundred miles to the north, Presidio Heights earned the title of San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhood, with 2018’s $4,497,500 median sales price up by 24.58 percent year over year. Presidio Heights was one of eight San Francisco neighborhoods to post annual appreciation of more than 20 percent, with the highest price gain recorded in Lone Mountain, where the $2,180,000 median sales price rose by 57.40 percent.

San Francisco’s two most expensive home sales of 2018 occurred on the same block of Broadway in Pacific Heights, both in October and both for more than $30 million. Despite those hefty price tags, neither comes close to ranking among California’s 10 most-expensive home sales ever.

Original Article: blog.pacificunion.com

California Posts Another Big Housing Inventory Gain in January

Original Blog Post >

  • Active home listings in California rose for the 10th straight month in January, up by almost 30 percent year over year.

  • California home sales dropped by nearly 13 percent from January 2018 to the lowest level in more than a decade.

  • Annual single-family home price appreciation registered less than 5 percent in California, the nine-county Bay Area, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area.


Golden State housing market trends that closed out 2018 carried over to the beginning of 2019, as buyers continued to exercise restraint despite another substantial supply jump.

The latest home sales and price report from the California Association of Realtors says that active listings in the state increased by 27 percent year over year in January, the 10th consecutive month of such gains. The nine-county Bay Area saw California’s biggest annual improvement in listings, up by 57 percent from January 2018, while the six counties that comprise Southern California posted a 29.7 percent supply increase.

As in December, the uptick in homes on the market did not equal more sales, with statewide activity declining by 12.6 percent from January 2018. There were 357,730 home sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, the lowest in nearly 11 years, as activity fell in about 80 percent of the 51 counties for which CAR tracks data.

Sales were down in every major region of the state, with a 15.1 percent yearly decline reported in the Los Angeles metro area and a 5.8 percent decrease in the Bay Area. In Northern California, sales were down in six of nine Bay Area counties while activity fell by 14.2 percent in Los Angeles County proper.

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“California continued to move toward a more balanced market as we see buyers having greater negotiating power and sellers making concessions to get their homes sold as inventory grows,” CAR President Jared Martin said. The organization’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young noted that the government shutdown had less of an impact on home sales than expected, attributing the decline to buyer hesitance at all prices points and in all areas of California.

Statewide, the median sales price for a single-family home was $538,690 in January, a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent. The Bay Area saw the highest appreciation of any major California region, with the median home price up by 4.5 percent to $836,000. The Los Angeles metro area’s median sales price ended January at $499,450, an annual gain of 1.9 percent, while Los Angeles County posted 0.3 percent appreciation to $566,010.

Buyer pullback is also reflected in January’s pace of sales, with California homes selling in a median 37 days, 10 days longer than recorded at the same time last year. The median time on market also rose by 10 days in the Los Angeles metro area to 42 days. In the Bay Area, the pace of home sales more than doubled from January 2018 to 36 days, with eight of nine counties seeing significant annual increases.

CAR’s report echoes findings from an analysis published last week by Compass Chief Economist Selma Hepp, which expands on rebalancing housing market conditions in both Northern and Southern California. Her research underscores an increase in price reductions in recent months, with around one-third of homes sold in January in the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles requiring cuts.

(Photo: iStock/Ryan Herron)

8 Affordable Ways To Improve Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is the hub of your home. It’s not just where you prep meals, but it’s often a place of gathering and entertaining. Kitchens serve not only to eat in but to spend time in with friends and family. But if your kitchen is looking a little tired, it might be time to give it a bit of a facelift.

You might be a homeowner looking to spruce up your kitchen for your own needs, or you might be a seller who wants to improve the look of your kitchen to attract more buyers. Whatever your situation may be, there are plenty of ways to boost the aesthetics of your kitchen while sticking to a modest budget.


1. Hang New Light Fixtures

Kitchen Lights The Malibu Life Team Compass.JPG

While you could easily change up all the lights in your kitchen, you can still make a big difference and stick to a lower budget by focusing on just one light fixture. Whether it’s a chandelier over your dining table or pendant lamps over your kitchen island, new light fixtures can really spruce up the look and feel of a kitchen. Not only that, but lights have a way of adding ambiance to any space, which you can tweak to your liking.

2. Replace the Faucet

Don’t underestimate the power of a sink and faucet in a kitchen. Homeowners spend a lot of time selecting the perfect faucet for their kitchens, not just for functionality, but also for looks. If your kitchen faucet is starting to look a little lackluster, consider swapping it for a new one. For around $100, you can get yourself a decent faucet that can make a big difference in the look and feel of your kitchen space.

3. Reface the Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Kitchen The Malibu Life Team Compass

Completely ripping down cabinets is a great way to make a massive difference in a kitchen, but that’s not always necessary. If your cabinets are in decent shape, sometimes all that might be needed is a new paint job. For very little money (but a bit more elbow grease), you can re-paint or re-stain the cabinet doors in a completely new color to make them look like they’ve been newly installed.

4. Paint the Backsplash

Kitchen Backsplash The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass

A change in color of the backsplash can add plenty of visual interest in the kitchen. If your kitchen currently has little more than drywall on the wall above your kitchen sink, consider painting it in a completely different color. Or else, consider taking things a step further and add a completely new material to the backsplash – such as peel-and-stick tiles – to change things up.

5. Paint an Accent Wall

If you want to add a pop of color to your kitchen but aren’t too keen on splashing it all over your kitchen, an accent wall can be all that’s needed to add some color. It’s a quick, easy, and affordable job to do. And if you decide that the color you painted no longer tickles your fancy in the near future, it doesn’t take much to repaint it in a completely different shade. 

6. Change the Hardware

You might not think twice about the handles and knobs on your cabinet doors and drawers, but they play a big role in the overall aesthetics of your kitchen. If you’re looking for a quick, simple, and relatively cheap way to update your kitchen, changing the hardware would be a great place to start.

There are so many different styles, finishes, and colors available on the market that you can really put a unique spin on your kitchen decor by simply swapping the old hardware for newer pieces.

7. Spruce Up the Decor

Kitchen Decor The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass
Decor The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass

Your kitchen doesn’t have to be limited to just fixtures to give it some personality. Don’t be afraid to play around with decor to breathe some life into your kitchen. Things such as table runners, wall art, pretty window treatments, and even area rugs can really make your kitchen stand out.

8. Replace the Countertop

Changing the countertop might seem like an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. These days, you can get yourself a beautiful granite or quartz countertop for a relatively affordable price.

Back in the day, natural stone counters may have been reserved for the wealthy, but these days, the prices have really come down. Granite countertops are now financially attainable for the average household, so you might want to consider swapping your old counter for something shiny and new for a few hundred bucks.


The Bottom Line

The kitchen is arguably one of the more important spaces in a home. Whether you’re just looking to update your kitchen for your own tastes or want to spruce it up to appeal to buyers, there are a few things you can do that are relatively affordable and easy to do to improve the look and feel of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Looking for some real estate advice? Message us or call us at (310) 818-5788.

These Are Things That Millennial Buyers Look at When Searching For a Home

Millennials are a unique demographic. They’re well-informed and are very sophisticated when it comes to what they want, particularly when it comes to the home they plan to buy.

Millenials have plenty of expectations that the generations before them may not have had when it comes to buying real estate. Knowing this, sellers should take the time to understand exactly what the specific needs and desires of this group are when they’re searching for a home. That way, sellers can be more competitive.

So, what exactly is this particular group of homebuyers looking for in a property to call home before they decide to put in an offer?


“Smart” Homes

Considering the fact that millennials practically grew up with digital devices in their hands and the internet at their fingertips, it should come as no surprise that this group of buyers would want their homes to come equipped with some level of automation.

“Smart” homes are basically those that can be controlled to some degree by technology. With the simple touch of a button, homeowners can command various components of their homes to do exactly what they want them to. Whether it’s changing the temperature, locking or unlocking doors, or adjusting the lighting, such functions can be operated through their mobile devices no matter where they happen to.

Any property on the market that is already equipped with such functionality will likely be attractive to millennial buyers.

Energy Efficiency

The younger generations tend to be quite focused on minimizing their carbon footprint on the plant. That’s not to say that older generations don’t, but millennials are more likely to place more emphasis on “green” homes that don’t waste energy.

This demographic appreciates structures that make very good use of energy and water and are not wasteful in any way. Features such as energy-efficient windows, low-flow toilets, LED lights, programmable thermostats, and rainwater reservoirs go a long way at impressing millennial buyers. Besides, such features will end up saving them money in utility bills too.

Hardwood Flooring

Just about every homebuyer demographic likes to see hardwood flooring in the homes they visit. Vinyl, laminate, and carpeting are considered outdated features that many buyers will end up ripping out after they take possession. Not only is hardwood flooring much more attractive than other flooring materials, but it’s also rather low in maintenance.

Spacious Laundry Rooms

Seemingly unimportant little spaces, laundry rooms are very important to buyers, including millennials. Not only do they want laundry rooms to be well-defined and located in a convenient spot, but they also want them to be spacious enough so that family members aren’t stepping over each other.

They also want to have plenty of space to fold their laundry and even rinse in a tub if possible. Lots of counter space, cabinetry, and a sink can make a laundry room much more convenient, which is what millennials like to see.

Open Concept Layouts

While some buyers still appreciate compartmentalization of homes to provide defined spaces for different uses, many others like the idea of an open floor plan. This is especially true of millennials, who like the idea of being able to entertain and be in view of everyone on the floor regardless of whether they’re in the kitchen or living room.

Open concepts are not only more modern, but they also make a space feel brighter and more spacious.

Updated Kitchens and Bathrooms

These two particular rooms very important and are typically the main selling points of homes. The majority of millennial buyers look for turn-key homes that don’t require much work at all, and the kitchen and bathroom are typically spaces that would require any work to update.

But homes with kitchens and bathrooms that are already upgraded and modern will be more likely to attract the attention of Gen Yers during the house hunting process. They appreciate upgraded cabinets, granite counters, sophisticated lighting, and modern appliances.

Space For an Office

Thanks to the internet, more and more people are able to work remotely, and many of them are choosing to work from home as opposed to anywhere else. As such, having a dedicated office space that provides them with plenty of room for a desk, computer, phone, filing cabinets, and anything else that they need to conduct their work is a highly coveted feature in a home.


The Bottom Line

As a seller, it’s always important to understand who your target buyers are. This will help you get a sense of what they’re looking for in a home and can give you some ideas of how to stage or present your home appropriately to attract these buyers. And when it comes to the millennial buyer, this particular group tends to have very sophisticated tastes and needs in a home they plan to purchase.

Work with your real estate agent and home stager to help position your house in the best light possible to attract the masses of buyers looking for a place to call home.

Madison Hildebrand is Not Just a Bravolebrity!

It was such an honor to be a part of an amazing event hosted by NAGLREP!


In this video, we discuss multiple aspects of my life journey: 

Background: Born in Arizona, I moved countless times growing up, eventually settling in Connecticut before graduating high school. I then moved to Malibu, CA to attend Pepperdine University. Pepperdine attracted me because I was passionate about advertising and they had an excellent advertising program. Read more about my background here!

Real Estate: Upon leaving Pepperdine, I got my real estate license. The popularity of real estate at the time forced me to wait 10 months before finally receiving my license. However, this allowed me to really learn about the industry and plan my entire marketing and advertising strategy for the year. My first client was someone I had met while working at a hotel during college and they knew my work ethic and reliability. Most agents would not work with her and didn't think it was possible to sell her a home, but that fueled me and I eventually sold her a home as my first deal!

Networking: Ever since I began my career, I knew that every person I met had the potential to be a client one day. Even if it ended up taking a year, you want to develop a relationship with them which just might eventually lead to real estate. 

Bravo TV: My journey with Bravo started when the producers of Million Dollar Listing were calling agents to be interviewed for the show. I interviewed with them and filmed a couple of my listings with them for the show, which had 12 agents featured at the time. After Coldwell Banker didn't want their agents on their show following Season 1, I negotiated my way on and was one of only three agents starting on Season 2. 

Building a Team: Building a team was huge for my business. I was able to find a partner who complimented my skills and gave a different perspective on things. We were then able to build a team of 10, including someone to handle marketing, client management, office administration, finances, and several agents that work in the cities surrounding Malibu. 

LGBT Community: I am grateful that I found a community to accept me after feeling like I was in the middle of five different ones. Being a part of a group that has shared the same journey as me and can relate with me is something that I do not take for granted.