Meet Barbara Lymberis, Real Estate Professional, Coldwell Banker, Silicon Valley
Q: How long have you been in the Real Estate business?
BL: I was licensed in 2002, and have been working full-time, consistently, in Real Estate since then.
Q: Tell us about your career in Real Estate?
BL: Real Estate is a 24/7/365 profession, and I’ve been lucky enough to work as a team the entire time with my husband Nick, who was licensed in 2001 after 29 years in his former profession as an Attorney. We are both Realtors, belonging to the National Association of Realtors and adhering to their Code of Ethics. My background and career was previously in Marketing and PR, so we make a very good combination!
At the time, I really wasn’t thinking about going into Real Estate, and he encouraged me to consider it. As I began to learn more about it, I began to think it would be a wonderful profession to be in…..we really do work with clients at a point in their lives when they are making an incredibly important decision – whether to sell or purchase, how to accomplish it without adding too much stress to their already busy lives, and what effect it will have on their own or their family’s future. We are primarily residential property experts, although we have also handled some small commercial transactions.
We usually handle between 15 and 20 transactions a year. We offer a high-touch level of service, and are always available by text, phone or email. We have always worked that way so that our clients have the comfort that they can have their questions handled very quickly. It’s truly a “people” profession, and I love both the challenges and the rewards of working with many different clients. I think of my role as a combination of guide, creative consultant, counselor, advocate, researcher, cheerleader, and professional businesswoman!
Q: What geographic areas and types of properties do you handle?
BL: We have a very wide range, which is especially necessary in this current market of very low supply and very high demand. We are centered in the San Jose metropolitan area, but we work from Gilroy in the south part of Santa Clara County up through the Peninsula and even as far north as South San Francisco. We also cover part of the East Bay.
We handle all kinds of residential property – single family homes, condos, townhomes, multi-family. We also cover very small commercial, such as a small apartment building. Our practice runs about 65% listing sides (sellers), and 35% purchases (buyers).
Q: How has technology changed in Real Estate?
BL: Technology has revolutionized our profession! Our buying clients educate themselves completely before we meet – they know the neighborhoods, the particular homes they wish to see, the surrounding amenities that are important to them, and especially the school ratings. Our sellers have already researched the comps in their neighborhood and have probably attended every previous open house on their street too! We do a tremendous amount of research online, because our role is to find the “hidden factors” that make their home stand out, if they are selling, or to help buyers find a home that, if it doesn’t fit 100% of their desires, can be a home they will love and change over time. The first home a buyer sees may or may not be the right one – we help them figure that out not only with data but with the understanding of their emotional connections to the home and neighborhood. And with regards to the flow of legal documentation, it’s all electronic now. Everyone in our area is so busy, and we do quite a lot of our contract discussions by phone, explaining the contracts while our clients are in their current home or on a break at work, in front of a computer, signing electronically as we go through the documents. It’s a new world ☺.
Q: What specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell a home?
BL: We use every method available, and tailor each effort to the specific home. The MLS, emails to our own proprietary agent lists, social media of all kinds, beautiful staging, walk-thru videos online at various sites, featured articles about the home in our newsletter, print media when the home will benefit from that, property brochures, “special features” lists, open houses, broker tours, personal appearances at realtor marketing meetings around the area, email flyers to thousands of agents that work around the property, and much more. One key for us are the many personal relationships we have built with the realtor community over the years, because no matter how much marketing is done, the goal is to close the transaction smoothly and with as little stress as possible. If we know and trust the realtor representing the other party, so much the better!
Q: Since tax reform was signed into law I've seen a few different articles. First is the potential of a 10% downturn in Bay Area pricing. I’ve also seen an article that predicts home prices in the Bay Area will go up further, as residents stay in their current home to enjoy the full property tax right-off. Can you give us your insight on how you think this will play out in 2018 for Bay Area buyers and sellers?
BL: This is a very interesting market, and hard to predict. I don’t see prices going down in the short term, because our inventory of homes is so low, and the demand far outpaces the supply. In that kind of highly competitive situation, prices will very likely keep rising. Residents are staying in their homes primarily because they can’t take their current tax base with them if they move except to a few counties in California, effectively trapping seniors and the disabled in their current homes. That lowers the potentially available housing supply even further. And the fact that buyers can only deduct the portion of their mortgage interest on amounts from $750,000 down leaves many buyers in the Bay Area wondering how they are going to afford a home at all, with very few deductions available to them on their property, especially since the new limit on deducting all state and local (property taxes) taxes is $10,000. As interest rates rise, however, we may see a stabilization of prices as buyers back off even further and sellers come to terms with that potential change in the market. Bottom line? California residents have really been damaged by the Tax Reform Act, whether or not they feel it yet.
Q: Any further predictions for the next two or three years?
BL: Low inventory, rising prices, more residents opting to rent instead of buy, and very little success on the part of city governments to build more single-family detached housing stock. The two bright spots are the increase in dense, high-rise housing in many cities, which WILL increase the supply of homes (condos and townhomes) available for families to purchase, and the relaxation of regulations with regards to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) which will also increase the available housing stock as those are able to be built. In addition, the emphasis on building near transit corridors is a trend that MUST happen and should encourage more renters to opt to purchase if they are able to commute more easily from various areas.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
BL: I feel we still struggle at times to be taken seriously and to be given opportunities to excel in challenging professions. The fact that there is not gender equality and pay equality at this point is reprehensible, given the many achievements and contributions women have made across the board. The tipping point is coming, though – women, especially younger women, are taking their power in many areas … politics, business, public advocacy, and standing up for their rights and their ideas. It’s a time when women are taking ACTION, and I can’t remember a time like this since the 1960’s. It’s about time!
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
BL: There are many, and they inspire me because they have the strength of their convictions and choose to make decisions that benefit the many, not the few. Eleanor Roosevelt, Michele Obama, Oprah, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Zoe Lofgren, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, my friend Karen who is the administrator for the head of NASA, and especially the young female students who are taking the fight for gun control to Washington DC – they are our future.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
BL: Don’t ever feel that you are inferior in any way. Follow your passion, get the education you need to be taken seriously, work hard, demand respect, get involved in your industry, and you will be successful.
Q: Can you offer advice to parents with daughters graduating from high school?
BL: Make sure they have taken the requisite classes, so their transcripts qualify them for College/University, and encourage them as strongly as you can to go. However, don’t put any expectations on them to choose their professional path too soon … let them discover it on their own. Don’t be afraid to let them go to a College/University far away from home – they are probably ready for it. Help them to understand that they can be as competitive as men are for any position they choose to pursue.
Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
BL: Sustaining a real estate career for over 16 years! Staying in business and making it through the financial downturn from 2007-2012 was a major accomplishment, especially since both my husband and I are full time Realtors and did not have any other income to sustain us. Our practice is flourishing, but it is as the result of extremely hard work and constant attention to our clients.
Also, I have been honored to be elected as President of the local Women’s Council of Realtors network in 2005, and as President of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors in 2012. I am currently a Director for the state California Association of Realtors, serve on the Consumer Communications Committee for the National Association of Realtors, and also serve as the Federal Political Coordinator from our Association for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.
Five Things About Barbara Lymberis
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Queen Elizabeth I of England. I am in awe of how she ascended to the throne and ruled in such a powerful way for so long despite the constant treachery of those at court and the many men in power across the known world at that time who would have gladly seen her killed. She became beloved and respected by the people. An incredible achievement for a woman in that age.
2. What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
If you feel you have done the right thing, to the best of your ability, don’t listen to the critics. And remember, there is always more to give.
3. Do you have a favorite Movie?
Two favorites: “To Kill A Mockingbird”, because of its message of tolerance. And “The American President”, because that’s the way our government should be.
4. Where’s your perfect vacation?
Europe, exploring each country and its history to the fullest, with no time constraints!
5. Do you enjoy cooking? If so, can you share some of your favorite meals you enjoy making?
I do enjoy cooking, but I’m one of those “throw it together” cooks. I can take anything in the refrigerator and the cupboard and make something unique and tasty – just ask my husband! I call them Barbara’s Surprises … but there is always some kind of twist such as Asian or Mexican spices, or a lot of different veggies, but the biggest component is often my husband out at the BBQ ☺. I’m a great delegator!
Cal BRE#: 01342934
(408) 723-3300 office