Category Archives: Lesson Learned

A Window with a View – Your neighbors may be increasing the value of your home?


What do you see when looking out your front window?  I sit here and write from a comfy chair, looking out my front, picture window, onto a tree-lined street, with flowers beginning to blossom.  My neighbor across the street has a red front door and a matching red bird house in the tree that we can see from our window too.  I am very fortunate and try not to take for granted our entertaining view.  Kids play on their scooters and shoot each other with Nerf guns.  People walk their dogs and converse while strolling [our dog barks or whines, trying to get their attention].  Three or four retired men on the street meet up for a weekly bike ride.  Birds flit and perch… a squirrel jumps from a tree branch onto a roof.  I had no idea the beauty and entertainment I would receive from this window and view.  I am thankful for my neighbors and the hood in which I live.


Many buyers spend hours sitting in front of a home they contemplate purchasing… Curb appeal is everything, right?  Yes, everyone wants a sharp-looking home.  And yes, a lack of curb appeal detracts from value.  I do NOT see many people standing at the front window and look out, asking, “Do we love this view?”  Most of us are focused on our house and the interior.  What about the view out front and back?  These, I believe, are overlooked assets.  I understand that not every price point has this option, yet there are many nooks, even in the worst neighborhoods where where neighbors comes together and have pride of ownership.  There are also so many ways to simply beautify your own yard, yet it’s difficult to control what you neighbors do.  If you are looking to buy a home, consider this concept when considering a neighborhood and the houses around the subject property.  I have a lot of ideas from years of experience and insight into what others may ignore when it comes to buying a home.  I hope to share with you this attention to detail on your next deal.


Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Sales & Property Management



Listen Up! You Cannot Go Wrong with this Skill Improvement

Client Review:

We loved working with Keith to buy our home in Sacramento. He asked us really good questions that we didn’t even know to think about to help select homes that would be a good fit. Everything about the process felt low-stress and positive. He even helped us write a letter to a seller that got us our home! He has a lot of knowledge and is just a kind, friendly, fun person – we highly recommend him as a realtor. Also, he has a truck, so he can totally help you move. Tell your friends!

Christine Fischer



Agents, listen up… Hot tip… people like to be listened to.  We all know this, but it’s easy to get caught up in the, let-me-tell-you-how-much-I-know role.  You learn so much by listening.  And, studies show that people think you are smarter when you listen attentively.  You will help your clients by doing more listening that talking.  Be careful not to assert you opinions when unsolicited.  Believe me, I’ve learn through my own failings.  You are representing them and their desires after all, not yours.


Me:  Can you believe the color they painted this house!?!  Isn’t it horrid!

Buyer:  Well… Um… pink is our favorite color.


Better approach:  What do you think of the color of the house?

Buyer:  Oh man, it’s horrid – that’s the first change we will make!

Me:  Well, I guess there’s a color for everyone.

This is an easy one, but there many more examples of how I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth with assumptions and just blurting out opinions and said dumb when NOT listening.

Beyond colors and preferences, like my clients, the Fischers and most all others, don’t do this every day and need someone to foresee the potential pitfalls , or point out blind spots.  For instance, “I noticed this house doesn’t have a dining area and I know you love to entertain… does that bother you or affect your opinion of this house?”  Client:  Oh wow, we didn’t even see that, we were too busy staring at the shiny counter tops and the period light fixtures.”

Since I have a pretty high view of my family, one secret I employ is to view my clients like family.  I ask myself questions along the way too, for instance, “Would I want my mom living in this neighborhood?”  Or, I remember a young, investor client of mine wanted to purchase a duplex across from a very dangerous apartment complex, known for gang violence.  I had to ask him, “Are you okay with your tenants calling to complain about gun shots in the middle of the night and constant drug dealing in front of this property?  As your advocate,  I don’t feel comfortable with you buying this property.”  This in particular client said, “Thanks for your concern… I really appreciate it, but I don’t care about that stuff – It’s a great deal!”  Good reminder – you are your client’s advocate and have a fiduciary duty to them, but what you’d do, isn’t always what your client wants.  So don’t assume!   It might be a good thing to review the definition of “fiduciary duty” from time to time to put things into perspective.    It’s simply, “The highest standard of care,” putting their wants and desire ahead of your own.

By the way, I have found my wife loves it when I listen and so do my kids!  We cannot go wrong by growing and improving in this area of our lives.

Keeping growing!

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Real Estate Sales & Property Management



5 Star Review

Keith Klassen is smart and professional.  No matter what the circumstances, he manages his attitude and stays solution oriented.  Because of this, we came up with great solutions together. 

Mari Paul (Buyer, Seller, Property Management Client)




Many income/investment properties are purchased with the idea in mind that they will be fixed up and improved over time.  This is a great idea… let the property pay for itself.  However, this doesn’t always happen, especially when the property is just breaking even or not cash flowing as expected.  Perhaps this also points to a reality check when figuring out expenses, deferred maintenance, and a realistic slush funds for unexpected costs at the time of purchase – by the way, this is something I enjoy helping newer investors figure out. When that big ticket item comes up, like when a new roof is needed, or rotting widows need replacement, it could be time to encourage an owner to sell, or for you to walk away from the property management position.  I have found that owners who are not able to maintain their properties to a minimum standard can put the property manager’s neck on the line (i.e., lawsuit waiting to happen), or just create an unmanageable situation.

broken window

Here’s a story of how the house of cards can fall over.  The tenant calls to say that several of the old windows won’t stay up any longer – of course the owner was going to install new windows as a first priority.  The tenant says that it’d be nice to fix them, but they understand and it’s not a big deal because they can just put a stick or a book in the window to hold it up.  The owner says, “Oh good, because I don’t have the money to fix it anyway.”  Several months later the tenant calls to say that the window slammed shut and the glass cracked.  The owners says, “Can they survive with a cracked glass for a while?  … Until we get new windows, or just until I get some money together to fix it?  Maybe they can put some tape on the glass?”  The tenant is not super happy, but puts some tape on the window.  Six months later the tenant says, “I’m starting to notice some mildew, or maybe mold in the bathroom where the window was cracked.”  As it turns out, the roof was on its last leg, the windows were rotting, and many other items had been on a list to renovate over time…

The owner ended up having to give the tenants notice to move and give them free rent due to the mold (and pray there were no health issues as a result).  When the owner finally decided to sell after doing some hodge-podge fix-its, they still took a big loss on the sales price due to all the put-off maintenance issue that later became health issues.

While I had to threaten to cancel our management agreement due to the owner’s inability to take action to make the needed repairs, I ended up being able to navigate us through the fog of it all without things escalating and ending in litigation.  Eventually I listed, sold the property, and eventually wash my hands of the situation.  Remember, distressed properties a lot of times equal distressed owners.  If I had to do it again, I would have taken action faster, and not hung around as long, cancelling the management agreement or encouraging the tenant move-out and sell sooner.  What happens when everything starts sliding down hill, the property manager gets taken down by all parties (who used to love you and high five you for being so great).  This also obviously will kill the listing/sale opportunity. Fortunately on this one, I still walked away with a high five.

high 5

Have you had any mold or deferred maintenance scares, whether as an landlord, seller, or agent/PM?

Cheers to learning new lessons,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in residential sales and property management