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For most people, buying or selling a home is a major event. That's why you need a solid foundation of industry knowledge and experience to gracefully guide you through the process.
Our team has become known for the quality of attention and level of care we give to each of our clients. We're here to help you achieve your housing goals and to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. We present clients with up-to-date statistical analyses of market conditions, clearly explain options and offer suggestions based on our extensive knowledge and experience in the industry. Our marketing strategy includes videos of homes for sale and other marketing tools to give you a competitive edge. And the fact that we have a great sense of humor helps to move things along more smoothly!
We live up to our team name "Locally Real" because each of us has been living and working in the Bay Area for a very long time. We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the local housing market, schools, public transportation systems, parks and almost anything else you'd want to know about the East Bay. We've also developed quality referrals for contractors, appraisers, lenders, title companies and other professionals whose services you may need.
Also, we're proud to donate a portion of our commission to charities that give back to the local community, including Give Back Homes and the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation.
Janet Kaplan (GRI, Green, SRES):
Janet brings her calm and confidence to each and every real estate transaction, to each and every interaction with her clients and to each and every day. She is a top-producing agent, and her success is a reflection of the fact that her clients return to her, repeatedly referring their family and friends.
She has been a Realtor since 1990 and has guided her clients through smooth and successful transactions in all manner of markets, including those that have spiked up, flattened out or dipped down.
Janet grew up in the projects in the Bronx. It was there, on the streets of New York City, engaging with lots of other kids and grown-ups, that she developed her people skills, her straight-forward approach, and her highly regarded negotiation skills. She has earned the respect of her many clients, and her reputation among other agents is stellar. Her kind and friendly demeanor and disarming sense of humor put just about everyone at ease. Add to those qualities her solid knowledge of both her field and the Bay Area and you have a Realtor most people would love to partner with in the process of buying and selling a home.
Janet lives in Berkeley with her partner of many years and her dog, Halle Belly. She loves sampling the Bay Area’s wide choice of restaurants, theater and music as well as hiking in the beautiful parks.
Joanne’s experience in the business world makes her uniquely qualified to help her clients meet their real estate goals. Prior to becoming the president of a multimillion-dollar company with more than 150 employees, she managed one of the most prestigious restaurants in the United States. As a result, she has become an expert liaison and diligent negotiator, and puts these skills to good use when representing her clients.
Interior design is one of her passions. She particularly loves helping clients find homes that match their personal style and budget.
Having spent her childhood in Barbados, her early twenties in Brooklyn, New York, and her later adult years in San Francisco, Joanne has developed a unique love and understanding of cultural differences and diversity. She relates easily with people from various backgrounds and has a geniality that is just about irresistible. Like many agents, Joanne has great integrity, however, she is unique in that she has a magical way of connecting to most everyone she engages with, thanks to her open and straight-forward manner.
Joanne has lived “locally” in Oakland for the last 27 years. She shares her life with her partner and husband, Michael, and their two Maine Coon cats, Bob and Jazz.
Michael is one of the rare natives of the Bay Area. Being a "local” his entire life — he now lives in Oakland — has equipped him with unique knowledge about living in the East Bay. Through Red Oak Realty’s collaborative culture, and employing the latest technology, Michael makes sure his clients have the most up-to-date real estate market information available.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Michael worked as a counselor in Alameda County's main juvenile hall (he’s a great negotiator!), guiding young men to re-enter their communities and encouraging them to pursue their goals. In his continued involvement as a volunteer, he chairs a committee with the West Oakland community, the City of Oakland, CalTrans and other agencies to help improve life in our local neighborhoods. As an owner of a building maintenance company for decades, Michael has perfected vital business and negotiating skills that are directly applicable to the real estate industry. He brings additional value to the “Locally Real” team by assisting with contractor management if clients choose to improve and enhance a home for a successful sale.
Michael is ready to listen to your goals and leverage his local knowledge for clients who are looking for an insider’s approach. He will help devise a winning plan that will get you your dream home.
Janet and her two colleagues (Joanne King and Michael Herling) served as my Dream Team both for the sale of my North Berkeley home as well as the purchase of my condo at Rossmoor. I could not ask for better real estate service: they are nimble, focused, talented, conscientious, connecting and honest. I interviewed ten realtors before selecting this team: selling and buying a home are each different and prime financial decisions that call for the very best in expertise and customer service. I recommend them without reservation! They rock!
We are currently all settled into the house in Oakland that Janet and her team helped us buy, and we couldn't be happier. My husband and I were first-time homebuyers, and approached Janet upon recommendation from a co-worker to help us find our home. She now works with a team, including Joanne King and Michael Herling, and the three of them are a dream.
They are all such wonderful, good-hearted people that kept our interests and needs in mind throughout the process of homebuying, were incredibly knowledgable, and were so responsive at even the most non-critical moments. We felt so at ease and trusted them completely as a result. They actually made the whole process easy (I think it only took us 6 weeks from start to finish, Janet did an incredible job putting our offer in at just the right moment), even for newbies like us! And they were so supportive and present, and even continued to help us out AFTER we closed on our house with a plumbing issue we had and recommendations for fun things to do. Super lovely people that you won't regret working with!!
Working with Janet and the team at Red Oak was a fantastic experience. My husband and I were moving to the Bay Area and looking to buy our first home and were recommended to use Janet from a family connection. From our first interaction to the last, the team was prompt, professional, and super enjoyable to work with. We were looking for homes from out of state and they even skyped us through a few homes we were interested in. The home buying process can be extremely overwhelming and they made the process manageable and enjoyable. I would highly recommend Janet, Joanne, & Michael to anyone wanting to buy a house in the Bay Area.
We knew we were in very good hands when we met Janet, Joanne & Michael, who recently helped us sell our house. With their collective experience, knowledge & hard work, it garnered a ton of interest, and went for way above the listing price. They were always available, grounded & supportive during the process. We literally can't recommend Janet & "the dream team" more.
Janet is incredible!!! Not only did she help us land our dream home in the East Bay she was able to assist with selling our previous home. We feel her and Joanne King went above and beyond the call of duty. The process can be overwhelming at times but Janet and Joanne were terrific in helping us work through it. Knowledge of the market and the transaction process are two of Janet's strengths and greatly helped us. THANK YOU!
Janet Kaplan is terrific; she's friendly, professional, an excellent communicator, and completely on top of the market conditions and game plan that will net you the most return if you are selling a house. As an out-of-town owner, I completely relied upon her advice in every aspect of preparing my house for sale. Thoroughly organized and on schedule, she personally handled most of the appointments involved, and---in every instance---her astute judgement made the difference between a good presentation and an irresistible one. The online website photographs were so beautiful that they made me want to move back in again. Janet's honesty, excellent reputation among other agents, and professional knowledge made working with her a dream. I recommend her without reservation.
Janet project-managed all the extensive repairs and improvements on my house for sale in one month and all I had to do was write the checks (I live far away). She's really organized and efficient, but patient at the same time. Can even talk you through the hard spots when stress levels are high. I was trying to sell one house and buy another the same month, so I appreciated the way she always radiated calm even when my hair was on fire. Thanks, Janet!
I am so grateful I was introduced to Janet approximately 15 years ago as I embarked on my first home purchase journey in the East Bay. Over the years, she has been a unique and reliable buyer's ally through several rounds of attempted and completed purchases in a difficult East Bay real estate market.
As I read through the already-posted Yelp reviews of Janet, I see that others have already elaborated on their specific experiences working with her. Without going into all the details of my own stories, I want to hone in on the particular qualities I so appreciate about her professional style, based on my various experiences working with her as a buyer's agent.
- asks questions and listens deeply to try and understand her clients' budget, circumstances and underlying goals and interests - and then she keeps her eye on those unique and individual interests (even as they change!) at the core of the professional support she offers each potential buyer.
- is patient and steadfast through what can be a drawn out, try once, try twice, try three times, and then try several more times process before a bid you make is accepted
- also responds and acts quickly when unusual opportunities come up suddenly
- is *not* pushy, manipulative or coercive.
- has a lot of knowledge, familiarity and respect for the communities and neighborhoods in which she works. She builds on decades of living and working *right here*. She has her eye on fluctuations and trends; however, she is not herself a trendy opportunist. She is invested, in a human and community-based way, in the geographic areas she serves.
- is kind and humorous through what can be a confusing and demoralizing buying process
- offers nuanced and honest feedback, and has long-term perspective. The reality is that the Bay Area's buyer's market can be uncertain and surprising. Janet doesn't pretend to guarantee or predict-with-certainty anything. At times, that can be frustrating, but that's an honest reflection of this market. Janet offers no canned, cookie-cutter, or supposedly authoritative platitudes. But where I ask specific questions, she gives me specific answers to the best of her knowledge and experience. On several occasions, her feedback has helped me keep perspective to see behind house staging, assess my own capacity to take on the particular challenges of a specific property, and remember to distinguish and envision the differences between concerns that are core and structural versus concerns that are superficial and easily modified.
- has a solid, great reputation with her colleagues. I could write a whole book on why this matters but trust me, it matters. I very much believe that on at least a few occasions I was taken much more seriously as a potential buyer almost entirely because my agent was Janet.
I haven't had the opportunity to sell a house in the East Bay yet, but if and when I do, I will not hesitate to contact Janet to support me on that end, too. She's the real deal, quality real estate professional that anyone trying to transact in this market would be oh-so-lucky to have the privilege to work with.
Thank you, Janet!!!
Janet was the listing agent on our house in Kensington, and our experience with her was consistently wonderful. What I like best about Janet is her ability to stay calm and focused throughout. Selling a house is stressful - working with Janet is not.
Janet was there during every step of the process, often stopping by and seeing us while we were getting the house ready to sell, giving feedback and encouragement. She even handled some tricky situations quite well (including a sump pump that failed during extremely heavy rains while an open home was on!) and was a good communicator throughout. Although times are such that multiple offers are not an every-day-occurance, we did receive multiple offers on the house and had a really great outcome. In fact, we sold the house within abotu 45 days of listing it - with great results.
Janet offers realistic and honest feedback about pricing, and can be trusted to tell it like it is. In fact, Janet can be trusted with every aspect of selling or buying a house - her honesty and trustworthiness are the basis for her relationships with buyers and sellers alike and I think this is why she is so successful.
I simply want to write and thank you for everything you have done for Denise and me during the last two years. As you know, I have bought and sold property throughout my life. I have, in the past, worked with some very professional real estate agents. I can honestly say that you are the best agent with whom I have worked. It's hard to believe that during the last two years we have had four major transactions. You have made that not only palatable but profitable. While this might sound like hyperbole, you quite literally saved us more money than you earned in commissions. I consider that a win-win. In addition, you're just a damned pleasant person to work with. So, should you ever need someone to recommend your services I would be honored to provide that reference. Thank you for all that you have done for me and my family.
Janet was our realtor when we sold our house in summer of 2014. I am happy to say that she was extremely thorough and professional. She had a very effective plan for the sale of the house and to say it went well would be an understatement. Janet's ideas were spot on, and her referrals for work we needed to do were excellent. She was also a real nice person, which made the tedious stuff easier to deal with. I wouldn't hesitate to give her my highest recommendation.
Prejudice came easily when I considered the prospect of using a real estate agent. But Janet Kaplan not only disproved my prejudice, she impressed me with her steadfastness, calm and drive during a time when those qualities became weary in me. The process of selling a house was daunting, especially as I did it alone. Janet's patience in explaining the foreign process, her always accessible support and her hard-nose deal-making made my experience as smooth and as rewarding as possible. For a reasonable, creative and driven problem solver, for an agent who truly works with you, I can't recommend Janet Kaplan enough.
Janet and Joanne are not just Realtors, they are partners in the process. Janet sold us our first house in 2006. We came back to Janet, and now her partners, Joanne and Michael, in 2017 to talk about our options. They patiently worked with us, keeping us up to date on the market with specific comps as we navigated between a remodel or a move. Ultimately with their amazing, unwavering attention to detail and thoughtful partnership we not only bought a great new house but also were able to sell our house with the best possible outcome. In the process, they went to bat for us and worked diligently to support our bid and work closely with the listing agent to ensure we remained the lead bid throughout a very difficult and trying process. On the other hand when we went to sell our home they not only offered advice and expertise about the listing but they completely managed all of the upgrades. We decided on a budget, and they ran with it. Working closely with their contractors, stagers and consultants to turn our home into a stunning and well thought out mini remodel that made the space that much better for the future buyer. We truly appreciate the trust, friendship and winning business partnership that Janet, Joanne and Michael brought to our experience of both buying and selling homes in 2018. They are rock stars.