Having spent their youth building tree houses and forts together, the Sanford brothers have turned their youthful passion into a full-service real estate venture based in Ashland. Led by the youngest, Nate Sanford, Sanford Group has been buying, building, renovating and selling homes in Southern Oregon for more than 10 years. Having experienced the high-highs of the last real estate boom and low-lows of the valley that followed, they have learned what it takes to help people realize their dreams of owning their own home in ever-changing market conditions. Sanford Group is committed to understanding the needs of every client to enable them to achieve their goals; whether it is finding their first home, building a dream home or getting the most money for their home or investment property.
This month I spoke with Nate Sanford about current real estate market conditions and how Sanford Group assists their clients in buying, building, selling and investing in real estate.
What benefits do you offer to people looking to sell their homes?
My goal is to use my knowledge and experience of the residential market to help people buy and sell homes. Back when my brothers and I focused on building, we were limited to putting up two or three homes a year. As a realtor, I have the opportunity to help a lot more people. Last year I helped 20 families buy, sell, and invest in homes. This year I’m on track to double that.
How did you get started in real estate here in Ashland?
My brothers and I started Sanford Design and Renovation 11 years ago. I moved here in 2002 after working as a landscape architect in Boston and San Francisco. Colin, our middle brother, set up the financing and the legal operating agreements. Our older brother, Craig, has been framing houses since he moved here in ‘95 and started working with Adroit Construction. Later, he started working with our uncle, Michael Sanford, renovating homes in Ashland. Our immediate family has a total of 45 years of design and building experience, and we go way back in the building trades to 1898, when our great-great grandfather started the Marquette Cement Company in the Midwest.
How would you describe your company?
We’re three brothers, just like it says on our logo: myself, Colin, and Craig. I manage the real estate arm of the company in conjunction with Home Quest Realty, working with clients and writing sales contracts. Colin does marketing, business planning, and finance. And Craig manages construction for Sanford Design and Renovation LLC, making sure the end product meets clients’ expectations.
What else can you say about your expertise?
My brothers and I have been building homes together since 2002. We have expert knowledge of residential construction, and we know how homes are built. We’ve worked extensively with design consultants, subcontractors, the Cities of Ashland and Medford, and Jackson County.
After construction slowed down in 2008, I started investing in real estate, and I could see that I needed access to the Multiple Listing Service as a broker to be able to find the best opportunities. I would look for homes that were distressed or in need of renovations, purchase them, complete the renovations, and then sell them to buyers looking for homes in move-in condition. That way, I could help not just myself, but my family and friends as well. At this point, I’ve renovated many homes. I know a lot about what problems are likely to come up and what to look for.
Now I’m in a perfect position to help people realize their real estate goals and dreams, helping them buy homes as residences or as investment properties. I guide buyers through the entire process from start to finish.
How would you describe your ideal client?
It’s not so much who or what type of client is ideal for me, it’s more a matter of how I can help every client gain as much understanding and insight about properties and current market conditions, and help create a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers. Buying, building, and selling real estate is a huge undertaking for most people. I have relationships with clients that go back many years, and I also have clients who’ve called me just days before they enter a real estate transaction. I know it’s a cliché, but for me, my clients always come first, and I’m committed to operating with the utmost integrity in every aspect of my business. My goal is to be Southern Oregon’s Realtor of choice.
What does your experience allow you to do in listing homes?
Having built and renovated quite a few homes, I have firsthand knowledge of what people like. Beyond making essential repairs, there are inexpensive ways to improve a home’s appearance and make a good first impression on potential buyers. Whether it’s fresh paint, new landscaping, or new countertops, there are many creative solutions to making a home more appealing to buyers. Staging is an important way to create a theme or style that appeals to buyers. And it’s not always about adding. Removing belongings and putting them in storage creates more space in a house for buyers to imagine their own personal items, and that can sometimes be enough to get your home sold.
What does your experience allow you to do in investing?
I work with investors in two ways: finding homes that need renovation, and finding suitable rental properties. Just recently I helped some clients buy a duplex in Medford where the seller wasn’t so much interested in getting the best price—in fact he refused the highest cash offer—he wanted to ensure that the new owner wouldn’t evict his tenants, some of whom were on HUD assistance. My buyers were able to purchase the property and keep the existing tenants, and now the buyers are making enough profit to save money every month toward their kids’ college education. A perfect example of a win-win solution.
What benefits do you offer buyers?
Home Quest Realty still lists bank owned properties and I’ll know about these well in advance of them coming on the market, which is a real advantage in this competitive bid market. In addition to market analysis and recent comparable sales, I evaluate existing homes for clients with a team of consultants, including professional home inspectors, structural engineers, and title and mortgage officers, to verify the integrity of the property before close of escrow. I also work closely with utilities and city planning and building officials when evaluating vacant land to make sure there are no hidden costs in development.
What is your connection to Ashland?
Ashland is a fantastic place to live, work, and raise a family. My wife Trina and I have five kids, and we all really enjoy being part of the community through school activities, sports, and local events. There’s truly no place I’d rather be. We love it here, and I can’t imagine living anyplace else. Which makes it pretty easy to talk up the area. Southern Oregon sells itself in my opinion.
Tel: (541) 612-4630|Mobile: (541) 210-0146
Home Quest Realty
542 Washington Street Ste#100
Ashland, OR 97520