Testimonials

Clients come first for the Olsen Team.  We are dedicated to you, and will do everything possible to make your transaction a smooth one. We work hard and communicate well.  Our goal is to eliminate your stress about the little details of a transaction as big as buying or selling a home.

Read what clients have to say about The Olsen Team:

 

We wanted to thank you and Ben for helping us through the entire process of selling my mom's home this summer. Just the thought of packing her up, cleaning out and updating her house was at times overwhelming.
 
But you and your team advised and guided us through it all so smoothly that I was able to focus on settling her into her new residence.  Your experience in knowing how much to do to get it ready for sale was invaluable. Your prices and timing for updating were right on target.   You know your market well and we learned to trust your judgement.
 
We truly appreciate all that you did to make it such a smooth transition, from beginning to end.
 
Sincerely,
 
Cherie Kallo and Suzanne Kallo-Heitzman

 


 

I would like to thank the Olsen Team for the efficient and successful sale of my home in the Moraga Country Club. Sue and Ben provide excellent service with great attention to detail.  A valued part of the service is that they manage the process and allow the seller to maintain their own normal life. With the Olsen Team, selling the home is their job, not the seller's full time job.


Thank you Olsen Team!

Sue Sparks

 


 

As someone in the real estate industry I can confidently say that I am more than impressed with the skills and professional manner both Ben and Sue exhibit when servicing their clients.  I speak from experience, having been a client.  Whenever someone wishing to list or sell a home asks for a referral, I immediately tell them to contact The Olsen Team.

Lois Mowat, Broker
Real Estate Financing-NMLS#393305
19 Bates Blvd., Orinda, CA 94563

 

 


 

 

Ben Olsen helped me find a great deal on a Moraga townhome.  Not only was he patient with my changing search parameters, but he found the contractors, inspector and loan agent.

This place had been neglected for years, but Ben thought it could be a jewel.  He was right!  My home is perfect for me and my boys.

My favorite room is the kitchen.  Over the past few months we've hosted many dinner parties and playdates.


Jennifer B.

 


 

Longtime Moraga homeowners John and Maureen Graf met Realtor Ben Olsen at their neighbor’s open house.  They had talked about downsizing for years, but it wasn’t actually on their agenda that day.  They mentioned it in passing to Ben, and the stars started to align.

Ben knew of the perfect home on the market.  Single level.  Gorgeously updated.  Great views.  They liked it, but were inclined to pass.  One sleepless night later, they changed their minds, and prepared to become buyers once again.

“The purchase was a smooth one,” said John.  Ben connected them with the right mortgage lender, patiently explained and then quickly executed the process.

Ben was equally skilled at preparing the Grafs’ home of 33 years for sale.  “Ben coached us on what needed updating, but more than that he was instrumental in finding the best people to do the work,” John added.  “Ben was outstanding.  It’s clear he knows what’s needed for a home to sell.”  

The Grafs received four strong offers in about a week and closed for $1,352,000.

John and Maureen Graf, Moraga homeowners for 33+ years

 


Amazing experience. Absolute professionals. I am still amazed, months after selling my folks' home in the MCC, how easy it was to do (for me, at least!) given I live in Portland, Oregon. Ben and the Olsen Team not only made that possible, but painless:

> Instant face to face help when we needed initial advice. Made my Mom (now with us in Oregon) feel better too, just sitting down and talking to them.> The right counsel on market price and timing. We got our price and sold it fast.> Phone calls/emails returned with answers or updates in minutes, not days.

I'm still amazed at how they were able to help me update the house in prep for sale, given there was a lot of things in the house that needed updating. They designed it (based on what would sell) then lined up the contractors and did a "home makeover" for me! I viewed samples, and the "new" home online from my PC, 583 miles away. It was spectacular, I didn't lift a finger (mouse clicks aside) and it absolutely did the job.

Still have several friends with homes in the Moraga area, and I will certainly let them know about the Olsen Team - they turned a daunting task (in a tough time for my folks and our family) into a real success story...

 

Scott Allee 

 


 


  

I would like to thank the Olsen Team for their expertise in handling the purchase of my new home.

Sue's attention to detail, communication & negotiation skills and knowledge of contacts in determining the suitability of the home for me was outstanding. In addition and perhaps most importantly, she was a pleasure to work with.

I would highly recommend the Olsen Team to anyone considering a home sale or purchase.

Phoebe Sackett

 

 


 

I can not recommend The Olsen Team highly enough! We were able to sell my mother's house at full price and we don't even live in the area. They expertly took care of every detail, from dispensing with unwanted items, staging the house, arranging for necessary repairs and the list goes on, without having to be there. We have worked with Ben and Sue on a number of occasions and feel beyond fortunate that we had them in our corner.

 

Lisa, Trustee of Mom's Estate

 


 

 

My husband and I knew Ben Olsen through our son’s school. He, initially, provided us with an excellent recommendation for a contractor to convert a room in our home. We were looking to sell our existing home in Moraga to move into a larger home, however we were hesitant to be displaced from our home while looking. Ben took the lead and started showing our home privately to prospective buyers over a 6 month period of time. During this time, our home was not listed and we were able to enjoy a hassle free life. All the while, we were looking at home to purchase. Ultimately, we received a wonderful offer on our existing home, however there were no homes on the market that would fit our family. We were talking with Ben, and I mentioned a home that I was disappointed we did not purchase that was on the market 4 months previously. I was under the assumption that this home sold. However, when Ben heard the home I loved, he knew this home did not sell, but was taken off the market. He immediately contacted the homeowners and asked if the home was still for sale. The owners were in fact still interested in selling their home, and we were able to put in an offer. This transaction was incredible. We were able to sell our home and purchase our dream home without any hassle or bidding wars. The entire process was smooth and worry-free. Ben was at our side every step of the way, and a true advocate for us! We are so thankful to Ben that we are now in our wonderful home and did not have to hold multiple open houses and worry about contingent offers. This was truly wonderful experience!

Ben Olsen’s personal knowledge and involvement in this community makes him the perfect choice for a realtor. He readily responds to any quest and has a wonderful list of referrals that he will quickly share. We enjoyed his enthusiasm and excitement over our home purchase and felt that he was the reason we are in our home today.

Derek and Joanne Hawkins, Moraga

 


 

Personable, Expert, High Integrity

We bought our first home last year, located just outside of Walnut Creek. It was quite the process, but could not have been done without the help of Ben and the Olsen Team at Village Homes. We worked one-on-one with Ben to help negotiate the purchase of our home and his knowledge of the area, and his excellent people skills, helped see the sale through from beginning to end. He helped us make sure all the requirements for sale were met by the seller, and paired us up with the a great team to help set up our mortgage loan.

Post-sale, Ben continues to be a great source of information. As first time homeowners, we have had questions from time to time that we send to Ben to see if he can assist us with. Ben goes above and beyond the call of duty, responding to these calls and emails with very helpful responses.

We will be returning to the Olsen team to work with Ben in the future when we decide to sell this home. I recommend him highly.

Brad and Kelsey Olson

 


 

We used the Olsen Team in the recent sale of our home in the Moraga Country Club. We bought our house new in 1980, so have many positive memories of our time in our home. We now will also enjoy the memory of the outstanding job the Olsen Team did in the sale. From listing date to sale date, it took less than 30 days to locate and firm up the sale. In the difficult market that we have been faced with, this is an outstanding accomplishment. Sue and Ben were thoughtful and accurate is setting the list price. The net proceeds to us were actually greater than they estimated they would be. From start to finish, the Olsen Team were pleasant, honest, and most of all, effective. They receive our strong commendation and thanks for a job well done.

 

Respectfully, 
Tom and Sue Lowe

 


 

Sue, sorry I am slow writing the letter you requested. But we finally have 2 cars in the garage, and I can now write... The Olsen Team -- Thank you for help and advise in selling our Corliss Drive home, and in buying our new "downsized" home in Moraga Country Club. We appreciated all the guidance and professionalism that your team provided. In this strange market, you provided the help we needed and you were sensitive to the emotional stresses that every seller/buyer goes through.

 

Thanks again,
Roy and Sheila Knoth

 


 

The Olsen Team was easy to work with and their local expertise led to the successful sale of our family home. As an out of town seller, Sue and Ben were able to handle nearly everything for us. The inspections, updates, cleaning and staging of the home were seamless, and all were handled by professional resources that met our high standards. When we got to market, the house looked great and maintained it's vintage or nostalgic feel. Using mostly our family's furniture, the home was shown in a way that highlighted and honored the careful maintenance over many decades. As a team, Sue and Ben aimed to be professional, but fun, friendly and likable at the same time. We would recommend the Olsen Team's full service for anybody selling their own home, or a family home (as we did) in Lamorinda.

 

Sellers at 50 York Place, Moraga

 


A few years ago, we had the good fortune to be introduced to the Olsen Team. We were living in San Francisco with our three young children, and we were in search of a ranch-style home, a large yard, good public schools and warmer weather. After looking in the North Bay, the Peninsula and the East Bay, we decided that the Lamorinda area was the best fit for our family.

We looked unsuccessfully for months for a house that met our specific criteria. After reading an email from a fellow mothers group member who was in the process of moving from San Francisco to Orinda, I contacted her for information on the area. In the course of our communication, she raved about her realtors: Sue, Lara and Ben Olsen.

From my first email to them, they were always contactable and quickly responsive. Ben and Lara (brother and sister) grew up in Lamorinda and both have young children, so they easily understood what we wanted in a neighborhood and a house (not to mention that Sue has decades of experience selling real estate here). They never wasted our time showing us inappropriate properties. Instead, I felt they understood the value of a long-term relationship with us as clients, and they wanted to make sure we purchased the right house for us. Interestingly, they ended up pointing us to a house that – from our own research – we had not considered. Although I feel we were fairly savvy in our independent search for our perfect house online and on the ground, as it turns out, we probably would have never discovered the house that we eventually decided was right for us.

Ultimately, thanks to their persistence and market knowledge, the Olsen Team successfully negotiated a multiple offer situation on our behalf. They skillfully managed the complex details of our inspections and repairs. It has been over three years since we purchased our house. In that time, Sue, Lara and Ben have continued to be an excellent resource for contractors and for Lamorinda life in general. Like probably all of their clients, we now consider them good friends.

In all respects, the Olsen Team has exceeded our expectations. They are delightful to work with, and they have been consistently responsive, knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. We have worked with other realtors, but we never expected the incredible level of service we received from the Olsen Team.

 

Raphael and Holly Erickson-King

 


 

I already miss you which says a lot about how I feel our relationship has gone. The past five or six months has been trying for me and my siblings, but you two really did take a lot of the sting out of parting with our mother's home. My past experiences with realtors have been okay to not great, but you two have really made this a positive experience for me. Ben, without all your hard work, coordination ofall the various contractor jobs and inspections, we never would be where we are. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all that you did for us. I am well aware of how much work you put into getting the condo sold. All those times that I was on on the edge of losing my rational thinking, you were always calm and patient with me and the rest of my crew. You truly went the mile for us with your support with things like bringing us signs for our garage sale at the last minute.

Thank you both for a very pleasant experience in the shadow of the not so pleasant task of selling our mother's home. I will honestly miss your progress reports, but you got us a great result in a short period of time, and I would be happy to tell anybody who is considering your services.

 

Most sincerely,

 
Susan Raphael

 


 
We worked with Steve and his wife Chris for months to find the right house. In the process of looking, they shared that they would be having twins later in the year. We found a home that worked at the right price, but it turned out to be a short-sale - and this one lived up to our expectation of being a little difficult. After a long process, and a growing tummy, they did get the home. They spent a few weeks updating one bath, refinishing hardwood floors, painting, etc. When they finally moved in, they slept one night in the house, and then delivered the healthy twin boys the next day. Talk about the nick of time! I am sure that it is just coincidence, but one of the boys is called Benjamin!

When my wife and I decided to purchase a home in the Lamorinda area we didn't have any idea where to start. We heard about Ben and the Olsen team through a friend and after talking to him we knew he was the person for us. Ben is extremely knowledgeable about the area and after a looking few houses he knew what kind of house and location we were interested in and would filter out the undesirable houses for us. There was a time or two when Ben couldn't make it to a show a house due to a prior commitment so Sue and Lara helped him out and showed it to us which is great team work! We found the house of our dreams in a location we love in Lafayette and think that if wasn't for Ben and the Olsen team we would still be looking. Ben also connected us with contractors as we wanted to make a couple little changes prior to moving in and we were extremely pleased with the quality and speed in which the work was accomplished. You can't go wrong choosing Ben or the Olsen Team when buying or selling your home.

-Steve and Chris, Lafayette
 
 
 
Nicole Benveniste and her family recently moved from a darling mid-century bungalow in El Cerrito to a great home in one of Lafayette's favorite neighborhoods. We spent a lot of time looking at houses with them here as they worked with their El Cerrito agent to prepare that home for sale. Finally, the time came, and everything just clicked. It is worth noting that Nicole is an excellent interior decorator, versed in Modern and Traditional styles. If you need great decorating advice, we would be happy to connect you with one of newest local resources. Her website can be found at http://www.nb-id.com/.
 

We recently moved from El Cerrito to Lafayette and we could not be more pleased with our experience working with Lara, Ben and Sue of The Olsen Team. From our first meeting in their office we felt completely taken care of. Their detailed knowledge of listings and the market was impressive. After visiting several homes and having detailed conversations with Lara about what we liked and didn’t like, I felt they really understood what we were looking for.

We spent about 1 ½ years searching for the perfect home for our family. We had to stop for a while as our life took a turn in a different direction but they were always patient, non-judgmental and happy to pick up where we left off. They offered advice on such things as how to bring more light into a house, what a given neighborhood was like and why they thought it would or wouldn’t be a good fit for us. One of them was always available to show us a house and worked around our busy schedules to make sure we looked at everything we were even remotely interested in.

When it finally came time to write an offer The Olsen Team guided us on many details to make our offer strong. Our offer was quickly accepted and we could not have been more excited. Within a few days Lara had set up all of the inspections (and there were many!), and provided several invaluable resources such as painters, contractors, landscapers, etc. that we wanted to hire before we moved in. Sue spent all afternoon with us at the house during inspections and she and Lara met me at the house throughout escrow when I needed to select paint colors and meet with contractors. Ben offered great advice on loan details and the team worked seamlessly together to meet all of our needs and exceed our expectations.

Lastly, we want to convey what a pleasure it was to work with Sue, Lara & Ben. Their patience, integrity and experience made the whole process smooth and as stress-free as possible. I cannot say enough good things about The Olsen Team and will recommend them without hesitation.

Sincerely,

-Nicole & Joel Benveniste

 
  

 Exterior_front

The Millers worked with The Olsen Team to sell their Moraga Country Club home - beautifully remodeled with a great location on the 6th Tee.  When we first listed the home, they were offered an all cash deal that they could not refuse - but it was back to square one when that buyer could not perform.  With patience and team work, we did hlep them accomplish their goals. They have since moved to Ohio to be near Grandchildren, and are happy to report on our suceess.

 

Over the years, we have bought and sold many homes and always felt we have worked with good Realtors – until we worked with the Olsen Team! The Olsen Team is the most knowledgeable, hard working, competent real estate team in the Lamorinda area, or for that matter - anywhere. We cannot begin to adequately express our deep appreciation and gratitude for all that Sue, Ben, and Laura did to help us through a grueling house-selling process due to the first buyer who did not perform. Your very high level of expertise, knowledge and professionalism were why we wanted to work with you, but we were also continually grateful for your warmth and heartfelt friendliness during those moments when we got discouraged. You were always available to answer our calls and questions immediately. We are firmly convinced that we got the best representation from initial listing to final closing because we took on the best possible partner to sell our home. Thank you so very, very much for all the guidance and many little extras that you provided. Now that we are almost settled in our new home, we want you to know that we know we could not have done it any better with another partner. Thanks again, a hundredfold!

- Dotti & Don Miller

  

Updated and staged for sale
Eric bought and sold the house in a short time period - in an imperfect market.  We needed to make his house fresh and different to the market to give it a real shot at selling. We were allowed to make some significant improvements, and the house showed great!

 

I didn't personally know Sue Olsen when I contacted her about listing my house. Her reputation as the "Go To" realtor in the Moraga Country Club is what prompted me to call her. I have bought and sold several properties before, and Sue was the best realtor with whom I have worked. Sue lead the charge but Ben was also very involved. Both of them were available 24/7 for any issues. From the initial meeting I had a strong sense they knew the MCC market better than anyone. My house was sold in an extremely tough market (summer/fall 2010), and I needed every advantage possible. Most impressive was how much time and energy they put into coordinating and overseeing cosmetic and structural improvements to get the house market ready.

We put in about $50,000 of improvements and Sue and Ben, through their excellent network of contractors, handled it all "turn-key" so I didn't have to be involved. This was perhaps the biggest advantage of working with them in my situation. We put in new floors, new windows, replaced decks, painted walls and replaced door and cabinet hardware among other things. Their service was invaluable.

And they also handled staging as part of their package, and did a great job. In the end, we teased out an acceptable offer in a very slow market and the escrow went very smoothly. I would recommend anyone selling a house--especially in the MCC--to use the OIsen Team.

Eric J. Smith
Senior Vice President
Sr. Wealth Planning Strategist
Wells Fargo Private Bank

 


The Longerbeam Family

We had a wonderful experience buying a house with Ben and Lara Olsen of the Olsen Team. They persevered with us to help us find our perfect home in a down market, remaining patient and conscientious throughout the process. When we found our home, they helped us to see its potential, and they had the skill to make it a smooth transaction, fair to all parties.

They went above and beyond our expectations in helping us to envision/design the home, locate contractors, and follow up with all questions and concerns. We were graciously led through the process from start to finish. They are true professionals and we would not hesitate to recommend them to other buyers and sellers.

D. Longerbeam

 


Alistair & Rebecca Goodman

My wife Rebecca and I worked with the Olsen team to purchase our first home and we couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. Ben was our Realtor and he was superb every step of the way. We met Ben after a house we had bid on fell through and the whole process had left an unpleasant taste in our mouths. From the outset, Ben patiently scoured the market for us for nearly a year, showing us only what he knew we would like and would fit our needs and budget. He talked us through the trade-offs of neighborhoods, renovations and financing options, and had helpful suggestions at every turn that would ultimately make the difference in finding a great home. And because the Olsen's grew up here in the community and have young children like us, they really understood the importance we placed on schools, yard, and space. He and his family are very knowledgeable about the market, personable, and always made great recommendations.

Amazingly, when it came to making the offer on a great house where the price had just dropped, we were just about to leave on a vacation which we had been planning for six months. Ben took it all in stride and led the process on our behalf, negotiating diligently on every step of the deal and keeping us up to date with daily phone calls and emails. (The fact that we made a few counter-offers and completed the deal while we were out of the country still amazes me - testimony in large part to Ben's attention to detail in managing the negotiations). He was also creative in how he wrote the offer which enabled us to do some much-needed work before moving in while we locked in the best loan.

When it came to the inspections and the close, Lara and Sue jumped into the fray to help too and made sure that no detail was missed and everything went smoothly. From assisting on-site with different inspectors and reports to making great referrals for painters, roofers and floor repair - they helped us finish everything before the move. And to top it all off, Ben showed-up with a much needed bottle of wine on the eve of the move - never missing a beat.

The Olsen team are invaluable partners if you are looking to buy in LaMorinda - they are terrific!

 Alistair Goodman

CEO, Placecast

 


Del and Janice Kolbe

Property.view_frontWe have bought and sold 7 homes over the past two decades and believe the Olsen team of Sue, Ben and Lara were the most professional and productive realtors we have ever worked with. They had a comprehensive strategic plan and executed it flawlessly in a very difficult market. We couldn’t be more pleased with the Olsen’s and would highly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home in Lamorinda.

Del Kolbe, CPA

 


John and Beth Mintz

The Olsen Team helped us sell our home and buy a new one during a very unstable time in the housing market. Our home had been on the market for 9 months and we'd worked with two other agents before meeting with the Olsens. Four months later our home was sold and we were in escrow to purchase a new home.

The Olsens also represented the seller in that transaction and worked hard to ensure that both parties were very satisfied with the outcome. The Olsens used their experience and ability to understand their clients' needs to ensure that the process was smooth and cooperative.

We are very happy in our new home and thank the Olsens for their efforts.

-Beth Mintz

 


 

Elizabeth Shackelford and Family

When my dad passed away last year, we were very overwhelmed with both sadness and logistical issues. We knew that selling his house was going to be a huge, stressful project since it hadn‘t been updated in many years. I am SOO glad we called Ben Olsen to sell Dad’s house. Ben was exactly what we needed in a realtor and more: he listened to us and was sensitive to our situation, he gave us realistic advice about what we needed to do to the house in order to sell it for the best price, he managed the project from beginning to end, and then he got it sold quickly at a great price!

Getting the house ready for selling was a major project. We were unsure about which things needed to be renovated for selling and which things weren’t a big deal to update. Ben was honest with us. It was a tough market to be selling in, and there were several other similar models on the same street for sale. He gave us a prioritized list of what we should consider improving and then let us make the final decisions. There was no pressure to make all the updates; Ben gave us the information and let us decide. I appreciated it when he told us that his job was to tell us what we needed to hear, not just what we wanted to hear.

When it came time to actually updating the house, Ben took charge of everything, which was such a relief! Everything, from securing bids, overseeing the workers coming in and out of the house every day, choosing all those little things like light fixtures, bathroom knobs, tiles, flooring, appliances, carpet color, paint colors, etc, etc, etc! I know what a huge task this was and I appreciate it more than I can say. I have never heard of a realtor who takes on the management of remodeling/updating a house from beginning to end. Thanks, Ben!

The house turned out beautifully, by the way, and we stayed within the budget.

The best part about this whole story is that Ben and his team sold my dad’s house in SIX DAYS!! At asking price!! I couldn’t be happier with the service and results we got from Ben and the rest of the Olsen Team. I can’t thank them enough! Anyone who is looking for an experienced, honest, hard working, and ethical realtor would be thrilled to work with Ben and his team. Thank you so much, Ben, for everything you did for us!!!

-Elizabeth Shackelford and Family


Amanda and Dan Griffith

We bought our first home! YES! Our dream came true because of one brilliant realtor, Ben Olsen. When we started on our journey, we knew absolutely nothing about real estate, loan applications, home inspections, construction, etc. From the start, Ben was very accommodating and in tune with what we were interested in. It was definitely a challenge to get us what we wanted in our price range and within our loan constraints, but Ben took it on with ease. He was very responsive to any questions (be it big or small) via phone, email, and text! Very convenient for our busy lives.

Ben knew what would work for us even before we did! We ended up buying the first place he picked for us after looking at dozens of places we found on the internet.

After getting into escrow, we used all of Ben’s recommended inspectors…they were fabulous and affordable. Now that we own our home, we are using contractors recommended by Ben, as they have given us a much better price and time frame than the other companies we were looking at. The bottom line is, the Olsen's know this business backwards and forwards, and we will be using them from here on out for all of our future home purchases and recommending them to everyone we know.

Thanks Ben!!!

-Team Griffith...Amanda, Dan and Kate


Law Office of Guyla W. Ponomareff

My office worked with The Olsen Team recently on the probate sale of a home, and was very impressed with their knowledge, hard work and professionalism in all aspects of the preparation and sale of the home. They delivered everything they promised, and then some, including efficient, clear and effective electronic communications with our out of area executor.

The Olsen Team obtained competent, reasonably priced and professional contractors, to put the house in saleable condition and then managed and expedited the clean up, inspections, repairs, painting, carpeting and more. When the house was ready, it was beautifully staged, professionally photographed – the virtual tour was superior - and then expertly marketed. They generated terrific interest in the property, and sold the home quickly.

When asked to appear in court at the probate hearing for confirmation of sale, - this was a contested sale - Ben spoke for the team with knowledge of the market, the property, and the probate process. His responses and comments to the Commissioner were succinct and confident and helped gain the court confirmation.

I would gladly recommend The Olsen Team to anyone, and particularly anyone who wants a full service team that can get things done efficiently and quickly.

Guyla W. Ponomareff, Certified Family Law Specialist
Roslyn K. Rosen, Certified Paralegal


Ali and Minh Reza

Ben Olsen is knowledgeable and professional in his field; he is also an all-around nice guy. The perfect combination you need in your real estate agent. He never tired of our questions and concerns - no matter how insignificant. He always accommodated our schedule and in the end, when we found the right place, he helped to make the paperwork and transaction seamless and painless. He was also a wonderful resource in helping us identify various services to assist in our move - loan broker, movers, locksmith, cleaners, handyman, etc. - all of whom were excellent. We will certainly be using Ben again.

Ali and Minh Reza


John and Ann Cooper

Sue Olsen was the lead person on the sale of our house. She was professional in every sense of the word. She was totally and promptly responsive to every question we asked. Her managing of the preparation to sell (removing some old, outdated wallpaper and painting several rooms, installing a glass shower door in one bath) and staging processes was perfect. She and the folks working for her made the house one that appealed to prospective buyers--and they responded. Lara and Ben also played valuable supporting roles along the way.

We sold in a little over two weeks after the place was open to the public--in fact, we had two competing offers. In going through this process we had to realize we were not selling "our" house but rather A house that would attract buyers--and it did.

We unqualifiedly recommend Sue and her team as folks who really know how to prepare, market, and sell a house in these challenging real estate times.

John and Ann Cooper


Vickey and John Campbell

The Campbell Family
Hi Lara, Thanks so much for helping our family both sell our home and find a wonderful new one. Your commitment and professionalism were evident from the moment we started working with you to the day we moved into our new house. Never in our wildest dreams did we think you would be able to find a buyer for our house within a week of putting it on the market, particularly in these difficult times. Your knowledge of the local market, as well as the support of the entire Olsen Team made the transition from our old house into our new home about as smooth as we could have ever imagined.

Thanks again for all your help. We would definitely recommend your services to anyone interested in buying or selling a home in the Lamorinda area.

Vickey and John Campbell


Robyn Rogin

The Rogin's New Hom

The Rogin's New Home

Many thanks for all your help through this process. You have been a wealth of information and continue to be a great resource who we trust. Alex and I have enjoyed working with you and are thrilled it worked out the way it did. We’re excited to get settled and look forward to seeing you around town!

Robyn Rogin

 

 


The Verdon Family

We had the fortune to run into Ben Olsen at one of his open houses the very first time we came to Moraga to look at homes.  We were immediately struck with his sincerity and willingness to help us in our search for a new home.  We knew we would be taken care of and dealt with in a honest, professional and caring way during our home buying experience.

Ben held our hand patiently through the entire 5-6 month long search. We relocated from Oakland where we had owned a home for 14 years that we were very attached to.  He calmly led us through many homes in Moraga and Lafayette and honestly pointed out what was right and wrong about the homes we looked at.  We even had to encourage him to take us to listings that he felt weren't good homes for us (he was always right!).

Ben has a long history in the area and has many connections that helped us  during the negotiating and inspection process.  We are thrilled with our new home!  The Olsen Team even organized a "Welcome to the Neighborhood Party" for us and all of our new neighbors.  Additionally, he helped to introduce me to some new friends at the Moraga Community Garden where I now volunteer.

We wouldn't hesitate to recommend Ben and The Olsen Team to anyone looking to buy or sell real estate in the area.

Lisa and Wayne Verdon


Jim and Marge Williams

The Olsen Team is much more than just a real estate team to us.  With our age, health concerns, and fact that we had lived in our home for almost thirty years, the prospect of a move was overwhelming.  But we were directed and led through house preparations, the sale and the move itself, all with a gentle and supportive attitude.  Having a team work with us, someone was always available with competent assistance.  We came through the move, and also came away with some new friends.

-Marge Williams


The Hoogs Family

The Hoogs

Home Sweet Home

The fact that it’s been over a year since we worked with you to purchase our home and we’re just now writing this letter says two things.  First, that we procrastinated way too long to tell you these long overdue words; but more importantly, that the feelings we had about our experience just after closing escrow on our home in Moraga still resonate as strongly for us as they did a year ago.  Not only was working with you successful, it was truly a pleasure, and we wanted you to know just how grateful we are for the relationship we developed with you during that time.

Our dual purpose for writing this letter is also to provide you with something you can share with other prospective clients in the future, because we feel strongly that others should know just what a difference working with you made for us.  And as you know, we have probably one of the more unique perspectives that one could have on the difference, since we started out our search (and even our attempts at purchasing the home we have now) with another agent.  We chose to reach out to you because of the strong impression we had of you from viewing some of your very professionally presented listings.  We wanted to work with the best in the area, and now after our experience, can affirm that we were right in our selection.

For those prospective clients who may be reading this, we would strongly recommend that you choose Sue and her professional team.  If you want a team that knows this market thoroughly, is organized, prompt and connected, and will take their job of going to bat for you seriously, there is no better choice than The Olsen Team.  Our experience is a case-in-point. 

We made an offer on our home through another agent before coming to Sue.  Our offer was significantly below the asking price, which we felt was unrealistic given the current market conditions, and it was rejected pretty much outright.  Our agent was unable (or unwilling) to take it any further, so we reached out to Sue.  Sue took another approach, tenaciously working with the listing agent over the course of several weeks to negotiate down the seller’s expectations, ultimately to a figure that was fair and agreeable.  The battle was extremely hard fought, but we really loved this house, and Sue recognized that and wouldn’t give up until we were successful.  Don’t be fooled by her gentle demeanor, she’s tough when fighting for her clients!  And this is to say nothing of the ease of all the rest of the million details that went along with the transaction, every one of them coordinated among her team and dealt with as though completely effortless. 

We can say with certainty that we will always enthusiastically recommend The Olsen Team to our friends and family, and when that time comes, will absolutely list with them as well.


Eva Fettig and Jim Rusconi

The Shueys

Updated with Ben's help

We worked with Ben and The Olsen Team to purchase a home in 2008.

For some people, finding the perfect home is easy.  For us, creating the perfect home was a process.  Ben was patient with us, even when our criteria was beyond difficult.  Ben helped us in two ways where other realtors might view the work as beyond the scope of being a realtor.
 
First, Ben's knowledge of Lamorinda real estate and his experience helped us get a deal that no other buyer has touched in years.  Not only did Ben bring in the right inspectors that helped us enter the purchase with our eyes open about the house's deficiencies, but Ben's keen negotiation skills gave us the money in our pockets to pay for fixing them. 
 
After the sale, The Olsen Team helped us create the vision and connected us with all of the right people to make our dream a reality.  Their general contractor created two beautiful spaces that used to be huge eye sores.  Everyone who saw the house before and now has seen the transformation cannot believe how these huge eye sores are now the biggest assets of the house - the kitchen went from dark, confined 60's space to beautiful, bright, and spacious.  Their custom cabinet maker created beautiful cabinetry in just a few weeks at less than the price of manufactured cabinets.  With the help of Ben's fireplace contact, we had 2 fireplaces go from the 60's to the present day without spending a fortune.  From the paint colors to the tile, the team has great ideas, and they are not afraid to help.  To make these projects even more unbelievable is the time and cost.  This amazing transformation took only 6 weeks and came in on budget.
 
We know of no other realtor (anywhere) that takes the personal time to care and lend a helping hand to turn a house into a perfect home.  It is for all of these reasons and more that we recommend Ben Olsen.  He is our realtor, our sounding board, and our friend.

-Eva Fettig


Carol Troy

The Olsen Team got my house on the market and sold immediately. They can’t be beat!
Beyond being the utmost professionals, my experience with Ben, Lara, and Sue was just plain comforting. In time of such stress in the real estate market, comfort is a key element in surviving the process.
They got the house whipped into shape with great local contractors, they got the right inspections at the right time -- explaining the intricacies what had to be done -- and they returned the house to the loving family home it has always been in its soul.
And the team really works as a team. Ben ferried me through the shoals of home inspections, landscaping, and change orders. He made just the necessary improvements, but not the sort of excessive, costly improvements that were typical during the great boom of the past few years. When Ben suggested we make the garage façade vertical rather than horizontal, it seemed over-the-top. But the “drive-by” payoff was inestimable. That goes for every improvement we made, from bathrooms, to the wonderful garden redesign with Bert Bouler and designer Diane McGovern, to the great paint job and selections by the staging expert Tiven Racioppo. It all worked smoothly and not a penny was wasted.
Lara Olsen Williamson played a key role in the strategic pow-wows that we held every couple of weeks. She also put her management background to work in herding the resources and details with both cool and calm.
And Sue Olsen, mother of the brood, has decades of experience in the Orinda market. She hit the offering price on the head; a price which she warned had to be on the “razor’s edge”. She knew to time the house’s appearance on the market perfectly, shepherding me through all the steps involved in getting the house market-ready like a den mother, from beginning inspections, to the final effect created by the beautiful staging.
Sue's savvy in Orinda real estate led to a sale in less than a week. We chose among three bidders and were able to pick the family that would be happiest in our family home, which had never been on the market before.
In such an uncertain real estate market, the team's clear-eyed judgment of the proper price-to-market made the difference between an instant sale and an offering that could have lingered on the market for weeks, months…you can imagine the rest.
-Carol Troy


Patrick and Kimberley Lane

Lane Family

The Lane Family

Having a number of friends who are real estate agents and brokers, we struggled with making a decision regarding who we would like to represent us in the sale of our home.  After interviewing the prospective alternatives we cautiously proceeded with Sue Olsen since we felt that she was the most market knowledgeable, but knew we would offend our friends.  Wow!  Immediately we were convinced that we had made the right choice.

Sue acted as a general contractor, orchestrated many resources and served as a well informed, professional counselor.  Her team sprang to action, staging, marketing, inspecting, communicating, and caring for us throughout the process.  Sue’s staging and landscape staff were incredible.  The art and special touches were marketing genius.  The advertisements, virtual tour, photographs, and flyers were all professional and expeditiously produced and perfectly choreographed.  Schedules were met and we are pleased to say that Sue under promised and over delivered on every small element of her services.

The personal concern, humble yet professional approach, thoughtfulness and graciousness were ever present in literally every interaction.  Sue also made it easy.  She scheduled, arranged, and changed any plans to fit our needs.  She never bothered us with unreasonable requests and empowered herself to simply deal with minor and petty issues which can be so burdensome through out this process. 
-Patrick Lane


Angelica and Andy Zabronsky

The Zabronsky Family

The Zabronsky Family

Lara, Thanks so much to you and the Olsen Team for helping to make the purchase of our first home such a positive experience.   We can’t thank you all enough for being so generous with your time and letting us learn about houses and the market at our own (slow) pace. 

You were always a pleasure to work with, and I’m sure your easy charm helped smooth negotiations.  It is a testament to your knowledge of the market that every one of your predictions proved right-on. 

And your perseverance was truly remarkable.  There must have been a million balls in the air during escrow, what with the unusual number of inspections, repairs and follow-up work in a compressed timeframe.   I still marvel at how you managed to keep every detail organized amidst the commotion.

I’m sure it is rare indeed for one agent to combine all your terrific skills. It was also great to be able to call on the resources of the Team: Sue, with her depth of experience on questions of strategy; and Ben, with his great eye and willingness to pitch in.  There was never a moment when someone couldn’t handle our needs virtually immediately.   And the great service didn’t stop when escrow closed.  You’ve been a great help getting us oriented and the house ready to move into.  Every one of the trades people you recommended has worked out great.


Pat and Karen Murphy

The Murphy Family

The Murphy Family

The Olsen Team worked with us throughout the process. They went above and beyond expectations throughout the process. They made it as painless as possible.

On a personal level, they were great to work with. They got a good price for the house we sold, and a fair price for the house we bought. If we were to buy or to sell a house again, there is no question, I would call the Olsen Team.

 

 

 


Chris and Holly Erickson-King

The Erickson-King Family

The Erickson-King Family

We have worked with many Realtors in the Bay Area. Last year we decided to move from San Francisco to Moraga. The Olsen Team fundamentally understood what our young family needed. Lara openly gave us her professional opinion on properties if they were not the right fit. I completely trust and value her professionalism. She sent us personalized emails revealing what was on the market and specifically, why it might be the right property for us. She shared information that we couldn't pull off the Internet. The Team exceeded our expectations on every level: from showing us homes, handling the transaction, to closing with inspections. In a hundred years, I never expected to have such a positive experience. We feel Very lucky.


Dan and Mimi Gannon

The Gannon Family

The Gannon Family

We were new to Lamorinda, moving from San Francisco, when we started working with the Olsen Team. We bought our home with Lara Olsen Williamson last July.

Lara was great about finding us a perfect home - and it wasn't on the market yet. I can't say enough about Lara and the help she provided my family. She isn't pushy and she is not judgmental...she is extremely bright and patient. She took the time to zone in on what we wanted and get us our home for the right price.

After buying our home, we decided to do a remodel. Lara was more than a Realtor to us.  She did more inspections then required...and she steered us in the right direction for contractors and subs. Based on my previous experience, she went above and beyond what typical Realtors provide. Not to mention you have the benefit of working with the Olsen Team. Lara's mother has sold 100's of homes in Lamorinda in the last 30 years. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me...I would be happy to share more about our fantastic experience.


Tom and Amanda Reese

Tom and Amanda Reese

Tom and Amanda Reese

Working with the Olsen Team was an extreme pleasure.  They made selling our home, which can be a stressful event, a very smooth process.  During these difficult economic times, especially for the housing market, the Olsen Team streamlined the sale of our home with the proper pricing and their excellent marketing skills.  Our home sold in 10 days with 2 offers and we received our asking price.  We would like to thank Sue, Lara and Ben for making the sale of our home a very enjoyable experience.

 

 


Patrick and Cheryl Winters

The Winters

The Winters

We didn't really know Sue Olsen personally when we contacted her about listing our house. Her reputation is what drew us to her. We saw her around the club occasionally, often hosting an open house for sale. She was always informative and friendly and we had said for years that we would call her if we ever decided to sell. Now the sad part is that we are moving out of the area and we can't develop the friendship we made throughout our transaction. She worked with us 24/7 and that entailed a lot because we had some issues with our inspection to be dealt with.


With her contacts and knowledge of the area, especially Moraga Country Club, she was invaluable. I think we spoke everyday by phone or email for quite some time, even after the house had sold and closed. We had things taken care of in such a timely matter that we don't feel that could have happened with someone who wasn't an expert in the club like Sue is. We will miss Sue and her team (Lara and Ben) and would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking to sell their home in the Moraga Country Club or surrounding area.


Kerrie Peterson

Dear Sue, This note comes to you to express my thanks and gratitude for you excellent work selling my house.  Given this market (and never a guarantee on outcome), the resuls were just fantastic.  As I said in my e-mail, your skill as a realtor, strategy and advice were always right on.  You are great! 


Griff, Michelle and Jonathan Dow

Dear Sue, We are very happy in our new home.  Thank you for all your hard work and help getting us here.  We also appreciate your patience!


Rick and Mia Owen

Sue, Lara & Ben:  We're pretty much settled in on the East Coast now and wanted  to thank you again for your outstanding team approach in providing a most professional service. This surely facilitated the successful sale of our Country Club home in a challenging real estate market! We really appreciated the kindness, attention and advice you all gave. We are still congratulating ourselves on our good fortune in picking "The Olsen Team" to be our team!! 


Kathy and Bob Miller

Kathy and Bob Miller

Kathy and Bob Miller

Sue, Lara and Ben:   Thank you for finding our forever house in Moraga.  Our goal was realized only because of your unparalleled knowledge and connections, which enabled us to buy a house not yet on the market.  Thanks too for patiently stewarding our house-hunting trips to CA, for listening between the lines to ferret out exactly what we dreamt about in a home and for caring about us as both clients and people. Your professionalism, courtesy and good humor were a blessing in the tight spots and made the search enjoyable.  Finally your attention to detail and willingness to be of service in every part of the process sets the highest standards.  It would be our pleasure to recommend you at any time.


John W. McTigue

Congratulations on a job well done. Your professional handling of the sale of 3 Carolyn Court was terrific. Having worked with other brokers in the past, it was a pleasant surprise to find that this process could be made to seem so effortless. Again, many thanks for all of your attention to detail, well thought out planning, action, and making sure the outcome was right for everyone. We enjoyed working with you and would be happy to recommend you to anyone looking for a quality broker. Congratulations on a job well done. Your professional handling of the sale of 3 Carolyn Court was terrific. Having worked with other brokers in the past, it was a pleasant surprise to find that this process could be made to seem so effortless. Again, many thanks for all of your attention to detail, well thought out planning, action, and making sure the outcome was right for everyone. We enjoyed working with you and would be happy to recommend you to anyone looking for a quality broker.


R. Jeffrey Martin, Broker

Augusta Dr., Moraga

Augusta Dr., Moraga

Please find enclosed a token of my appreciation for the job you did selling 655 Augusta Drive in Moraga.  I have been a real estate Broker for over 20 years and I have never encountered the level of service that you provided this transaction.  I thought that I was good and would go over the top to assist a client.  You, Lara and Ben showed me a new level of service.


If you ever wish to use me as a reference please do not hesitate to have your clients call me direct.  I truly appreciate what you proposed to do for this transaction and how you over delivered, in Spades.

Again, Thank You and your excellent team for a job professionally done.

R. Jeffrey Martin, Broker, 101 Green Valley Drive, Gilroy


Alfred W. Eames and Alice Foard

Al and Alice

Al and Alice

Alice and I want to express our appreciation for the outstanding way you assisted us in marketing and selling our home at 1798 St. Andrews Dr. in Moraga.

From our very first “strategy” meeting, where we decided what investments should be made in the home, then the regular supervision of the improvements as they were being made, to the staging and presentation of the home, and finally the tactical approach to competitive pricing, we feel assured that we got “top dollar” for our house.  Your strategies developed not three, not five, not seven multiple offers, but  nine offers for what had to be described as a very average house in our neighborhood.

 

Most telling was the offer from a couple who were the winning bidder for a similar model home only a week earlier, who saw our house and liked it so much better that they bid strongly for our house!


Your experience, advice, strategy, and hard work make the Olsen Team the most competent realtor with whom we have ever worked.  Thank You! 


Pamela Fletcher and Dan Klapprott

Master Bath Remodel

Master Bath Remodel

We used Sue Olsen and the Olsen team of Village Associates in Orinda to sell our home in the Moraga Country Club.  Sue’s years of experience, industry contacts and extensive knowledge about the country club proved invaluable when some thorny problems arose.  She is very hands-on and willing to do what it takes to move things ahead - even to the point of crawling under the house to understand some of the inspection issues.  In addition, the team effectively project managed a bathroom remodel, upgrades and staging.  We received good value for our home and we’re glad we worked with Sue, Lara and Ben.   

 


Pat Moal

You are awesome!  Of course I know that and that is why I hand picked you.  Talk about pulling a rabbit out if a hat - you did it.

Great things happened because of all the behind the scenes work that you did.  I truly appreciate your communication and follow through. 


Pat and Patty McCloskey

Thank you so much for representing us on the sale of our home in Moraga.  You have an excellent reputation in the real estate community and now we know first hand why.  You were our partner all the way through the selling process and your excellent relationships with contractors and inspection companies allowed us to put our home on the market quickly and keep us in the driver's seat all the way through accepting offers and closing on our home.

With the assistance of you and your staging professionals, our home never looked more beautiful.  No wonder we ultimately obtained such a great price for our home—a price that was well above list price and higher than our wildest dreams.

We are thankful to Lara and Ben.  You have a terrific team—crucial in the real estate market where the selling process enjoys such a short time line.  Lara and Ben were always available to answer questions and handle the detailed logistics from the time our home begin the process of preparing for market. 

I am so thankful that we chose you as our agent.  We could not have been as successful in selling our home for the price we obtained without your experience, advice and instincts.  If I can find another Sue Olsen in New Jersey to where we are relocating, we will consider ourselves very lucky.


Michael and Jackie McGonigle

The McGonigles

The McGonigles

Wow! What a team! Lara and Sue, you two are amazing!

Both of you were instrumental in the successful sale of our house and the purchase of our newest home. Your ability to get our house "market ready" was phenomenal - you both truly have an eye for what makes a house sell.

We were nervous to begin the process of selling and buying, yet you two guided us effortlessly throughout the entire process (in addition to getting us top dollar for our house). It constantly amazes me how you are able to keep on top of every detail, provide great insight and advice AND make everything seem easy. Your dedication to getting things done smoothly, efficiently and accurately coupled with your unbelievable expertise in the Lamorinda real estate market has made the process enjoyable. You guys were able to tolerate my thousands of questions and phone calls and keep us both laughing along the way.

We have recommended you both to all of our friends emphasizing that through Sue's unparalleled Lamorinda expertise and Lara's unbelievable attention to detail and follow through, you two are THE team to help anybody with their real estate needs.


Barbara and Doug Freitas

Doug and I want to thank you for your expertise and service in selling our house. Your suggestions definitely maximized our profits on our home!  Your suggestions on updating our home and spending the $10,000 to spruce it up were worth every penny.

The stager did a great job!  I am so glad that I listened and let her do her thing, and at times it was a little difficult because I did not always agree.  But, everyone who came in and saw what she had done loved it!

I also wanted to say a special thank you to Lara and Ben.  They both were great, very professional and super to work with!  You are lucky to have them.

The crew you brought in to do the work was great.  I can’t believe that you and your team spruced up this house in a week.  They were neat and timely – it was amazing.

It was a pleasure to work with you all, and if you ever need a reference, I would be happy to give you an excellent one.

I will never look at the color orange the same way again orange will always bring a pleasant thought of you!

Thank you very much for helping us to maximize our profits, we are smiling all the way to the bank.


Tory and Dick Courtney

Dick & I want to express our appreciation to you for the outstanding service and professional expertise you provided as you helped us sell one home and purchase another. Your valuable suggestions for preparing our home for the best sale were right on target...When we began looking for a new home, you listened well to what we wanted, saved us many hours by screening what came on to the market, and inviting us to see only those homes that met our criteria. You preserved until we found exactly what we wanted...Through it all, you maintained your integrity, professionalism, and your wonderful sense of humor...We look forward to returning to you as clients someday. In the meantime, we will give you our highest recommendation to others. With many thanks.


Lori and Douglas Fowler

This is a note to formally thank you for all of your assistance during our purchase of our new house. It was a pleasure to work with you. You added value during every step of the process: selection, evaluation, negotiation, inspection, financing, and closing. We had complete confidence in your advice. We especially appreciated the numerous occasions when you alerted us to deal opportunities or potential problems or which we were not even aware; you were actively watching out for us. We will certainly recommend you to any of our friends contemplating a move in Contra Costa County, and we would be pleased to sing your praises to any potential clients.


Dan Finnane, Jr.

Thanks again for your assistance in locating, purchasing and getting started in our new home. Annette and I could not be more pleased with this house and our decision to relocate to Moraga. As we reflect on our search process, we obtain a greater appreciation for your knowledge of the market and how you educated us without pressuring us to buy too quickly...To show our appreciation for all that you have done for us, and to give proper recognition to our confidence in your professional abilities, Annete and I offer to act as references for any potential clients that wish to speak with us.


J. Allen Sayles

It gives me great pleasure to take this moment to thank you for a fine job done. In the 20, plus years my wife and I have been married, we have purchased and sold in 28 real estate transactions to date. I'm pleased to say that our most recent transaction with you has been the best. You were the quickest to respond to calls and requests for information. You went out of your way to see that our interests were paramount. You even posted a for rent sign on the premises after close, found us a tenant, and made several long distance calls to Chicago to work out a deal for us without any additional compensation. Thank you for all your help. I would not hesitate in recommending you to anyone who needs a professional real estate agent. You are simply the best.