Jennifer Caras has worked in real estate for 16 years and has been a Top Producing Agent for the last decade with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty. A Los Angeles native, Jen attended Marymount High School and continued her education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with a degree in psychology. In addition to her work as a Realtor, she also develops custom homes in the South Bay with her husband, who is a developer, commercial broker and licensed contractor.
What do you love most about your job?
“I cherish my relationships with my clients before, during and after escrow. When you go through an escrow, it’s so incredibly layered. It hits on so many levels—from financial to emotional and everything in between. I am grateful my clients have chosen to work with me, and in the end they often express great gratitude to me for guiding them through every step of the way. By the time I turn over the keys, my clients know that I have their backs and am always here for them.”
In what ways is the real estate industry an emotional business? How do you deal with those emotions?
“Emotions are entwined in residential real estate because we are selling spaces where people spend their quality time, create memories, host holidays, gather family and friends, raise children … the list is endless! A home embodies our lives. I deal with those emotions by keeping on task, being a good listener and reminding my clients of the bigger picture every step of the way. I am a fierce client advocate and a proven performer during stressful situations. As a result, I am fortunate for 90% of my business to be from referrals and repeat clients.”
What qualities are needed to be the best in this business?
“You have to be a team player, having solid relationships not only with clients but with other real estate colleagues as well. Being trustworthy and standing behind your word goes far in this business.”
What housing market trends do you foresee for 2021? Are any of these due to the pandemic?
“Change! And yes, I believe the pandemic has a lot to do with it. So many homeowners are yearning for a change of scenery and analyzing their quality of life—whether it’s locating to a more spacious home with outdoor space or leaving the large home to move closer by the beach. People have had the unique opportunity to pause, take a breath and consider alternatives.”
How has the shift to working remotely impacted the real estate industry?
“Home office spaces at home are highly desired and sought after. I have a new construction listing coming out soon in North Hermosa, and I think a draw will be that it has two perfect home office spaces. Some people’s career will change for good, and having home office space is definitely on trend.”
Should I choose a large real estate company or a boutique firm?
“I think it’s most important to pick the right agent to work with, first and foremost. I have been at a boutique firm in the past and now am with a large real estate company. Having the backing of a global real estate firm with the prestige and history of a name like Sotheby’s is like the icing on a cake with my clients.”
What is your #1 piece of advice during this unprecedented time?
“Take nothing for granted—health, family, loved ones, this beautiful South Bay area we are so blessed to live in. Being grateful is a daily practice that energizes me.”
What has been your proudest moment during the recent crisis?
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to be so busy in a pandemic! I was honored to keep my standing as the #2 ranked Top Producing Agent at Vista Sotheby’s International Realty and the largest producer of Beach Cities sales, totaling $75 million for 2020.”
Tell us about the home you grew up in.
“I have such fond memories of my childhood home! It was in Brentwood, just off Mandeville Canyon—a tree-lined, picturesque street. Our house was at the end of a cul-de-sac. Our yard backed up to a canyon, and my sister and I would always get a giggle to see wild bunnies and other wildlife in our backyard. This is the home where I started to notice the details and architecture on different styles of homes and became so interested that I initially wanted to go to school for architecture.”
What are your favorite ways to unplug?
“I love being in the kitchen, trying new recipes and baking all sorts of goodies. On the flip side, we also love trying new restaurants as well as supporting our local faves.”
Tell us about your support system.
“My biggest support system is at my home! My husband, Chris, encouraged me to get my real estate license in 2004 after a career in pharmaceuticals that was successful yet unfulfilling. Once I joined a brokerage, my heart was so much more into it right from the get-go. I truly couldn’t run my business without his incredible support and love.”