Whether searching for your dream home or your next investment, we relish the opportunity to fulfill your real estate needs. Our commitment to diligence, our knowledge of the always-changing real estate landscape, and our dedication to providing unparalleled service to each and every client is what sets us apart.
Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.
Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.
In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.
Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.
No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.
Jennifer was amazing. this was our 1st time buying a house and she walked us through everything kindly. If I ever need to buy or sell a property again I will absolutely go to her.— ERIN S.
For a first-time home buying experience, Katharine made the process feel so easy. Quick to follow up and an incredible advocate for her clients, I hope we have the privilege of buying another home with her again soon. (but not TOO soon!)— ZOE K.
Jennifer was fabulous. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, accessible, super patient, and had great recommendations for other people/services. I truly felt like she was my friend and ally throughout this whole experience. Could not recommend her highly enough!— JENNA K.
A pleasure to work with. Communication was always clear and timely, and explanations to real estate novices were critical to prepping and selling a property in this time of uncertainty. No need to look elsewhere for your real estate agent and broker needs. Thanks!— TONY
John was very helpful to my husband and me as first-time home buyers. We didn't know what we were looking for at first, so he showed us a variety of places. And when it came to submitting an offer and completing the purchase, he walked us through the process in a very helpful way.— BREDA L.
John was incredibly helpful in all stages of our home purchase. He was always available, pleasant, and enthusiastic about making our dream home a reality. Even after the purchase of our home, he has helped us in several thoughtful ways. I cannot say enough positive things about John and his team!— BUYER
John Kostrey, Katharine Deering, and Amy Peterson are the best real estate professionals I've ever worked with. The Kostrey Collection managed two properties for us in Los Angeles and Alhambra for the past 10 years. They helped us sell both of these properties in Feb. Quickly and for a great price.— SHARMAN B.
We love the Kostrey Collection! My husband and I bought two properties and sold one with John and Katharine. We had so many questions throughout the process but they were always so knowledgeable, patient, and attentive. We feel very fortunate to have found reliable and trustworthy REALTORS who truly care about their clients.— ELISABETH A.
John and his team were amazing to work with. They were always incredibly responsive and quick to answer our questions and concerns. John worked hard to negotiate on our behalf during the closing process and made sure that we were in the best position possible. I would highly recommend him and his team to anyone looking to purchase a home.— JENNY M.
We highly recommend Katharine Deering after a great experience buying our first home. She was immediately responsive 100% of the time, and very knowledgeable, while being patient and educating for folks going through the process for the first time. It’s necessary for someone to be on top of every detail in this field, and Katharine was incredible.— JACK C.
This is our fourth real estate purchase and sale with John Kostrey and his team. We couldn't be happier and would highly recommend them. His knowledge, honesty, care, and professionalism gave us confidence and comfort during the stressful buying and selling process. We very much look forward to working with John and any and all upcoming home purchases.— SPENCER A.
John was invaluable during our house-hunting journey. He's incredibly responsive and was always able to answer our many questions (and relatedly, very patient). We were especially nervous as this was our first home-buying experience, but our fears were always assuaged by John's deep knowledge and calm demeanor. Would recommend working with John to anyone!— WILLIAM K.
I have now bought 2 houses and sold 1 with Jennifer and everything was seamless from start to finish with each one. She is knowledgeable on the market, super informative, and always there to help answer any of my questions. She genuinely wants to help you find the perfect home, she's patient and honest so we trusted her guidance to make sure we got the home we wanted! Thank you again!— STACEY M.
We could not have been more pleased with our experience. John Kostrey is a real expert and makes the whole process as easy and painless as possible. It felt like he just took the reins and did all the work for us - we just had to make a decision and sign a few pieces of paper. At every step of the way, it was clear John knew exactly what he was doing and we never had to worry about a thing.— JHANLEY
Working with Katharine was an absolute dream. She guided us with care every step of the way and was very responsive and attentive throughout the entire home buying process. She helped us navigate through what was totally new territory for us and actually made the journey exciting. Her confidence and expertise put our minds at ease time and time again. I loved working with her and highly recommend her!— LAUREN B.
John had helped our friends find a place to rent and eventually buy another place a year later. Those friends recommended John to us. He helped us find the perfect home in the area we wanted to be while staying within our budget. Really appreciate all his help and expertise since this was our first home purchase and we needed a lot of info. Highly recommend John if you're looking to buy or rent in LA.— JAMES A.
John Kostrey helped us find our new home. We can’t say enough good things about him. He was a pleasure to work with. John is highly intelligent and knew the market extremely well. He has a great team backing him up. He also has great connections to other professionals that a buyer or seller might need. John is honest, patient, and listened to what we wanted. He didn’t pressure us and found the house we wanted for the right price. We strongly recommend John Kostrey for your next real estate transaction.— MARK H.
Katharine helped me buy my first home a few years ago, and then she helped us buy a new place and sell that one, all during the early parts of Covid lockdowns! She's really knowledgeable about LA neighborhoods and has a real talent for looking at the potential of properties (in a reasonable sort of way, not a well, if you poured another $20,000 into a remodel sort of way). She stayed on our bank and bent over backward to help us close early! Also, she's just a lovely human, so that's always an added benefit.— BUYER & SELLER
Jennifer is the best agent we've ever had. Her and her team including Mollie and John were so responsive and never scoffed if we needed to see, yet again, another house and make an appointment with a listing agent. Our deal was a hairy one, but every time we spoke to Jennifer she really gave us her honest opinion and always wanted truly the best for our family. We started working with her contractor and it couldn't have worked out better. She's recommended so many good people to us and we couldn't give her a more raving review. Thank you Jennifer.— CLARE S.
Jennifer has been our relator on two different homes now and we love her! My fiancé and I were first time buyers on our first purchase with Jennifer and she patiently walked us through the process of buying a home. She is patient, professional and knowledgeable. She was there when we had questions and always advised us with knowledge and choices that fit with our budget and lifestyle. Jennifer is a true partner during every step of the process. I would not only recommend Jennifer to other clients, but I will continue to use only Jennifer from here on out!— TRISHA G.
Jennifer is one of a kind. She was more than helpful, and easy to reach to answer any of my questions at all times. Whenever there was a townhouse I wanted to see Jennifer move fast as houses were flying off the market. She helped me to negotiate and I was able to obtain the townhouse I wanted. She arranged all of the inspections and worked hard to make sure things like repairs were fair. Even after the sale, she arranged for the painters and floor finishers to do some work before I moved in. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to purchase a home, you won’t regret it.— RUTH T.
John and Katharine are fantastic at finding and closing on a home. Their communication throughout the process is also first-rate. I was a first-time buyer and John was very patient with me, explaining what we had to do at every step, and taking the time to make sure I was comfortable during the entire process. Katharine went out of her way to help schedule multiple inspections, and both of them were always present to represent me when I was not available. Negotiations went smoothly and I was able to get more than my fair share of credits back from the seller. Excellent experience front to back. Would highly recommend this crew to anyone looking for ...— BUYER
Katharine is an excellent agent! She is very thorough, knowledgeable, she has great taste, and wonderful attention to detail. We didn't want to commit to buying until we found the perfect home, and Katharine was there for us every step of the way and never made us feel pressured or rushed into anything. She really helped us figure out how much we wanted or didn't want certain homes, helped us navigate offers and counter offers, and in the end found us a beautiful home that we love so much! She has excellent inspector recommendations, and made the whole inspection and closing process very seamless and easy. Also, she's kind and fun to tour properties...— BUYER
Where to begin?!? Jennifer went so far above and beyond my highest expectations! She really listens. She responded swiftly whenever I had questions (and I had a lot), and would offer suggestions that I never had even thought of. She made me feel like I was in very capable hands and I knew right away that I had picked the very best person to facilitate this process. I LOVED that she has also worked as a broker and knew the in's and out's of that process. Most importantly, as buying a home can be a very stressful experience, she gave me very calm and clear guidance. I really felt like I had a best friend and advocate on my side. Do not hesitate to wor...— BRIAN I.
Jennifer Eckert is an incredible agent. I have no doubt that she led us to buying the perfect house for us, and helped us get it at a reasonable price in spite of the insanely hot market. She has incredible local knowledge, building insight, great taste, and very strong relationships. Even our seller's agent commented on how great she is and I have no doubt that she is a big part of why we have our beautiful home. She's incredibly organized and responsive, I never felt like we had any dumb questions and she made us feel so comfortable every step of the way. Her instincts are spot on and she is invaluable in terms of making the right offer. If you hi...— STEPHANIE W.
Not only is Jennifer a dear friend, but she is also the only person I would hire in this crazy market. Jennifer helped me sell a home in 2013 having to navigate the sale with me and my ex-husband. Not fun for me and awkward and annoying for her but she handled it with empathy, kindness, and grace, all the while being professional from beginning to end. So when I finally, and very cautiously, approached buying a home again in 2021, I called her shaking in my boots. Not only did she hold my hand every step of the way, answering questions I knew were dumb and taking calls at all hours, but her knowledge and expertise landed me in exactly the right home...— CHERYL H.
We have been working with John and Katharine for a few months finding the perfect home in West Hollywood. They both made our experience so enjoyable and found us just what we were looking for. We are from Boston and really did not know the area too well, but knew we wanted something in a certain price range, safe and in a convenient location, as our girls will be the primary residents. John and Katharine accomplished all that and more and we can honestly say that they were truly out for our best interest and went above and beyond. In fact, we were in disbelief as how patient, honest and sweet they are! They both made us feel like their only client -...— BUYER
We recently sold our LA condo with Katharine Deering as our real estate agent. She was referred to us by a 3rd party, and came highly recommended. Let me say it was a complete joy working with her. From the get-go she immediately took it upon herself to take care of all the pre-listing items. This included finding and arranging contractors to do the painting, cleaning, and minor repairs of the condo, as well as finding and helping us choose a company to do the staging of the condo. She even did all the price negotiations for us. As for the sale of the condo- Katharine got us top dollar (and even a bit more). She was always available for any question...— SELLER
Jennifer is a lovely human being and a real estate force to be reckoned with. Our house hunt took longer than expected due to our inability to get our paperwork together, but she was always patient and ready to support us every step of the way. Jennifer remained positive no matter what curveballs we threw her way (and we threw a lot as we seemed to change our minds about our preferred neighborhood weekly). Despite being a very busy REALTOR, she somehow always made us feel like a priority and got us into preferred home viewings as soon as they were listed. Jennifer kept reassuring us that we would know when we found the right home and she would help ...— KATIA N.
I cannot imagine a better broker than John. Buying a home is a really intense process, and John was the perfect guide through it. From the initial phase of which neighborhoods to look at, through the phase of putting in offers, and even having to cancel a contract during inspections, John always had our best interests in mind and was extremely positive, supportive, and never showed any sign of losing patience. When we did eventually find a home that we loved, he was our best advocate and negotiator. When our offer was accepted, he knew all the right inspectors to call. He had many options for both general and specialized contractors for work we want...— ADAM T.
We are expert negotiators and fierce client advocates with Zillow profiles full of glowing reviews. We are passionate about our home town of Los Angeles and have deep roots in our neighborhoods and communities. And we have a long, successful history in the constantly fluctuating real estate industry here. We would be honored to help you achieve your real estate goals.