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Technology Changing Real Estate Business as Usual

It’s no secret that, in the competitive world of high-end luxury real estate specialists, the way of doing business is in the midst of a sea change.

Confidential consultations, private viewings, and lengthy phone discussions are and will always be vital tools for connecting with clients. But real estate professionals are seeing more of their clients utilizing the Internet to conduct their own home searches—and occasionally find homes for themselves.

Industry observers say the online searches won’t ever fully replace representatives serving buyers, but savvy real estate professionals see the need to incorporate technology rather than view it as a supplement to the way they already do business.

Steve High, president of Villa Real Estate in Newport Beach, and his team have fully embraced technology as one of the key components of their agency-client relationship, he said.

“The truth is, the way many realtors do business is antiquated,” he said, adding that for Villa Real Estate, technology is a cornerstone, not just an adjunct.

Ninety percent of buyers begin their home searches online, High said.

“When a person in Connecticut is looking online for a five-bedroom, four-bath, ocean-view home on the coast, there may be many options, some listed by other real estate companies,” he said. “Our technology team is responsible for making sure that the homes we list pop up first on search engines.”

The team’s approach also keeps buyers and sellers aware of ever-frequent changes in the marketplace. The luxury home market is strengthening monthly, so it’s especially important for sellers to have access to marketplace reports, even in the middle of the night when their agents may not be available. Villa posts reports whenever it gets updates on properties, keeping clients abreast of changes.

The company’s approach seems to be working: In the three months since it opened shop, it has closed $105 million in sales. Its current listing inventory is $205 million, with 78 homes available. Eighty-eight homes are in escrow.

Get Your Motor Runnin’

One of the unique features of the estate at 11 Highwater in Newport Coast is its eight-car garage and gated motor court. Both are unusual features in the high-end communities that dot the Orange County coast. The Santa Barbara-style custom home boasts views of the ocean, Catalina Island and Newport Harbor.

The home has eight bedrooms and six baths, a large theater room, wine cellar and other features.

The 11,400-square-foot estate sold on July 25 for $11.5 million, five months after it was originally listed for $13 million.

Chris Valli of Surterre Properties Inc. represented the buyer and seller.

Elegance Defined

The Eastern-seaboard-style home overlooking China Cove at 2628 Ocean Blvd. in Corona del Mar sold on July 22 for $4.7 million, less than its June asking price of $5 million. The home, at 3,300 square feet, makes the most of its 3,842-square-foot lot.

The four bedrooms and four baths include a master suite with a sitting area and spa-like bath and three additional ensuite bedrooms, each with a private balcony.

The home has views of the Newport Harbor entrance, the Wedge, the ocean, Catalina Island and nightlight views of the harbor showcasing the Pavilion and the Balboa pier.

Chuck Allen of Coldwell Banker Previews International represented the seller and buyer.

Bay Front and Beautiful

The estate at 1112 W. Bay Ave. in Newport Beach doesn’t have a front yard; instead, the front of the house is defined by a dock that can accommodate a large yacht.

The home sold on July 22 for $4.5 million. It was originally listed in June for $4.8 mill-ion. The 3,490-square-foot house has five bedrooms and five baths and sits on a 3,920-square-foot lot.

It recreates a traditional Cape Cod look on the outside. Inside, the home is light and airy, with high, beamed ceilings and numerous windows providing bay views.

Tim Carr of Villa Real Estate provided the listing. Steve High of Villa Real Estate represented the buyer.

Contemporary-Style

The three-bedroom, three-bath, contemporary-style home at 1008 E. Balboa Blvd. in Newport Beach sold on July 16 for $4 million.

The 2,300-square-foot home includes sliders that fully open to the outside, effectively bringing in the outdoors and their waterfront and sky views.

The 2,490-square-foot property includes a dock for two boats.

Evan Corkett of Villa Real Estate represented the buyer and seller, the latter of whom is a former partner in Cabo Yachts and has properties in Hawaii and Arizona. The buyer is based in Beverly Hills and owns several other properties in Newport Beach.

The home’s original May listing was for $4.2 million.

Look Me Over

The property at 51 Overlook is on the highest-built lot in Newport Coast: 1,067 feet above sea level. It has unobstructed panoramic views from Laguna Beach to Palos Verdes to the mountains and beyond.

The 4,775-square-foot home, which has four bedrooms and 4 ½ baths, sold for $4.5 million on July 16. The lot is nearly a third of an acre.

Its original asking price was $4.8 million in April.

Heather Saito of Coldwell Banker Previews International listed the home. Gary Boisen of Surterre Properties represented the buyer.

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