Khrista Jarvis-Diebner on Breaking Real Estate Norms

Real estate was once a male-dominated business. Not in 2022. According to the latest National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile, 64% of all REALTORS® are female. Out of the nation’s top 20 real estate professionals by volume on the REALTrends list, nine are women. Among the top three individual sales associates in the Coldwell Banker® network, two are women. Similarly, two of the top three agent teams are women-led.*

Khrista Jarvis-Diebner knows all about breaking industry norms – and breaking records. 

Specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay region and headquartered in Danville, she leads the Khrista Jarvis Team with her business partner, Nicole Jung – the No. 1 medium-sized team in Northern California and the No. 1 all-women team nationally, per REALTrends. The elite team of 10 surpassed their own sales record in 2021, closing more than $600 million in sales volume, executing about 300 real estate transactions, and negotiating, in total, more than $38 million over asking price for their sellers. The team has over 100 years of combined experience.

Khrista Jarvis and her business partner, Nicole Jung, lead the No. 1 medium-sized team in Northern California and the No. 1 all-women team nationally, per REALTrends.

“I didn’t purposely set out to lead an all-female team – it happened very organically,” she shares. “It feels empowering to be in a position to offer women in my community an opportunity to better themselves. Most of us are mothers, and we know the challenges of having a career and a family. We support one another and inspire each other every day. ” 

Khrista herself has over 25 years of real estate experience. She has cultivated her reputation as her clients' trusted adviser, a passionate advocate for women in business, and one of the San Ramon Valley’s most enthusiastic lifestyle champions. “I grew up in this area, I’ve raised my three children here and I still live here,” she says. “I think it’s one of the best places to raise a family.”

The stylish, seasoned pro was one of the first Northern California agents to join Compass four years ago, originally recruited to open up the firm’s Danville office. In late 2021, she saw an opportunity to expand her business yet again with the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program. She was selected to be the founding member of the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® Lifestyle Ambassador program. As the inaugural Lifestyle Ambassador for the program, she lends her insights to the design and launch of this world-class program. 

Explains Khrista of the move: “Even though we had a record-breaking year in 2021, I was looking for new opportunities to grow our business. How can we leverage our success into something even bigger? I saw a chance to expand the reach of my personal brand under the Global Luxury banner and network with more agents, especially internationally.” 

Anxious to catch up with the newly minted Lifestyle Ambassador to get her read on everything from the most effective branding techniques to home design trends and what her local East Bay market is doing, we recently connected with her for “TrendTalk.” 

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryBefore we delve into the market, tell us a little about what makes the Khrista Jarvis Team unique.

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerIt’s the entire experience. Our service, accessibility, and responsiveness set us apart. We provide a complete concierge level of service to our clients. As a team of 10 extremely talented and dedicated women, we work around the clock, 24/7. We do it all. We pick up our clients’ mail. We water their plants. We want to make the entire real estate experience as stress-free as possible from start to finish. When you work with us, you know that you’ve hired the best. We negotiated $38 million over asking price for our sellers in 2021, and our listings sell for $45 per square foot higher than the local average. Because of our relationships and deep roots in the community, we know about off-market deals. At the end of the day, our clients feel taken care of throughout the whole process.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryCan you give us a quick snapshot of where your market sits right now?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerThere’s increasing inventory, and there is a strong appetite for homes in the higher end. Case in point: I recently sold a $5.5 million listing off-market in Alamo. However, we are starting to see signs of a transitioning market for certain houses and neighborhoods as interest rates have gone up. Still, it’s very house-specific. I would say our housing market overall is stable and healthy.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat has been the most noticeable change in your market in the last year?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerThe East Bay communities I serve – Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon – had home prices that were historically lower than San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Now, our prices are starting to catch up to some of these other areas. Our 2021 average sold price was $2.02 million in Danville and $2.71 million in Alamo, which would have been unheard of back in 2019. The work-from-home lifestyles that started during the pandemic opened up our market. People who were looking for more space, larger homes, and a family-oriented community found it right here.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryThe general expectation is that luxury real estate prices will reach a new equilibrium and “settle down” in 2022. Have you seen any signs of that yet?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerI have not. It just comes down to a lack of inventory. There’s a major demand for East Bay properties right now. People can work from home, and they don’t need to be near their places of work anymore. This lifestyle shift has driven our market up here, and people want to live here.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryIn terms of addressing low inventory, what are some of the innovative marketing tactics your team is doing to encourage more sellers to enter the market?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerWhat the last couple of years have taught us is that we must be ever-changing and constantly adapting to better serve the needs of our clients. We are ready for anything!  

On a branding level, our team does a lot of community events and outreach. We have hosted “Sip and Shop” events in downtown Danville to promote local businesses and raise money for a charity that is near and dear to my heart, Rooms for Hope. I’m also a passionate supporter of other female-owned businesses, so we enjoy collaborating with them consistently. We do regular advertising in Diablo magazine. We also produce our own local lifestyle publication, KJT Journal, which provides us with yet another touchstone with our current, past, and potential new clients. All of these efforts help keep our team front of mind. People know us in the community. When clients are ready to list, they know who to call!

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryFrom your point of view, where do you see your local luxury market heading this year?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerWe might see prices start to level off towards the end of the year. It all depends on the economy, and what companies decide to do with their work-from-home policies.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryThe media likes to tell the story about Bay Area buyers moving out of state in droves. Is this true?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerYes and no. I think prices have gotten so high that some of my clients want to cash out. Their kids can’t afford to live here anymore, and they want to follow their grandkids. Between the high cost of living, the political climate, and personal reasons, these factors have caused some people to question where they want to be long-term. That said, we still see a lot of buyers moving here from Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhich high-end housing trends do you think will continue to gain ground this year?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerPeople want turnkey homes. Interest rates have been so low right now that they don’t want to come up with the money out of pocket for a remodel. Building costs have risen too. So, houses that are done are much more desirable. For that reason, we are fixing up more houses before we put them on the market. We are using Coldwell Banker’s RealVitalize program a lot, so sellers can maximize their price. We find that the program makes a substantial impact; many have sold at or above list price.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat types of luxury properties are most in-demand right now, and what price ranges tend to be the hottest?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerThe hottest price point in our market is $2 million to $2.5 million, which speaks to the homebuyers who are looking for more affordability and value. Turnkey homes are most desirable, as I mentioned before. Outdoor living, outdoor kitchens, and pools have become very in demand.  

In terms of locations, people have tended to want to be near downtown Danville, where there’s walkability to restaurants, cafes, and shops. Or they’ve gravitated towards gated communities like Blackhawk with lifestyle, golf, and tennis amenities.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWho is the typical East Bay suburban luxury buyer right now? What are their must-haves? Where do they want to live?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerThey are most likely coming from other parts of the Bay Area. They tend to be tech families who have young children and want to get out of smaller spaces and into bigger homes with yards and near good schools. Right now, our business consists of about 60% out of area buyers compared to 40% local buyers.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryHas anything caught you by surprise so far in 2022?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerWhat’s been surprising to me is the sheer amount of homes that are going over asking price. A few months ago, I had one home listed for $2.1 million and went for $2.8 million. I had two other homes in Alamo that sold for $500,000+ asking price in the last month alone.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryAny predictions you’d like to leave us with for the next big trend to hit luxury real estate?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerI think outdoor living is going to be a major trend, not that it wasn’t already! With our nice weather and lifestyle, and after the challenges of the last two years, everyone wants to enjoy their home space.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat about interiors?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerEarth tones are coming back. We’re moving away from the all-white kitchen, and moving towards warmer tones. We’re also seeing black appliances instead of stainless steel. With so many more people socializing at home now, they are creating living spaces with bars and entertainment spaces.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryAny last predictions related to the market?

Khrista Jarvis-DiebnerI think we have seen a ton of appreciation in our market since COVID-19 hit, and the market is going to continue to level out. One trend that I would say should absolutely stay is to do pre-inspections upfront. Since the pandemic, we have adopted this practice although it is not always done. 

* Based on 2021 adjusted gross commission income 


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