Christine Baker Dishes on Willis Allen Real Estate
Written By: Sarah Hood
Photographed By: Julie Jones Willis Allen
Expert: Christine Baker
Credentials: Real Estate Agent and Advisor, Willis Allen Real Estate
Q: How did you come to be involved with Willis Allen?
Christine Baker: I was working as an agent, for another national firm back in 2008, when the market was badly deteriorating. As the market declined, I realized the importance of working with a locally owned brokerage with a strong management team rooted in the San Diego market and I joined Willis Allen in 2010. I was hugely impressed with their reputation in the luxury market, the technology and marketing tools that afforded me a competitive edge over the competition and their unwavering integrity.
Q: What sets Willis Allen apart from other independent real estate firms?
CB: I think part of what makes our firm so special is that we view our agents as part of a professional family. Willis Allen does not hire every agent who interviews with them. Instead, we make sure that we hire the right people for the job—people who uphold our business principles of expert market knowledge, integrity and honesty. The higher-ups want to get to know the agents on a personal level and introduce them to future clients that will work well with them. For that matter, our executives are actively involved with the real estate business besides just running the company. Even the current owner still enjoys making deals and directly helping clients.
Q: Willis Allen has property listings in many desirable San Diego communities including La Jolla, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. What specific qualities do you look for in the homes you decide to list under the Willis Allen name?
CB: In terms of the high-end properties we list, we examine a property’s architectural style, quality of construction/design to ascertain the best marketing strategy and price. Properties with water views, city views or canyons are highly desirable, as are homes with historical significance as there can be huge tax savings to the buyer. But the basis for our listings is focused on the client relationship and experience.
Q: What sorts of technology and tools do you use to keep the firm up-to-date in a highly competitive housing market?
CB: One of my favorite tech tools is an exclusive listing presentation app that lets agents and clients view a home in real time and automatically updates the property’s status as it changes. We also have a videographer who uses drone photography to capture aerial views of a property and creates high quality videos for the best marketing exposure. As for some of its more general tools, Willis Allen offers their agents a great proprietary system that actively campaigns to prospective buyers,creates informative seller reports, high quality interactive websites and many other tools to assist agents and ultimately benefit our clients. . We also have exclusive affiliations with Christie’s International Art & Auction House and Luxury Portfolio International , which means we have unprecedented marketing exposure to clients worldwide.
Q: How do you think Willis Allen has influenced San Diego real estate for the better?
CB: Willis Allen has been in business in San Diego for over 100 years. It’s always been a locally owned and operated brokerage focusing on desirable luxury communities like La Jolla, Coronado, Rancho Santa Fe, Point Loma, Del Mar and Downtown San Diego. We understand the local real estate market and can best share that insight, knowledge and expertise with our clients who ultimately benefit.
Q: How has Willis Allen affected the process of buying and selling for its clients?
CB: It all goes back to relationships. When clients are considering buying or selling, they want to rely on an agent or advisor whom they can trust and can develop a personal relationship. Many times, new clients are personally referred to me by satisfied buyers or sellers that have I have worked with in the past. My clients, find comfort in the fact that they can always call me for advice and suggestions before, during and after the transaction has closed. It also helps that Willis Allen has an outstanding referral network with similar firms domestically and internationally, which allows us to connect clients to other agents and companies whenever necessary.
We Got History: Although it was founded in 1914, Willis Allen received its name in 1942 when a young broker named Willis M. Allen purchased the company from Frederick L. Brown.
Across the Map: Willis Allen has offices in downtown San Diego, Del Mar, Coronado, Point Loma, Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla.
Willis Allen Real Estate
1131 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037
Christine Baker Talks Willis Allen, Client Relationships and her Love for Real Estate