1. Tarbell, Realtors
Family is the key to this company’s success, says Deborah Stine, corporate vice president.
Tarbell has been family-owned since it was founded by Frank Tarbell in 1926. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana and is on its third generation of family members. Frank’s son, Don, is still active in the business.
Tarbell has 22 offices in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and also the Coachella Valley, encompassing some 1,200 to 1,300 agents. The greatest company growth took place under Don Tarbell’s leadership, Stine said.
“Obviously, we have a lot of great agents,” Stine said. “Our family-owned company is run in a way that offers superior service, because buying a home is the biggest purchase most people make.”
In addition to helping clients buy and sell, Tarbell also offers property management, both long-term and seasonal. The company is also known for its community involvement, including local office pumpkin patches, blood drives, document-shredding events, food drives, holiday events and Toys for Tots collection.
And, if you were hoping to buy the $12 million house Tarbell had for sale in Corona del Mar with the indoor swimming pool, wine cellar and home theater – sorry, it sold.
2. First Team Real Estate
Headquartered in Irvine, First Team was started by Cameron Merage in Huntington Beach in 1976 and has 20 offices in Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire, according to Jeff Gibson, public relations spokesman.
The company offers free online market research tools that can identify trends and details of properties, such as local schools and their test scores, pricing trends and more. The First Team Foundation supports a variety of community causes, including Irvine public schools.
“We sell every type of real estate from luxurious homes, in our partnership with Christie’s, to starter homes,” Gibson said. “When you come to us, we will identify your ideal buyer and how to market your property.”
3. Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices California Properties
This real estate company is known for marketing high-end, luxury homes, but it also represents buyers and sellers in all income brackets. The company has 60 offices from Santa Barbara to San Diego, including 10 in Orange County.
“We’re a company that’s based on strength, integrity and trust,” said Allison Jones, vice president of marketing, explaining its appeal.
The company, formerly known as Prudential California Realty, is affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices of America, with major investor Warren Buffett.
The company also has a charitable foundation for each county it serves, Jones said.
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