Celebrating Children’s Day

Our very own, Guadalupe (Lupita) Rodriguez donated her time to el Dia del Niño, a day commonly celebrated in Mexico, on April 30th, to recognize children and provide special events or activities for them to enjoy. The main focus of this celebrated day is to make children feel special. This annually-celebrated, unique event fills shopping malls with entertaining activities, special events, vendors, magicians, music, food, and more. The purpose of the festivities is to remind adults of the importance of childhood and to celebrate the joy that simplicity can bring. Lupita proudly represented CSR Real Estate Services at Eastridge Shopping Mall, in San Jose, to further inspire children to have career aspirations and to keep learning in school. Way to go!

15 Years of Success

This year marks CSR‘s 15th birthday! That’s right, we’ve been around for, perhaps, longer than you’d think. While this year we celebrate success as a growing, healthy company in the heart of Silicon Valley, we couldn’t have made it this far without the progressive thinking, motivation, and family-like-culture that our Leadership Team, Staff, and Agents posses. So why is this such a big deal? Well, research supports the fact that nearly 50% of businesses fail within the first year of life, 73% within the first five years, and an astounding 96% within 10 years time. This alone makes us pretty proud to still be standing strong after year 15. 

In 2003, Bonafede brothers, Steve and Brian, decided to continue their real estate business with their own Silicon Valley flavor, along with close friend, Dave Wendt.  From the start,  it was all about family and building relationships.  The business consisted of the two brothers, their sister, Laura, and Brian’s wife, Dina Bonafede. From there, close friends joined in and provided lending services to start the company’s initial growth. Just a few short years later, in 2007, CSR grew to 50 agents and staff, despite the economic downturn. Through it’s many ups and downs, business stayed above water and the Bonafede brothers stepped up to the plate. They continued to educate veteran and new agents on how to best maneuver through the ever-changing market. Simultaneously, CSR’s Commercial Division was formed by close business partner, Tony Odom. Both businesses fought for success together and grinded it out through seemingly impossible times. While it seemed nobody could buy a house and businesses were closing left and right, somehow, CSR made it through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

2012 rolled around and the company was in need for a few adjustments in order to maintain growth among Silicon Valley’s vast technology boom. That year, Terry Meyer, VP of Operations & Broker Associate, joined the CSR family. With heavy knowledge and experience within the real estate arena, Terry was able to collaborate with the Bonafede brothers and act as the glue that held the expanding company together through recruiting, branding, and promoting a company culture of inclusiveness and education. The following year, in 2013, Duane Hood joined forces with the Commercial division, thus forming CSR Commercial Capital, which provides comprehensive financing solutions.

The next year, in 2014 CSR Cares was born. One of the guiding principles at CSR is that we support and ignite positive change in the community where we work and live. The foundation is a non-profit organization focused on supporting and benefiting children within our community. To this day, CSR Cares has raised over $1,000,000 in an effort to support the well-being of children and the community. 2016 came around and our agent pool grew to 70 agents and staff, and exceeded 100 agents the following year.

2017 was a big year for CSR. Not only did we expand to Roseville, CA, we also can check a successful business merge off the bucket list. In September 2017, Silicon Valley Associates (SVA) joined forces with CSR and appointed Don Jessup as Vice President. In the latest news, both CSR Residential and CSR Commercial divisions have been recognized by Silicon Valley Business Journal and named in the Top 10 Real Estate Firms in Silicon Valley. Here’s to 15 years of success and many, many more.

Lending the Community a Helping Hand

To finish up April strong, Don Jessup and the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation repainted and conducted other repairs to a home in Downtown San Jose as part of Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley’s Rebuilding Day, an event to better the community. The 47 amazing volunteers, including San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo, really made a difference that day. #RebuildingSV


Making a Difference in the Community

Power couple, Dina and Brian Bonafede, took a step up in the community as a result of making a major impact in a local school’s charity event this past Friday, April 20th, 2018. Dartmouth Middle School, in close proximity to CSR Real Estate Services, was overwhelmed with joy from the couple’s generous donation of $5,000 to the middle school’s  Home & School Club to further benefit the music program. The mission of the Union School District is to enrich the community through learning. The school district is dedicated to children: to involve the community, to anticipate challenges; to take advantage of opportunities; and, to guarantee vital skills for all our children to pursue lifelong learning and become productive citizens.

Friday, the school hosted a comedy night, filled with silent auction items, raffles, food, beverages, selfie stations and more, all in an effort to raise money for the program. Before the night concluded, Dina and Brian proudly presented their donation to the entire school. While a grand total has not yet been identified, upwards of $31,000+ in donations were generated that night, a new school record! CSR couldn’t be more proud of these all-star company representatives and model-citizens.

Founded in 2003 by real estate veterans who sought to enhance the experience of buying and selling a home, CSR Real Estate Services is a boutique, Silicon Valley real estate brokerage. CSR stands for: dedication to the Community where we live and work high level of Service provided to clients and business partners long term Relationships fostered through integrity, competency and mutual respect.

26 Years of Granting Wishes

We’re hosting our 26th Annual Make A Wish – Greater Bay Area Event!

Support an incredible cause and change a child’s life while enjoying tacos, music, adult beverages, and more alongside a gorgeous poolside venue, in the heart of Cambrian. Silent Auction, raffles and more to look forward to!

Purchase your tickets, here. 



Follow this event on Facebook!

Thank you to our valued sponsors for making this event possible (more to come). 

Become a Sponsor

CSR Commercial Real Estate Welcomes Erika Cervantes

The Commercial division at CSR Real Estate Services welcomes Erika Cervantes to the team as Commercial Leasing & Sales Manager. Ms. Cervantes began her Commercial Real Estate career working directly for one of the largest individual commercial property owners in the Bay Area. Ms. Cervantes has dealt with all aspects of commercial leasing and property management for nearly a decade. From tenant management, building maintenance, leasing of retail, office & industrial property types, Erika demonstrates professional excellence throughout her career.

Being bilingual, Erika is able to connect with a larger audience and gain trust from the masses. Ms. Cervantes’ success lies within her philosophy, that if you take care of your clients, they will take care of you.

“Beyond Erika’s experience and skills, her will to go well above and beyond, and her driving force of doing what is in her clients’ best interest is why we knew we had to have her on our team” explains Jonathan Hanhan, CSR Commercial.

Ms. Cervantes is a strategic and key addition to support the growing Commercial team with Tony Odom and Jonathan Hanhan in the expansion and sustainability of quality care and service to their key clients. Her technical skill set, character and congruency with CSR’s culture, of doing what is best for clients, is what makes this career marriage the ideal match.

But wait, that’s not all; Erika also values community outreach and helping others in need which is a perfect parallel to CSR’s Charity, CSR Cares. For over 6 years, Erika has dedicated her time and efforts towards assisting the homeless and is on the Board of Directors for the Youth at Risk Organization.

Welcome to CSR, Erika!

Erika Cervantes

Commercial Leasing and Sales Manager

(c) 408.648.7514

(f) 408.559.5505

(o) 408.558.5000 Ext. 7351




CSR Commercial Capital Closes $17M Construction Loan

CSR Commercial Capital closed on a $17,000,000 construction loan for a 4 story mixed use podium build project located at 955 South First Street just south of downtown San Jose.  The project consists of 50 apartment units ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms, along with five ground floor retail spaces totaling 5,136 s.f. Parking for the project consists of 74 residential spaces and 28 commercial spaces.  Tenants will also benefit from lush landscaping, a 452 s.f. children’s play area, and over 5,800 s.f. of courtyard space featuring barbecue and picnic areas.

The project was brought in to CSR Commercial Capital by the President of CSR’s commercial sales and leasing division, Tony Odom, who previously acquired the property for the client.

“The most challenging aspect of this transaction,” commented Duane Hood, President of CSR Commercial Capital, “was that we had an out of country borrower who, although he possesses permanent residency and extensive experience overseas, is not a U.S. citizen and has not previously developed in the U.S.  Aside from those regulatory challenges, however, we could not have asked for a better client. His responsiveness and decisiveness were instrumental in his ability to close this loan and move this exciting project toward completion.”

A representative for the buyer and partner in the ownership group commented, “In addition to just obtaining the land, CSR acted as a full service commercial real estate firm throughout this transaction, including interviewing the architects and general contractors and working with the city and title company to resolve issues. Moreover, CSR interviewed many qualified lenders, then brought us the most competitive commitments. We were able to select a lender which best suited our needs. We couldn’t be happier with the work the team at CSR has done.”

Learn more about what CSR Commercial & Commercial Capital can do for your business.

EVENT: 3rd Annual Cars & Caffeine

Well, it’s that time of year again! Get ready for our 3rd Annual Cars & Caffeine Car Show! View tons of beautiful vintage cars of all years, makes, models and styles. Bring the whole family and enjoy music, coffee & breakfast in the morning as well as lunch, on us!  The event will be held on Saturday, April 28th from 8:00AM- NoonIf you’d like to have your car featured in the car show, please contact Analisa@CSRTeam.com for more details. Hope to see you there!

3rd Annual Cars & Caffeine Show

CSR Agent, Kelly Hunt, Featured in Top-Producer Panel

Tuesday afternoon, approximately 50 real estate agents attended a panel of some of the most successful, top-producing agents in the area. The five panelists shared their success stories and tactics to a room full of acquiring minds. The panel included decades of experience from Jenny Huang of Coldwell Banker, Dale Warfel of Keller Williams, Jerry Zang represented Bay One Real Estate Investment, Keith Walker of Intero and CSR’s very own, Kelly Hunt.

The seasoned veterans were asked a series of questions in which each thoughtfully answered to feed the curiosity of the growing crowd. The day concluded with open questioning from eager attendees. Discover what led to Kelly Hunt of CSR’s success in the past and present as well as what she plans to do to prolong an ever-changing market in the Bay Area.

Tell us a little bit about yourself for starters.

Hello Everyone, I’m Kelly Hunt with CSR Real Estate Services. I’m a licensed REALTOR®, a Certified Residential Specialist, an Accredited Buyer Representative, a Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource and a Senior Loan Consultant with over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry.  My primary focus is maintaining the highest level of integrity and professionalism, while helping my clients achieve a very important and life changing goal.

What is your number one source of leads?

I’m sure everyone has a different method of getting more leads but really, it’s based off of reputation. First starting off with what you can do on a budget, mailers, flyers and whatever else you can do. Even if starting off with no budget, do what you’re capable of doing. It really only takes one spark to get things started.

After selling a home for one person that worked in the county, soon enough I had 30 county employees in my transaction history. It all stemmed from one excellent transaction which then “mushroomed” into mass referrals. It’s all about quality of service. That being said, over 95% of my business consists of referrals and returning customers year after year.

How much time do you typically spend on new lead generation?

I wouldn’t say I spend a ton on generating new leads. Since my database is healthy and I’ve maintained it over the years, my database essentially works for me in sending over referrals. I don’t go around door knocking or cold calling. I don’t necessarily geographically farm in an area either. While those are definitely workable tools to lead generating, everything works differently for each agent. Whatever works best for you, or what you’re comfortable with is what’s best.

Again, I can’t stress enough how your CRM (Client Relationship Management) or database is a major key to success! Keeping everyone organized even from years ago will have your database work for you in the end. Lastly, reputation is your lead generation! Client and community reputation is everything. Say an agent knows you against multiple offers. They know you’re ethical, professional, on top of your game, polite and are the whole package – they’ll likely pick you for reputation over another agent. It’s that simple.

Say you have some free time, what are you up to?

I usually exercise in the morning. Work/life balance is so important for a healthy self. At CSR, our company culture reflects that as well.

Do you have a team and at what point did it make sense to?

I hired assistant early on after I started producing. I do receive support amongst the company I work for too with the support staff, which is great. You do have to think of yourself as your own company within a company. The minimum help I’ve ever had was a part-time assistant. He helps me so much with database management in making it a live organism. My contacts are receiving monthly newsletters, event invitations, direct mail and more – all from my database.  It really is a game of cost comparison. An assistant is less expensive than what a realtor’s time is worth in being able to accomplish high-level work for clients –  oppose to time-consuming, yet essential work like putting out open house signs for an hour. The only way to succeed in this business is to build your weaknesses up and get help where you need it. In the end, this saves time and money while making your business run more efficiently.

For newer agents in the room, what’s your advice to getting a deal as soon as possible?

Again, having a CRM and getting that started is the most important. Also, getting out there and being face to face with people, building authentic relationships is key. Building trust is so important in a world of uncertainty.  Something else that is very important to realize is that the more knowledge you have, the better. Don’t stress about one agent having more experience over the other – the experience will come. You will service clients above and beyond with having more knowledge to use as tools. Focusing on your quality of service and initial interactions is extremely important.

Who do you talk to if your new to the industry?

Everyone you know! Now you have a place to put them (in your database) and make yourself well known, well thought of and top of mind with consistent marketing. Be in their presence at all times: online, social media, website, direct mailers, event invites and more. We now live in a world where you can touch clients at any time for anything. People DO forget that you’re a realtor, believe it or not. Continue to market yourself and remind friends, family and past clients that you’re in the real estate business. From there, you can continue to add to it. Before you know it, years will have passed by and your database will be filled by the hundreds or thousands. Cultivate leads in the future that are high-quality referrals. For example, I had a call from a client which I sold a home to 10 years ago saying, “We get your routine emails, news letters, event invites and all.  You were always there and have stayed in touch, so we are reaching out to find a new home after all these years”. Build your database and make it fully YOURS. When in doubt, focus is key. Use your heart to service your client. That’s the best method.

Who would you recommend as a coach?

There’s lots of sources out there. Our office implements Buffini & Company and Tom Ferry. It really helps that we have a Mentorship Program too at CSR. New agents are paired with a seasoned veteran in the industry during the first couple transactions to get things started and ensure everything is done correctly to make for a smooth transaction process. This also provides someone to help you be accountable. It’s great to have someone as a guide or mentor outside of friends and family. They have no other relationship with you than to make sure you’re successful.

What’s your ratio of buyers v. sellers?

This can fluxuate, depending on the market, but in recent years I’ve had more sellers than buyers. Listings generate more business – that’s for sure. You should receive about two referrals from a listing if you do a great job. If you list, you last; is what we say. This also gives you more of a bit more of a controlled schedule. You never know what will come as a result from a buyer or seller. Honest, excellent work makes for a prosperous business.

When do you think the market will turn around?

We will have corrections, as we always do. But I really don’t see it happening any time soon. There are no indicators right now with the technology job market booming. We have Facebook, Google, Apple and more technology giants continuing to move to the central bay area, Amazon, eBay…the list goes on. Tax rates and loan rates have begun to adjust. It’ll be interesting to see in the future when or how sever the correction turns to be, but I think it won’t be for quite some time. The environment is way different than it was in 2007. If you’re worried as an agent, you shouldn’t be. You have to think about it like this: We are our own global economy in Silicon Valley. We always recover faster than the rest of the nation after a recession hits. Not only that, but as realtors, we will be okay and come out faster than normal.

Top 3 ways to leverage current listing for next listing opportunities:

Host open houses, engage people, build up contacts and as I’ve mentioned: one listing turns into 2 more listings. Buyer and seller packets you make are huge in that it explains how transactions work. Give clients something of value. Social media is huge and honestly very inexpensive to market on. Have something of value with your marketing info on it to leave behind with clients for them to refer to. Boost posts and see the number of hits you get.  Ultra micro-segment your database by industry, likes, preferences, region and more.  Be in contact with the open house neighborhood. Coming soon marketing is huge. Let your database know you’re doing business, of course. Be sure to let neighbors nearby know before the sign goes up. This gives you a chance to learn more about the neighborhood and the character it possesses.

What percent of income do you put into marketing?

I don’t put a specific amount of time or money into advertising. Of course, I spend money on postcards, buyer packets, Facebook boosted posts and what not. Spending money to benefit a client generates more valued leads. You can spend thousands of dollars a month on Redfin, Zillow or Yelp to only receive a small percentage of leads that you have no relationship with – this makes it easier for them to fall off too.

What is your secret to longevity and prosperity to real estate?

Again, reputation to me is everything in prolonging a healthy and sustainable business. If you’re doing things the way you should be doing them (ethically), that’s the way to do it. Be proud and passionate about what you’re doing and be happy to do it. Educating yourself is key. Things are constantly changing in every industry. Know your stuff! You can’t sustain doing anything unethical or wrong – it really just leads to a downward spiral. Have a clean slate each night and be proud of what you’re doing as a real estate agent in making dreams come true for home owners. That really is the key to success, longevity and prosperity in real estate.

Learn more about Kelly Hunt.

We Love Our Affiliates!

At CSR Real Estate Services, we highly value our clients, employees, agents and of course, our trusty affiliates. On Thursday, February 22, 2018 we hosted a special event as a display of pure gratitude we have for those in our business circle. Pizza and beverages were enjoyed while the big NBA playoff game, Warriors v. Clippers, painted the room with excitement. We sincerely thank all of our business partners and look forward to what 2018 has in store. Representatives in attendance include, but not limited to: Almaden Valley Athletic Club (AVAC), Chicago Title, Old Republic Home Protection, Premier Lending, WFG National Title Company and First American Title Company.