* * * * *  We were purchasing our first home and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Richard was the best teacher/professional/friend you could have to navigate through the process. He knew everything about the properties we looked at and was able to give us guidance that allowed us to navigate  smoothly through to the home we ended up purchasing. John kept us focused on the prize during the closing process and was readily available to answer any questions we had. We would highly recommend them and look forward to working with them again when we are ready for our next real estate adventure. -Chris and Stephen

* * * * *  Richard and John did a fantastic job selling our Guerneville property.  They are extremely professional and very experienced.  Working with them was outstanding in every aspect.

Because this was a weekend house, we found it difficult to find the time to do all the necessary work to prepare the  house for sale.  Richard, John and Kett, their talented and resourceful assistant, had a great "can-do" attitude and took care of much of the necessary work to get the house in top condition.  Through their extensive network of contacts, they were even able to help us sell art work, a truck and arrange for donation pickups.

Bottom line - Richard and John got us an over-asking offer, negotiated excellent terms and closed in 35 days!

These guys not only did a masterful job marketing and selling our property, but also went above and beyond all expectations to take great care of us.  We feel that they are the best agents you can find in Sonoma County. -Gordan K. 

* * * * *  The experience I had was beyond amazing. I had to sell a house that I lived 4 hours from. I was worried about all of the trips I would have to make back and forth to get the house ready to sell. Once I listed my house, I never had to make one trip. Everything was done for me from painting, repairs,  yard work and staging. They put together amazing advertising, hosted an open house with wine and catered food. They showcased the full beauty and potential of the house and brought in many buyers. After the first open house, we had multiple offers and a month later closed escrow. They had the knowledge and professionalism as well as being extremely likable. I enjoyed working with Richard and John. I highly recommend using their real estate services. -Jan and Rob N. 

* * * * *  Richard Lester and John Genovese (Vanguard Realty) are the premier realtors of Guerneville.  REALLY. The proof is that approximately two years ago I listed my house in Cazadero with another well-known agent and received no offers.  This summer I re-listed with this dynamic duo and immediately received eight offers after an open house. All the offers were SUBSTANTIALLY more than the list price two years ago.  

After my unsuccessful experience with the previous relator, I interviewed realtors to hear their thoughts about why I didn’t get offers during my last listing, and how they would market the property differently.  Everything that Richard and John advised made a lot of sense.  I realized they are VERY experienced, understand the market, develop strategy specific to the property, create high-quality marketing materials, are proactive, and well connected in Guerneville and SF, and in between. 

And there’s more…I live in San Rafael (almost two hours away from the property) and work full time, so it was a HUGE  relief that they took care of everything in preparing the house for sale. They arranged all craftsmen, met with inspectors, checked on progress, arranged the stagers, and gave me expert advice. This lifted a tremendous burden from me. 

Lastly, they’re very pleasant, fun  and made the process painless. Without Richard and John this experience could easily have been a nightmare. I urge you to use them - you’ll be very pleased with the results. -Barbara L. 

* * * * *  Have been working with Richard and John for about a month, trying to find a property in the Russian River area to use as a retirement home. I have been in the Mortgage Industry for nearly 30 years, am a licensed Real Estate Broker (CA Dept of Real Estate), have owned several homes over the past 35  years or so, and have NEVER enjoyed working with a Realtor as much as I do so with these two guys. They are uncanny in the breadth of knowledge, experience, and good judgment they employ with such a light touch, wit, and confidence-building firmness. I cannot endorse them more highly to anyone wanting to make sure they find the right deal on the right property with the least angst! 
-Michael H.

* * * * *  By random chance we started looking at houses with John & Richard.  When we became a little more serious about buying, our mortgage lender, who happened to be an acquaintance of ours, admonished us for just going with the first realtors we bumped into.  He told us to wait while he checked these  guys out.  A little later, he wrote back and said that according to his sources “you are working with the best guys in that area”.  Wow, was he right.

John was so upfront and honest about how to approach the sellers and how to get the best deal without offending the sellers away.  It seemed like he responded instantly to all our emails and voicemails.  Since we were first-time home buyers, we had many nervous moments.  John & Richard constantly reassured us and explained to us what was going on.
Even after we got the house, John & Richard are still there for us.  They know all the tradesmen in the area.  When we had a question about re-doing some window, they immediately provided a list of people in the order of who to contact first to last.  We consider ourselves lucky to have these guys working for us. -Nikolai & Jana S.

* * * * *  There are simply no agents in the area to compare. Calm, resourceful, dedicated and brilliant...although our property has not sold yet, we feel cared for knowing that they continue to market our house aggressively. Any home buyer or seller could not be in any better hands. Thank you John and Richard. - Linda L. 

* * * * *  I have worked with Richard and John to purchase a home in the Russian River area and sell that same home a few years later.  These guys are a joy to work with and I had a great experience in both transactions.  They are very knowledgeable, incredibly accommodating and responsive.  I also really appreciated the care taken to make sure I understood every step in the process, explain documents I was signing and keeping me informed as things developed.  I really felt like they had my best interests in mind all along the way. I would highly recommend Richard and John for anyone looking to buy in the area. - Mack S. 

* * * * *  We highly recommend Richard and John for so many reasons.

A) They are a pleasure to work with! Friendly, informative, easy to reach, prompt to respond.

B) They are excellent realtors. They have been in the industry long enough to know the in's and out's of real estate transactions. Both provide accurate information, answer all questions, and are willing to do research to get to the bottom of something.

C) They are EXTREMELY knowledgeable of West Sonoma County. Anyone selling understands (and anyone looking to move to this area should learn) that there are very unique features to the area which can significantly impact a real estate transaction. Many realtors, even in the Russian River area, may not be aware of some of these "quirks", and these quirks can cost clients money (whether buying or selling), or lead to a transaction cancellation.

Aside from the reasons listed above, we also suggest working with Richard and John because buying/selling a home can be a stressful and draining process, but they made us feel like family with all their help and reassurance throughout the entire transaction. -Devin C. 


* * * * *  I couldn’t have wished for a better team to represent me with the sale of my home. John and Richard’s level of service, knowledge and helpfulness was, and continues to be, of the highest level. They simply are the best!!! Rock stars of real estate! ;) - Julie H.

* * * * *  Richard and John were just awesome to work with. Can not recommend them enough. We purchased a second home in the Russian River Valley. Living in SF, neither of us had any understanding of all the myriad of things that need to be considered when buying a home in the county. It could have been daunting but instead it was a smooth experience. Richard took a lot of time to drive us around and really show us the wide range of properties and homes, and neighborhoods/areas. This was invaluable. Equally as important was their meticulous attention to details. In the entire process only one initial was missed but caught by John when he was reviewing everything. Compared with the mortgage side of the process which was stressful. 
Finally, after the close, they are still helping us. They have an amazing network of quality professionals to help deal with any problem, from overhauling your septic, to pest control. 
Thank you Richard and John for an amazing journey. You are an awesome team. - Bryan & Tom

* * * * *  
It's obvious John and Richard love what they do. Their knowledge of Russian River real estate is extensive. I'm a San Francisco transplant (city boy) who was tired of living in the city and decided to move to the country. These guys were invaluable to me during this process. Their negotiating skills are top notch; their hand holding ability second to none; and their professional demeanor and friendly disposition makes it an incredibly pleasant experience throughout the process. - Steve P.

* * * * *  Richard and John committed to having our home on the market in 10 days which seemed impossible. They coordinated inspection, repairs, and staging . The house went on the market on schedule. Their guidance on pricing got us 7 offers. All were over asking and the one we accepted was all cash, no contingencies. I think they are miracle workers. - Richard & Peter

* * * * *  I found my buying experience to be handled in a professional, competent, and unrushed manner. This agent was organized and thoroughly knowledgeable about the areas we looked at. I would utilize his service to purchase another property and would recommend him to others as he was recommended to me. A good professional in the business. - Fred Z.

* * * * *  John Genovese and Richard Lester not only helped us find the perfect home at an amazing price, but they also got a great price for it when we sold it 5 years later. They were amazing to work with start to finish and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. - Crispin & Ramah

* * * * *  Working with Richard and John was a joy! They were so helpful in helping me prepare to sell my home and select an appropriate price. When it came time to list the property they did back-to-back open houses on the weekend; I excepted an offer on Tuesday. If you need to buy or sell in the Russian River area talk to Richard and John! - Kris

* * * * *  John Genovese and partner Richard Lester are the real deal. These two long established and highly successful savvy gentlemen genuinely find joy and fulfillment from helping their clients realize their real estate goals. Richard and John have expert knowledge of the Russian River area, and they absolutely are trustworthy. Despite them being reputable, in demand and busy professionals, John and Richard are unfailingly reliable, always kind and personable, and truly are there with you every step of the way as though you're an exclusive client. If you want to be happy and satisfied with your choice of realtor, Richard and John are the beginning and the end. Recommendation: A clean sweep of 5 stars! - Tracy & Ron

* * * * *  The dynamic duo was terrific in helping us sell our country home. Not only were Richard and John a pleasure to deal with, but they have great resources (stylists, contractors, cleaners, etc.) to bring to bear, and were realistic in their suggestions. We also appreciated that they didn't pressure us on any decision, and were always forthright. A great team. - Royee & Jack

* * * * *  John and Richard were amazing!!! They really know the area well and helped us narrow down on our search quickly. The purchase process was also very smooth and they kept everything on track. I would highly recommend them to anyone. - Emily W.

* * * * *  Richard and John were great helping us find the right place, then managing a unique multi lot situation that only someone who knows the area and how to work with the system can handle. It went incredibly smoothly and we are overjoyed with our choice. - Dr. Joe L.

* * * * *  Great job in helping getting the price right, negotiating the house, helping me understand and get through the process! These guys made me feel that they were working in my best interest and not just another client. Highly recommend and will call them for any needs I have in the future. - Greg H.

* * * * *  We recently sold a small cottage in the Cazadero area. We received a recommendation from a kind neighbor. We contacted Richard and John. From that moment the whole procedure developed smoothly and very professionally. Every page of the legalese document was explained to us in human language. Richard and John explained in detail the complex stages of the sale. We send them our highest recommendation with kindest wishes..  They are master communicators & we cannot find one flaw in the entire procedure...  Jean and Colleen.

* * * * *  I  want  to  take  a  moment,  on  behalf  of  Robin and  myself,  to  thank  you  two  for  such  a  great  effort in  making  all  this business  from  the  repairs, revisions,  and  changes  to  the "legalese" of  the  deal  almost  seamless  in  nature.  As  I  load  up  the  Element  for  the  first  trip  to  (our new house),  I  know  we  couldn't  have  done  this  without  your  expertise  and  great  compassion.  Words  seem  to  fail in  this  situation.  I'm  sure  hundreds  of  other  real estate  professionals  could  have  orchestrated  this  deal,  but  it  was  your  great  empathy, attention  to  detail, and  watchful-eye  that  made  this  transaction  successful.  The  communication  during  the  process  was  great and  I  always  felt  as  if we  were  working  as  partners  in  the  sale.  For  years,  I  always  thought  real  estate  was  a  pretty cold  business,  but  this  experience  has  taught  me  that  it  is  a very  human situation and , with  the  right  people,  can be  very  empowering.  Again,  thanks (beyond  words)  for  all of  your  efforts,  phone  calls,  and  trouble-shooting... I  know  we  would  have  been lost  without  such  a  vital  effort  from  both  of  you. - Jim  &  Robin

* * * * *  A Poem:  "There's no better feeling on this great earth than buying a home from John and Richard at HERTH.  We started out house hunting for the fun and the thrill, but where we are now seems like a dream to us still.  You both have helped make this a dream come true, we now own a home thanks to the two of you.  We'll have you over to toast the house with wine, but please accept this basket as a token of thanks in the meantime.  The Advil is for all the headaches we brought or if you're feeling over-wrought.  Hand sanitizer for all the folks you meet after you extend your hand to greet.  Some office supplies to keep things flowing as the paperwork stars a-growing.  Tums to digest the on-the-run meals as you're making all those deals.  Snacks to keep you satisfied, always have them by your side.  Wine to celebrate the closing or to send you off dozing.  And for those days when you're feeling blue, we've included sock puppets for you!  There's a book you'll find, and some other things too, we just want you to know we appreciate you.  We love you guys. You are the best to work with and it's our pleasure to know you.  Thanks for all you did for us!"  Mike & Gina

* * * * *  Thank you for --- SO much:  For your unending patience with dumb questions and unrealistic requests, for your careful attention to important details; for the brilliant letter and tactful management of ludicrous stands on principle; for understanding what we wanted and how to get it; for knowing so much about the area, the experts.  And for your calm and friendly support through it all!  Very Gratefully,  Clara & Kevin

* * * * *   We really want to thank you for everything that you're doing to help us to get this property sold.  We realize that this is not even close to a good time to try to sell, let alone a great time.  Never-the-less, you keep us motivated and optimistic.  Not to mention, although you must have a "million" clients, you never fail to make us feel like we are your "only clients" and that you have all the time in the world "just for us".  You have no idea how much we appreciate that. It really makes you guys shine!" - Cheryl & James

* * * * *  We have just completed the sale of two homes with John and Richard. There is nothing we could say about them that would exaggerate what a GREAT job they did!  We have sold several houses with other real estate agents before meeting John and Richard, and they are the best we have ever encountered. The level of service, superb marketing, sincere care for our needs, dedication to getting our home sold for the best price, perseverance though the escrow to ensure the deal closed, and follow up after the sale was astounding.  We wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking for quality real estate agents.  Thank you John and Richard!" - Kris and Jon Briody 

* * * * *  Several months ago I walked into the HERTH Real Estate office in Guerneville with questions about buying property in Sonoma County and questions about selling our home of 30 years in San Francisco. John and Richard were there at the office that day. It was amazing to stumble upon REALTORs who were so knowledgeable about both markets. They were so helpful and pleasant that I returned many times.  When my husband and I were finally ready to put our San Francisco house up for sale we chose John and Richard to be our agents. By that time I felt completely comfortable with their knowledge of the market and really liked their honest warmth and down-to-earth approach. John and Richard devised a strategy to sell our home, guided us through all of the steps and gave us invaluable support. The outcome was EVEN BETTER than we EXPECTED. Our experience couldn't have been better and we were thrilled. They are great people and great Real Estate Agents. We recommend them without reservation." - Pam & Bob 

* * * * *  If anyone has ever gone through the process of selling their home, they know how difficult and intrusive it can be.  Although we were excited with the anticipation of our new adventure, we were not excited about the sales process. John and Richard made the entire experience painless.  Both are thoughtful and professional.  The house was on the MLS for a week... and the dynamic sales team sold it.. with multiple offers and over asking price.  Need we say more? What a great team!  -Shirley & Jo


5 Star Experience

Please send us your comments on our service: 1. Honesty & Integrity 2. Responsiveness 3. Local Knowledge 4. Negotiation 5. Process Expertise

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