Lara Carlson

Lara Carlson

MBA | DRE: #01188560



  • M.B.A. - Santa Clara University
  • B.A. - UC Santa Barbara

Client Testimonials

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"My wife and I had a great experience partnering with Lara during our home buying process that lasted through the COVID pandemic. Lara was extremely patient, thorough, knowledgeable, articulate, professional, and prompt in communication throughout the process. She constantly educated us on the various intricacies in the houses and played a balancing role during our home evaluations. Lara also connected us with various home experts such as the arborist, pool contractor etc. to learn firsthand and make an informed decision. We could not have asked for a better realtor than Lara for our home search needs. We would work with Lara again in a heartbeat! We would highly recommend Lara to anyone."
- P & S

"Lara Carlson has been extraordinarily helpful to us over the past three years. We've worked with her during three separate, very complicated transactions for properties in Los Gatos and Saratoga. Each time, I've been impressed by her in-depth knowledge of housing markets, house quality, and real estate legal issues. Plus, her negotiating strategies helped get us better prices than we had previously expected. At all times I felt she was calm, logical, and ethical, which was wonderful during such an emotional process. I always felt she had our best interests at heart. It deserves mentioning that we had very specific requirements in what we were looking for in our new home. While she listened and respected those requirements, she didn’t limit the homes she viewed on our behalf. When she saw the home we finally ended up buying and loving, she strongly suggested we go see it, even though it was not at all what we said we wanted. She knew our tastes and needs well enough to show it to us anyway. We are very grateful for that."
- The Lee Family

"I felt compelled to reach out to you to express our gratitude for all that you did to facilitate and deliver smooth and successful transactions for our new home in Saratoga and the house you helped us sell in Sunnyvale. After an exhaustive home search and numerous realtor interviews starting in August 2012, I was fortunate to have met you at an open house in Saratoga. I was immediately struck by your professionalism, dedication, and deep experience in the business as well as your connections and extensive knowledge of the south bay at large. The geographic reach you have, combined with an excellent marketing plan and premium virtual tour, enabled us to attract prospective buyers from all over the bay area creating tremendous competition; every sellers dream! Moreover, the fact that you personally represented us at the open houses versus sending another broker from your office was critical to us. I hired you for your talent and wanted to ensure that we “got you” every step of the way – which we did. I’m confident that this is one of the key reasons that we were able to realize the maximum price on our home in Sunnyvale, setting an all-time-high price precedent for the neighborhood. Equally important were the tireless hours you spent searching for our new home and negotiating a great deal. Your attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of the real estate business and contracts clearly contributed to the fair deal we were able to secure with our new home. It was comforting to know during this stressful time that you were watching our backs and had our family’s best interests in mind every step of the way. We couldn’t be happier in our new home and we love the neighborhood!"
- Mike, Lissa & Boys

"Lara and Nancy Carlson represented me in successfully selling my unique home in Saratoga. They each provided over-the-top service. In today's online world it is fair to ask whether the expensive sales costs of full service realtors is worth it. In my case they were. Lara guided me through the labyrinth of inspections and repairs to make my home a "clean" deal at least cost. They each worked diligently to make my home presentable and desirable. And they backed that up with marketing and seemingly perpetual Open Houses. If you are selling a home, you'd be cutting your options short if you didn't call them."
- Tom

"My brother and I inherited our family home and knew we wanted to sell it but had no idea of what we didn’t know. Through Lara’s coaching we moved through the selling process without one problem. Lara Carlson was recommended to us by a neighbor who had used Lara when buying her home. I am so pleased to have received this recommendation. Lara was successful in helping us understand the process and selling our home. Lara provides a full spectrum of services for her clients: complete and accurate paperwork, market analysis, fabulous communication during the entire process, inspections, painting, final cleaning, staging, marketing and showings were all handled without issue. I can highly recommend Lara Carlson to help you sell your home. She is compassionate, highly competent, professional, helpful and nudges exactly when a nudge is needed. I am confident any buyer or seller would be very happy with Lara’s services."
- Pam H. Wheeler

"It's been two months since we moved into our new home in Saratoga. We are very happy with our new home and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you did for our family and to make this dream a reality. When we met more than two years ago, Vasanta and I were impressed with not just your knowledge of the local real estate market dynamics but especially with your strong set of relationships with other agents and service providers. We were very grateful for your patience with us as we explored the various properties on the market. Even though we did not end up buying a house in 2011, we knew that we had found the right partner for us. When we did jump back into the home buying fray in 2013, we had only one call to make. It was definitely a seller's market when we began looking for a home in September 2013. The house we bid on had multiple offers. You gave us incredibly compelling insights to help us with pricing our bid but encouraged us not to go beyond what we were comfortable with. Our offer was not accepted and we were disappointed. However, you were masterful in building a trusted relationship with the seller's agent and when their first offer fell through, you were the first call that the seller's agent made. Your persistence and relationship building skills paid off beautifully! We go the house without even being the highest bidder. You realized that the seller cared more about the speed to close rather than the price paid and your structured the transaction accordingly. Your instinct said that we should insist on having our own inspections done prior to signing off on the contingencies. You were right. Thanks for your foresight and savvy negotiation with the sellers, based on the results of the inspections, you were able to renegotiate the price down without putting us at risk of losing the property. You saved us tens of thousands of dollars with your keen instincts! Last but not least, you took on the responsibility to make sure we got a good contractor for all our remodeling work and you got personally involved to ensure timely and high quality service. This in my mind is going way beyond the call of duty. Thank you for your dedication and diligence. We were happy to refer you to a family member in November when they were confronted with an unusual property buying situation. Again, you came through with flying colors."
- Raj & Vasanta

"It all started with us randomly walking into an open house hosted by Nancy. Even though we were not in the market at the time, her warm and attentive attitude left us with a deep impression. 6 months later, we decided to challenge Nancy and Lara to help us with our home purchase while we were 6 thousand miles away. After several phone calls and email exchanges, Lara quickly understood our needs and preferences, and recommended a house that was about to come onto the market. Had it not been Lara and Nancy’s flexibility to meet our schedule and clear communication, it would not have been possible to complete all the due-diligences and have the offer accepted all within our 11-day driving trip in Australia! Throughout Lara and Nancy were so organized and detail oriented that we felt confident that our best interests rested well in their capable hands. Whenever there were problems or surprises, the communication was calm, and always came with recommendations or alternatives. That had made this home purchase process much less stressful. Our friends who’ve been to our new home all fall in love with the house, and have the same question, “How did you guys get this house?” Our answer is always simply, “Lara and Nancy.” What impressed us the most was the above and beyond efforts that Lara/Nancy did for us, even after the closing and delivering of the house. They truly want their clients not only have a great buying experience, but also to enjoy the homes afterwards. Because of that, we not only met two wonderful real estate agents, but now also have two fabulous friends."
- Michael & Lily

"My husband and I met Lara Carlson about five years ago at an open house she was hosting. We were impressed with her warm welcome and had a great chat with her. She really stood out among all the other real estate agents we have met. When we had a question about real estate one time, we thought of her and called her up to get the information. She followed through in a timely manner even though we were not an active client. Her information enabled us to make a wise decision…When my husband and I decided to put our townhouse on the market, our first choice was to ask Lara to represent us. She was quick to pull a lot of information together for us to analyze the market and our position. Not only that, she covered all other aspects of getting the townhouse ready and competitive in the market. She advised us to upgrade the kitchen and even made a trip to the granite supplier with us to pick the granite. She works at light speed and her mind is crystal clear on what needs to be done and what is the next step. Efficiency is not Lara's only strength, she is also very, very thorough in going through all the real estate paperwork to make sure we understand everything and everything is done correctly. Her dedication to her job and her clients is of highest quality. We have not met other real estate agents who balance professionalism and customer relationship as well as Lara. Our townhouse was sold quickly and we were very pleased with the outcome…"
- BH & Mary

"Lara has been amazing during our entire house hunting process. She was patient with us as we were not very clear about what we wanted at the beginning. We changed everything about our search from the location, price, even the number of bedrooms and she patiently sent us new listings in sync with our changing requirements. It took us over 6 months to finally narrow down what we wanted and once we were there she was instrumental in helping us through the process. We were able to leave a lot of the background work to Lara and her capable team. She helped us with the house inspections, connecting us with a loan officer and even with contractors for some home improvements we wanted to make. Everything from the offer writing to the actual closing was as stress free as possible because we entirely relied on her. I cannot recommend Lara enough and will always turn to her when selling/purchasing a home."
- Archana

"Lara has helped with the purchase of our first house. She was very thorough, went through the contract before we even saw a house and explained all kinds of scenarios/strategies one could employ when finalizing a contract. When we were interested in putting down an offer, she always brought her contractor to go through the property inspection report with us. This is especially important in the market of sold as it is or no contingency. As this was our first home purchase, we were obviously nervous. Lara didn't rush us at all, she patiently explained pros & cons of each house we were interested in, which really helped us to make the right decision. She also followed through patiently with the sellers' agent on the agreement we had signed after the house was closed. Unfortunately, our sellers' agent was not particularly collaborative and it was a little stressful at times. Thank goodness that we had Lara taking care of all the open issues diligently with the sellers' agent even months after the contract was signed. If you are looking for a trustworthy agent with high integrity, Lara is the person you are looking for!"
-Yen Lin

"Nancy, and now the team of Nancy and Lara Carlson, have been my Realtors since 1995 when I sold my house in Los Gatos and moved to Santa Cruz County. Since that time I have done four more transactions with them; three in 2010/2011 including the sale of an investment property. The buyers of that property have since switched their allegiance to Nancy and Lara after seeing how competent they were in comparison to the agent they used to represent them in their purchase. Having been both a Realtor in Santa Clara County as well as a mortgage broker for many years, I am familiar with all the different aspects of transactions from both a professional and personal standpoint. Nancy and Lara are what I would call "Realtor's Realtors", and I would not consider using anyone else. I recommend them without reservation."
- Donna G.

"I have been a client of Nancy's since 1978 when my wife and I sold our first home and purchased another. Since that time I have done successive transactions with her and Lara totaling seven purchases and sales. I wouldn't think of making a move in real estate without them. I whole-heartedly recommend them to my family, friends and business associates with the confidence that they will receive the best service possible. In fact, they have handled transactions through two wives and divorces, and we all remain friends. I cannot say enough about their integrity, professionalism, knowledge of the real estate market and their superior negotiating skills. Their after-sales care and continuing service and updates have proven value."
- Nick T.

"As first-time home Buyers, our questions and concerns were plentiful. We had no idea what to expect from the home-buying process. From day one, Nancy and Lara clearly understood what we did and did not want in a home. Their knowledge of our desired target neighborhoods and financial requirements were kept as priority #1 in their search for our home. Once we found the home of our dreams, Nancy and Lara walked us through the offer, contract and closing process in great detail. This came as no surprise to us because from the very beginning they clearly outlined the full spectrum of resources and services that they would provide as our agents. As a result, we were well-informed, well represented and confident about the biggest purchase of our lives. Their attention to detail from lining up the best inspectors to final walk-through was invaluable to our peace of mind. We highly recommend Nancy and Lara to any home buyer or seller looking for a trusted partner."
- Michael & Christine

"We just wanted to thank you for making our home purchase such a wonderful experience. We truly appreciated your diligence, professionalism, and patience. You were always willing to show us every house we wanted to see. Since we were new to California, we were grateful for all of your help familiarizing us with all the possible areas we might be interested in living. We were very impressed by your attention to every detail. The time you spent explaining the contracts and the offer process was so helpful. We always knew what to expect, and there were no surprises when it came time to make an offer. Thanks for introducing us to John. The loan and the closing process was flawless. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. We hope you realize what a great service you offer to your clients. Buying a new home can be such a stressful time, but you really made it fun and enjoyable. You didn't just help us find a new house, you helped us find our new home. If we ever have to sell or buy again, you will be the first people we call."
- Greg & Kathy

"Nancy and Lara worked as our Realtors in our search for a house in Sunnyvale and Saratoga. Let me rephrase that, they worked TIRELESSLY to find us a house including mailing to homeowners in a neighborhood we'd expressed a strong interest in and driving through our "favorite" neighborhoods looking for indicators that someone was preparing their house for sale prior to it even being listed on the MLS.We have worked with other agents in the past, and NONE have even come close to having Nancy and Lara's desire to find us, their client, THE house we were searching for. They are knowledgeable, diligent and persistent, and for that we'd like to say, Thank You!"
- Ken & Karen

"I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your assistance in marketing and selling my home. Your professionalism and knowledge were greatly appreciated. Through some bumps along the way, you were there to explain everything, and at times, hold my hand. I felt secure in your knowledge of the market place. The fact is that my home sold for what I believe was fair market value. I had interviewed other agents who were recommended to me, but they informed me that what I would get for my home would be well below what it in fact you sold for. If I need any assistance in the future, I will indeed ask you to represent me, and I will recommend you without hesitation. If there is ever anything I can do to help you, I will be there in a heartbeat."
- Cyndie L.

"When I decided to sell my house in Cupertino, I asked Nancy Carlson of Alain Pinel Realtors to represent me in the sale. I have been very satisfied with that decision. She and her partner, Lara Carlson, were very thorough in handling the process. They helped me through the rigorous disclosures forms and looked out for my best interest throughout the sale. I am convinced that if it were not for their persistence in holding out for the best price, I would probably have sold for much less than the final amount. This, happily, I find is enough to help me into a comfortable retirement. I would gladly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a house."
- D.W.S.

About Lara
A native of Saratoga, California, Lara began her career as one of the original employees of Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) over 20 years ago. Upon receiving her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara she began working in both marketing and IT positions at APR as well as an assistant for individual realtors.

After leaving APR for graduate school, Lara worked for several years in corporate finance while studying interior design on the side. In 2002, she opened a successful interior design and staging firm. She later combined her two passions - real estate and interior design - by returning to APR as a full-time realtor.

Lara continues to utilize her experience in design, staging, and marketing when consulting with clients before and after purchasing/selling a home. Her outstanding integrity and patience as well as her master’s in business administration has enabled her to help clients successfully understand and succeed in the real estate market.

Lara enjoys working with both Buyers and Sellers and has gained a reputation with her colleagues and clients for being professional and efficient. She loves the education process with first-time buyers as well as with seasoned homeowners. Real estate is not just about marketing and negotiation. The disclosure process is rigorous, and Lara uses diligence and skill in risk management to protect her clients’ interests.

Utilizing her many years of experience, Lara enjoys the networking aspect of real estate. She is often able to provide opportunities to her clients to purchase or sell homes before they become available on the MLS (multiple listing service). In addition to being a full-time Realtor, Lara is also an active volunteer at her son’s middle school. She has taught several classes to the APR's Master’s Training Program on "Preparing a Home for Sale" and has been a top producer for several years with close to $100M in sales. In 2019, Lara and APR joined the Compass team to continue helping Bay Area families find their dream homes.

Knowledge is Leverage