Claude’s clients are his raving fans—they love that he is a financial wizard, and they adore him for his unconditional friendship and lifelong loyalty.
A former accountant and financial advisor, Claude’s property analysis always gets his clients the maximum value. His customer service, community involvement, and acts of generosity are literally legendary within his client base and neighborhood.
Homebuyers and sellers put their trust in Claude Smith to help them make one of the most crucial financial decisions of their lives. Claude’s 20+ years as a real estate expert are backed by another 13 years spent as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with major financial firms in both the United States and Europe. His top-notch financial expertise proves invaluable for homebuyers, sellers, and property investors looking to deftly navigate the real estate market without breaking the bank. When the financial stakes are high, Claude educates his clients about real estate market economic conditions, local and neighborhood appreciation rates, taxes and financial planning, and the complexities of the home loan process. With a proven track record and over $100 million in real estate sold to date, Claude understands value like no other Realtor®.
Because of his unique background in finance and accounting, Claude takes a more logical, analytical approach to real estate. “I like fixing problems,” he says. “I don’t look at real estate as sales or marketing so much as I look at it as problem solving for my clients.” Homebuyers and sellers rave about Claude’s integrity, persistence, loyalty, and above all, his incredible gift with numbers. “Your financial advice was invaluable to me,” wrote Kathryn Sharp after Claude helped her purchase her home. “Your guidance helped me to utilize my funds in the best way—that is, I got the most bang for my buck.”
Claude graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an Accounting degree in 1987 and launched his successful financial management career as a CPA. Soon, he was recruited to join American Express in London, England. Claude spent two years traveling through Europe, and as a golf fanatic, his fondest memory is tackling the famous St. Andrews golf course in Scotland. Eventually, Claude found himself back in his beloved college town and been here ever since.
In 2000, Claude became a licensed real estate agent and within four years, he earned his Broker license and started his own brokerage firm. “Little did I know that my financial experience, both here and abroad, was really going to prepare me for the challenges I face in real estate every day,” he says. Claude decided to join Maxavenue because they provide him with the resources, systems, and professional staff to take his commitment to excellent customer service to the next level.
Claude believes that educating his clients is the best tool to help them avoid making costly mistakes they’ll regret down the road. With Maxavenue’s Maximum Choice Home Buying System®, Claude examines how a home will fit a client’s lifestyle, how it will fare as a long-term investment, and what future maintenance and ownership costs are expected. Finally, Claude applies his financial expertise to help homebuyers evaluate their lender and loan options. “If you are not paying attention, you can easily overpay for financing in today’s market,” he says. “My job is to pay attention for you.” Claude helps homebuyers understand different loan types, loan fees, and interest rates so they avoid overpaying for a home or overstretching their finances in the future.
For home sellers, Claude is an expert at property marketing and utilizes Maxavenue’s Maximum Value Home Selling System®. “If done successfully,” Claude says, “this can help you earn up to 15 percent more for your home.” First, he begins with a rigorous pre-inspection process that eliminates any potential price reductions from buyers in the negotiation process. Next, a comprehensive home preparation and staging plan ensures that a home seller is maximizing the perceived value of their home and attracting quality offers.
“I once had a client who was being transferred out of state and had to leave immediately,” remembers Claude. “The house needed considerable work and our prospective buyer market was shrinking rapidly. I took the helm on his behalf and coordinated the home preparation effort—flooring, cabinets, counters, paint, and miscellaneous repairs. With a tight timetable, we got the home on the market, had multiple offers and a great contract well above what the seller had hoped for.” Well organized and incredibly reliable, Claude goes above and beyond for his clients no matter the circumstances.
When Claude isn’t busy finding solutions for clients, he is giving back to his community, volunteering as a coach for Pop Warner youth football. He also enjoys spending quality time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Michelle, and their two sons Jackson and Carter. They currently live in Lost Creek, a neighborhood in southwest Austin near West Lake Hills. Because of his firsthand knowledge, Claude is one of the dominating Realtors® in the Lost Creek and Westlake communities. He also assists homebuyers and sellers throughout the greater Austin area, including Travis, Hays and Williamson Counties. “Wherever my clients need me to be, I’m prepared to be.”
Claude Smith is many things: a native Texan, a loving husband and father, an avid hunter and golfer, and to homebuyers and sellers throughout the Austin area, he is a trusted friend, advisor, and resource. It’s not uncommon for Claude and his clients to remain good friends long after the transaction is over. “Some brokers disappear once the contract is signed,” says Todd and Pat Reynolds. “Claude was there when we needed him.” Indeed, Claude’s clients return again and again over a lifetime of home ownership, confident that they will receive honest facts and figures, consistent results, and impeccable service.
A Broker has completed a state-defined education that includes 900 classroom hours, way beyond the 210 hours required for agents. Additionally, Brokers must pass a more comprehensive broker's license exam. Brokers may work alone or they may hire agents to work for them.
A Realtor¨ is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors¨, the largest trade group in the country. Not all agents are Realtors¨ - but choosing a designated Realtor¨ means you've selected an agent that must adhere to the National Association of Realtors¨ stringent code of ethics.
Accredited Buyers Representative:
Real estate agents who have earned the Accredited Buyer's Representative designation have been trained to deliver enhanced customer service, extensive due diligence and expert negotiation skills. Agents without this designation may not have the training or experience required to provide top-quality real estate buyer representation.
Certified Negotiation Expert:
Agents who have earned the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designation are trained in a wide spectrum of negotiating strategies and techniques, along with tools to expertly negotiate from a position of strength. While all real estate agents have some experience in negotiations, working with a CNE designated agent gives buyers and sellers a strategic advantage in the negotiating process.
Graduate REALTOR, Institute:
Agents who earn the GRI designation have received advanced training in emerging technology, laws, and procedures as well as the increasingly complex real estate market itself. All agents work to provide a smooth home buying and selling experience, but GRI designated agents have taken the extra step to become a consummate professional and expert in their local market.
Seniors Real Estate Specialist:
Agents who have earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation have been trained to expertly guide and implement effective strategies for mature clients when making important decisions about selling, buying, relocating, or refinancing residential or investment properties.
Internet Marketing Certified:
e-PRO curriculum ensures your real estate agent has attained mastery of the latest social media technologies, such as Facebook and Twitter, and can create a compelling online presence vital to helping sellers reaching today's hyper-connected consumers. With the rapidly evolving world of Internet and social media technologies, it pays to have an expert on your team.
Certified Residential Specialist:
Agents who have earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation have been trained to understand the complexities of the housing market, how to best position their client’s interests, and how to effectively community with all parties to a transaction. In short, the CRS designation means your agent has more advanced, specialized training in all aspects of the residential market than agents who haven't earned this designation.
Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist:
Agents who have earned the designation of Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) are elite professionals with the knowledge, experience and skills required to expertly represent buyers and sellers in the Luxury Home market. In addition, a CLHMS designated agent is a local market leader with documented performance in the top 10% of their markets.
Short Sales and Forclosure Certified:<
Counselor of Real Estate:
Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager:
Seller Representative Specialist:
Agents who have earned the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation have demonstrated elevated professional standards, enhanced individual performance, and the ability to recognize emerging market trends and professional practices to real estate professionals. All of this specialized knowledge gives an SRS designated agent the tools to make the home selling experience as smooth as possible.
Green Real Estate Marketing Specialist:
Agents who hold the NAR Green designation have been trained to understand and expertly serve consumers seeking green “eco-friendly” homes. NAR Green agents not only receive education about the quickly developing green technologies and practices, but engage in ongoing specialized training to stay abreast of green real estate issues and trends.
Bachelor of Business Administration:
Master Certified Negotiation Expert:
Agents who earn the Master Certified Negotiation Expert (MCNE) designation have mastered a wide spectrum of negotiation skills - including all the CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) qualifications, plus email negotiations, advanced negotiation techniques for both buying and selling, as well as mastering negotiating techniques among different generations and cultures. An agent with these extra, in-depth skills give their clients a significant advantage in negotiating from strength.
Certified Senior Housing Specialist:
Certified Senior Housing Professionals (CSHPs) offer specialized service specifically focused on the needs and special circumstances of senior buyers and sellers. Having completed extensive coursework and the in-depth training, CSHPs have the specialized knowledge to help seniors achieve their goals. As such, they are more equipped than general real estate agents to serve as the Consumer Champion throughout the entire consultative process of a late-in-life move.
Residential Construction Certified:
Agents who have earned the Residential Construction Certified (RCC) designation have been trained to gain a deep understanding of residential construction materials and methods. With comprehensive construction knowledge, RCC designated agents deliver superior consumer value when representing their clients to appraisers, inspectors, lenders, designers, engineers, and construction professionals.
Certified New Home Specialist:
Agents who have earned the Certified New Home Specialist (CNHS) designation are trained professionals and experts in the details of buying a newly constructed home. From negotiating favorable contract terms to expert due diligence during the construction process, a CNHS designated agent has extensive knowledge and experience as a buyer’s agent and the unique factors involved in working with builders and developers.
ECO-Broker is the premier green designation program for real estate professionals. Certified ECO-Brokers serve residential and commercial property owners, sellers and investors. ECO-Brokers build communities, and champion eco-friendly alternatives with an unparalleled level of care, commitment, and follow-up.
A broker whose license is held by another broker. An associate broker qualifies to be a real estate broker but still works for and is supervised by another broker. Associate brokers are sometimes called broker-associates, broker-salespersons or affiliate brokers.