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International Sterling Society 

More about Karen Lum

Professional Philosophy

Home buyers and sellers in today's competitive market need as much an advantage as possible to get the desired results. As a second generation Realtor, Karen has seen how real estate practices have evolved with the increasing use of modern technology by consumers. Her approach blends the most effective use of traditional practices with social media, online marketing and research, SEO, email, and text communications to get the very best results for her buyers and sellers. Even with technology to help streamline the buying and selling process, Karen firmly believes it's still a people-to-people business with each experience as unique as the home and people themselves. By carefully listening to and understanding her client's real estate goals, Karen customizes a plan of action and communication style to her client's preferences and busy lifestyle. She believes clients make better decisions when they understand the process and their options, and explains everything clearly and thoroughly. Her clients appreciate her attention to detail, up-to-the-minute communication, problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, tireless energy, and effective negotiation style that have been honed for over 16 years. These skills, along with her high level of integrity, have fostered clients' trust that she will always watch out for their best interest and to do the right thing. Whether purchasing a home for the first time, moving to a larger home, or selling a home to move to a different locale, she is here to assist with what is undoubtedly one of the most important investments in your life. Personal Interests

As much as I enjoy my job, it’s not all work and no play. It’s important to rest and enjoy life fully. Rest for me is walking in my garden every morning. I enjoy seeing the seasons and planning for next year’s harvest. Raised with a farming background, I understand what working hard means and appreciate the fruits of my labor. Nothing beats biting into a homegrown tomato. Trying new recipes using whatever is harvested from the garden is especially fun and gratifying. Another morning ritual is walking our SPCA rescue dog. He’s quite a spirited bundle of energy that helps me start my day. When I have a day off, I enjoy taking a quick jaunt to the wine country for dining and wine tasting or taking a ballroom dance class. These activities provide a terrific mini vacation for my mind and spirit. Longer vacations take me out of the country. I love the opportunity to explore new countries and immerse myself in a different culture.Education

Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, while working part-time in a San Francisco law firm to help subsidize her education. Upon graduation, she worked at a major retail company dividing her time between merchandising and buying positions. Being responsible for merchandising and managing a department helped fine-tune her visual marketing and people skills; on the buying end, she tapped into her natural tendencies towards being analytical, a critical skill when determining style trends and individual store requirements. During a hiatus to raise her two sons with her husband, Karen was not one to be idle. She took that opportunity to join parent organizations and co-chaired a fundraising activity that raised approximately $21,000 for her son’s elementary school. Throughout this time, she continued to participate in various functions where she was able to exercise her organizational, group management and communication skills. The culmination of her life’s experiences, various activities, jobs, and skills sets honed along the way have proven invaluable in her successful real estate career.
She has taken opportunities to further her skills by taking courses in advanced sales and negotiation through Sales Career Resources, Inc. Karen firmly believes that the best way to help her clients is to stay well informed in her industry and marketplace.Professional Affiliations and Awards


  • Member of Oakland Asso. of Realtors & National Assoc. of Realtors
  • Participant and donor--Habitat for Humanity
  • Donor--Oral Lee Brown Foundation (foundation to provide college educ. to Oak. youth) & Family Violence Law Center
  • Past member of Piedmont Asian American Club
  • Past fundraiser for Rheem Elem. School


  • Member of "International Diamond Society"-2017
  • Member of "International Diamond Society"-2016
  • Member of "International Diamond Society"-2014
  • Top 100 & Member of "International President's Circle"-2013
  • Five Star Professionals recognition-Fewer than 2% of agents are selected for this distinction in the San Francisco East Bay Area.-2012
  • Ranked top 4% among agents in the San Francisco Bay Area-Coldwell Banker-2011
  • Placed 440 out of Top 1,000 Sales Associations (out of approximately 45,000 Sales Associates)-2010
  • Member of "International President's Circle:-2010
  • Member of "International Sterling Society"-2006,2007
  • Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist -2004
  • Member of "International President's Circle"-2003,2004,2005
  • Member of "International Diamond Society"-2001


"We thought you did a terrific job with the marketing strategy..negotiations... & we appreciated your professionalism. .. In the midst of very challenging market conditions, we had 2 offers before our 1st open house, a 3rd offer a day later." --T & T
"As you know, it is very difficult to compete for a home in the Bay area. Karen's local knowledge of the housing market, excellent advice, as well as her sensitivity to the type of home and location we were looking for helped tremendously...Karen is a consummate professional..."--E & R

"Over the past six years ...Your informed perspective and honest feedback has proven invaluable. During the recent marketing of our home, we were impressed with your expertise and dedication on every level."--B & J

"Not only did you help us have a fast and efficient escrow---no worries through out---but you saved us thousands in the process...The two of us have purchased three homes together in the past fifteen years, and yours was the most professional and high quality service..." --K & K

"First of all, Karen's expertise through the tunnel was greatly appreciated. As two people who throught they were going to buy in Piedmont, and had never really considered Lamorinda, her knowledge was invaluable."--S & A

"Her attention to detail was impeccable and her customer service outstanding. Throughout the process she managed our expectations so nothing was a surprise."--K & J

"Throughout the entire process you were able to anticipate any potential issues and provide timely and relevant counsel to mitigate them."--S & T

"I always felt you conducted our affairs in a very honest and ethical fashion...If someone is searching for a Realtor who is thorough; goes that extra mile; is ethical; is extraordinarily pleasant to work with; and is very are that person."--P

"Karen is truly a master of her craft...She is infinitely patient, always accessible, and extremely hardworking."--B