jeff Klaus, 56, is a matter of fact guy and professes that his life is a combination of twists and turns that is never straightforward. Life might have thrown Jeff his share of ups and downs, but he always managed to bounce back, be innovative, and win fans.
The Southern California native studied chemistry and graduated from UC Berkeley. He was disciplined and always intrigued by how things worked. Eager to put his science degree to practice, he was hired at a biotech company developing cutting edge drugs. He won’t admit that he wanted to save the world but thought maybe he could make a small dent. He felt that to really make a big difference in the drug-developing business, an advanced degree was in order. The thought of pursuing an advanced degree wasn’t in the cards at this point of his life.
ENTER REAL ESTATE
Buying and selling properties was part of Jeff’s upbringing. His dad was a real estate investor, and he learned the trade firsthand.
“My dad was a salesman and hands down the best,” he comments. “He was in the people business. There is an old term in real estate called ‘bonding and fluffing.’ Simply translated, it’s the art of communicating with folks, getting to know them, and bonding to make sure they get what they want; then comes fluffing, which is doing what it takes to close the deal. And dad was a pro, he could sell ice to Eskimos.”
While working at his day job with the biotech company, Jeff invested his time and money in real estate, repairing foreclosures, listing the finished product on the market, and taking home a profit once the deal closed. The 1990s saw a real estate market boom and kept Jeff more than busy. He left his job at the biotech company to devote his energies to turning a profit in real estate. He was riding high, but then the market crashed.
“After three years of riding the market and going nowhere, I went back to work in the biotech field,” said Jeff.
“Many would never equate science and real estate to being on the same platform, but Jeff thinks so, especially when it comes to renovations.”
He found himself working for AVID Labs in Illinois where he was on the cusp of developing new drugs. In fact, he earned patents on at least three discoveries. As if his plate wasn’t full, he decided to go back to school to earn an MBA in Global Strategies.
He couldn’t rest on his laurels; his passion of real estate was knocking. In Illinois, he was a quick learner of the Illinois housing market and soon began to flip homes on the side. With each new project, he wasn’t shy to put on the hard hat and grab some tools to do his own renovations. He became a skilled contractor and had an eye for renovations which pleased new buyers.
Life took yet another turn for Jeff. He returned to California when his ailing father-in-law needed care. He settled in Brentwood because ‘Brentwood was the place people would go to afford a home.’
The move opened new opportunities for Jeff and his family. He launched his own real estate business called Blue Sky Reality which serviced Contra Costa County.
Many would never equate science and real estate to being on the same platform, but Jeff thinks so, especially when it comes to renovations. He draws on science to determine how diamonds in the rough will get needed TLC. “Off the bat, I can envision what rehab a house needs that won’t break the bank and can bring a profit.” Jeff adds, “It’s not just lipstick on a pig, a lot of rehab goes into renovation from moving plumbing or walls, widening a bedroom or bathroom, giving a section of a room more space, and so on. My experience and training in science give a broader view of what works.”
He relates this gift to the movie the Matrix where he can see the codes that are behind the walls to get an idea of what works. It’s not magic, it’s simply drawing on years of experience. That experience is invaluable. “I work with what I have, make adjustments that are practical, useful, and appealing to the clients. The bottom line is that my work is making someone’s dream home come true.”
In 2018, Jeff launched yet another business called We Built It 4 U, Inc., with a staff size of three and a list of subcontractors, his focus is vast, from home additions, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, in-law units, to flooring, drywall, paint, custom woodwork, and more.
“I really enjoy where I’m at in life today,” said Jeff, “A home is everything to folks. I enjoy working with people and seeing their dream home become a reality.”
Photos by Melissa Van Ruiten