San francisco home sales are expected to increase slightly in 2017, while very low inventory makes it challenging to find the right home that meets your needs and your price point. Buyers and sellers are relying on local real estate agents to provide the market expertise to guide them.
Realtor.com‘s Lisa Gordon writes that people should expect a lot of house selling/buying activity this year in the United States. She chalks this up to four reasons: mortgage rates remain quite low, inventory is shrinking, home prices are rising, and the job market is strengthening.
Though mortgage rates have been inching north for the past few months, 30-year fixed mortgages are still around their lowest for the past three decades. That means buyers are still able to get financing, and sellers are eyeing increasing rates and looking to sell before they rise further.
As for inventory and pricing, we’re still witnessing significant numbers. Gordon notes that “In 2007, just before the housing crash, existing home inventory peaked at 4.04 million homes for sale, according to [National Association of Realtors] data. Fast-forward to November 2016: There were only 1.85 million homes for sale, 9.3 percent lower than the year before — and a whopping 54 percent lower than the 2007 peak.” (For more on inventory and pricing, see Real Estate Roundup, page 20.)
And, finally, Gordon notes that job markets nationwide continue to firm up. Though tech hiring here in the Bay Area has softened in the past year or so, other employment news is positive — and nothing makes one more confident about taking on a long-term mortgage than a good job. “Increased confidence will spur buyers to jump into the market — which is, you guessed it — more good news for sellers,” Gordon writes.
San Francisco boasts many great real estate agents. Those who perform at the top of the field are called top producers. Last issue we highlighted five of them; this month we present four more of San Francisco’s top producers.
How many years have you been in real estate: 14
Your most memorable sale: Honestly, every sale is memorable, because it means so much to the buyer or seller I’m representing. The purchase or sale of a home is literally life changing, and it’s always gratifying to be a part of that process.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: No two properties are the same, and the buyers and sellers I meet are a diverse and interesting group of people.
When and why did you get into real estate: I had much success in the corporate world, but as a new mother I wanted a more flexible schedule. I have always been entrepreneurial and wanted to run my own business and control my own destiny in a career that did not involve travel.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: To do my best every day on every deal, don’t be lazy, and don’t be careless. Take the long-term approach — it takes a long time to build a reputation and only a minute to ruin it.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: Trust your agent and follow their advice. They do this every day and you don’t.
What are your hobbies: Many sports, reading, traveling, cooking/entertaining, watching my kids play sports, watching the Warriors, and attending theater.
How many years have you been in real estate: 30
Your most memorable sale: Two stand out: [I]sold the highest-priced single-family home in San Francisco in 2014, and successfully negotiated for my clients against 27 competing offers.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: The people and their diversity; our entire market is a seven-by-seven land mass and there are no two properties the same.
When and why did you get into real estate: After practicing as a CPA and an attorney, it was inevitable because my mother was a very successful real estate agent on the East Coast and my father was a developer; therefore real estate is in my blood.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: I’m only as good as my last transaction, and I pride myself in making sure all my clients feel like they are my only client. It has been my passion from the beginning and still puts a lift in my step.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: Work with a competent broker and take [his or her] advice.
What are your hobbies: Photography, movies, travel, hanging out with my dog and my wife, who says that work might as well be my hobby.
How many years have you been in real estate: 11
Your most memorable sale: Every sale has some aspect that is memorable, but last November I had a first-time homebuyer who found out he was in contract the morning after the presidential election results were announced. He was in tears with the emotion of the election and then finding out he was going to be a homeowner on the same day. It was very touching and a great reminder of how Realtors touch people’s lives in profound and meaningful ways.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: The architecture is amazing and different, and every transaction, property, and client is unique. But the main thing is the people: I have met so many different people from all walks of life, and many have become good friends.
When and why did you get into real estate: I loved my previous line of work, but I wanted to have a more direct effect on people’s lives and at the same time be in more control over my own time, income, and schedule.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: I really take my fiduciary duty seriously. I strive to do the right thing for my clients and have no thoughts at all of my own interests or personal gain. Also, my follow through is top notch; I don’t let any detail fall through the cracks.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: I think a lot of people think that buying or selling a home is something they can do mostly online, like buying on Amazon or selling on eBay. Nothing could be further from the truth. Getting professional help at the beginning is essential. Lenders, Realtors, professional stagers, property inspectors, and tradespeople are all essential for real estate transactions and will make the whole process smooth and easy, not to mention getting you the best deal possible whether you’re buying or selling.
What are your hobbies: I’ve been a musician for all of my adult life and enjoy seeing people have a great time while I help provide the soundtrack.
How man years have you been in real estate: 15
Your most memorable sale: There have been many, but the transaction that immediately sprang to mind was a dazzling-view condo in Cow Hollow. The competition was especially fierce on that one. Each of the listing agents for the property had their own buyer they were writing with in addition to the other dozen or so offers brought by other Realtors. My client prevailed; the closest thing to a real estate miracle I have ever witnessed.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: The variety is what I love about this city. The variety of people from all over the world, of the architecture, of the neighborhoods. I find our city a constant delight and surprise. Every time I climb the steps of a property to check it out for a client I wonder what the floorplan will look like, what choices in finishes have the owners made over the years. Every time I meet new clients, I am fascinated to hear how they came to be in San Francisco, what they do for a living, and where they grew up. It is all so interesting.
When and why did you get into real estate: From 1991 to 2001 I was a kindergarten teacher in San Jose. I loved that profession, but really wanted to join the middle class so I could buy a home. I was exploring other possible careers where I could help others while making a better living, when I met a lovely real estate agent in San Francisco. She was so not the stereotype I had of what a Realtor was. She was down-to-earth, intelligent, direct, and very professional. Meeting her opened my eyes to the possibility that I could be a Realtor and a decent human being at the same time. She arranged a meeting for me with her broker, and I decided after that meeting to get my license. I have never looked back.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: This might sound super basic, but I take my work seriously. Buying or selling a house is a big deal, so my clients deserve to get good information and great service from start to finish. There is plenty of stress inherent in the process of selling or buying a home, so my job is to prevent any and all unnecessary stress. Proper preparation and attentiveness to every detail is the key.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: I wish people knew there are a lot of fantastic real estate agents out there. They should never settle for an agent who is giving them less than excellent service. Always get recommendations from people you trust, and interview more than one agent before deciding with whom you’d like to work.
What are your hobbies: Travel, reading, history.