Several thousand homes were bought and sold last year in San Francisco, and the California Association of Realtors expects home sales to increase slightly in 2017. The local market remains very competitive, and convoluted for many, so buyers and sellers are relying on local real estate agents to provide the market expertise to guide them.
San Francisco boasts many great real estate agents. Those who perform at the top of the field are called top producers; this issue we present five of San Francisco’s top producers.
Years 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.
Your hobbies: Many sports, reading, traveling, cooking/entertaining, watching my kids play sports, watching the Warriors, and attending theater.
Years in real estate: 30
Your most memorable sale: Two stand out: 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 7×7 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 their advice.
Your hobbies: Photography, movies, travel, hanging out with my dog and my wife, who says that work might as well be my hobby.
Years in real estate: Over a decade.
Your most memorable sale: That’s a tough one to answer. In 2016, it was 3741 Broderick (3741broderick.com). I had met the now-late owner a few years ago after her husband passed away, and helped with a valuation for the estate. After she passed, her heirs contacted me. I competed for their listing and was chosen based on my top-notch resources for preparing the property in combination with Sotheby’s International Realty’s unsurpassed brand and truly global reach. The home had wonderful bones, and we went to work with those. The transformation was exhilarating, and it sold for $5.1 million on a list price of $4.95 million in record time. Everyone was happy. The buyers will have a “forever home.”
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: The people and the architecture. My mother said I was conceived, but not born, here and after over 30 years in San Francisco (most of it in the Marina), this community is deep in my soul.
When and why did you get into real estate: After years of renovating properties while enjoying corporate leadership positions, I decided to dedicate myself to working with the only product I truly love — homes. I had been matching senior corporate positions with senior executives while running my own retained executive search firm. Now I match senior executives and properties. So much more satisfying!
Your philosophy or approach in your work: My team and I are all about client service. There’s nothing more satisfying than making a listing shine to attract the very best buyers, or handing over the keys to a client after an arduous and creative search.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: The difference a seasoned, intelligent, and market-savvy Realtor can make in their outcome. It makes all the difference in the world. Buyers are exposed to properties that are exceptional and not yet known to the public. I provide the invaluable vision for how a house can be transformed into their home. Sellers enjoy the maximized returns from a home prepared and positioned for exactly the right target market, with the look, advertising, and even the marketing copy tailored to that segment. It’s not just about features, size, room count. It’s about the satisfying lifestyle a home can provide.
Your hobbies: Entertaining at home with my husband, a now retired renowned restaurateur. Listening to jazz; travel to new places in the world.
Years in real estate: 15
Your most memorable sale: Many are memorable, because each deal is unique; but one that stands out was a building that I sold in the Mission. The building had great bones and a lot of deferred maintenance, but offered at a price that fit my client’s budget. We had to negotiate mandatory repairs in order to get financing with a seller that did not have any liquid capital to do any repairs, find a way to structure that component of the deal, get the work done, and close the deal. And we did. There was cooperation all the way around — agents, buyers, sellers all working to close the deal. Ten years later, I got to sell the building again. It came full circle. I felt good to be a part of the whole process from beginning to end. I drive by the building often, like many that I have sold, and feel like they are old friends that I can share and tell stories about.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: The different types of housing, the city development/building cycles, and neighborhoods make my job enjoyable. I learn about the topography, demographics and variety of people, and history of the city. Each place and transaction has a story.
When and why did you get into real estate: I got my real estate license in 2002 because I was interested in architecture, building, and history, plus it allowed me to explore the city that I loved and has always been my home. The added bonus was possibly making a living doing it on my own terms. Once I got the bug, I was hooked. I felt it was important to bring a sense of hope, professionalism, and superb customer service to the process for clients, along with a belief that no matter who you are, real estate is more than just a building, it is about community, stability, and financial opportunities, and that each transaction no matter how big or small deserves the same service and attention.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: Patience, professionalism, and listening are a given, but a determination to exceed clients’ expectations, along with having a stellar reputation among my colleagues and the ability to navigate the nuances of each deal drives me. I have no ego in the game. I am driven to be known for my integrity to do right by my clients, and for that my success has resulted in their trust and continued support.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: How long it might take to buy a home and how emotional it is to sell a home. It is not easy, compromises are always part of the process, but the journey is a rewarding one. Your hobbies: Reading, exploring all of the city parks, supporting families and children in San Francisco, going to Camp Mather.
Years in real estate: 27
Your most memorable sale: I was fortunate to represent buyers in one of the most unique properties in all of San Francisco called The Lighthouse on Dolores Street. Extraordinary renovation of a former church. It was one of the highest condo sales ever in the city, making it historic in many ways.
What makes San Francisco real estate unique or interesting: Our neighborhoods are little cities within our city. Architecturally, demographically, the restaurant scene, parks, views, shopping list, etc. It’s never boring showing property in this great town.
When and why did you get into real estate: I have always been intrigued by all the wonderful aspects of helping people realize their dreams and purchasing a home or benefiting from a great sales experience. As a teenager I worked with my husband and Paul Barbagelata for John Barbagelata’s brokerage in the mid-80s. We would help clean and prepare homes for sale as a part-time job. I definitely was exposed to all aspects of the business before making this a full-time career.
Your philosophy or approach in your work: Always be available, prioritize your clients’ needs as you would your own, and most of all be a good listener.
One thing you wish people knew before they tried to buy or sell a home: Understand the emotional roller coaster that is associated with selling your personal home or becoming a buyer in a competitive market. I always talk through all of the scenarios that could come up in an intense transaction (good and bad). There’s nothing like empowering clients with knowledge before it actually happens to them.
Your hobbies: Cook, travel, and experience the great restaurants in the city.