Here’s How Top Real Estate Brokers Close Deals In California’s Hot Markets
Here’s how top real estate brokers close deals in California’s hot markets. In these days of multiple offers and fierce bidding wars, the reality of getting a transaction across the finish line is beyond challenging. Here two top brokers from the very competitive San Francisco and Napa Valley markets share their insights.
Nina Hatvany of Compass in San Francisco has over 30 years of real estate experience. Hatvany has represented clients in over 3.5 billion dollars in sales transactions. From 2008-2015 and again in 2017, 2018, and 2020, she has been ranked the top individual agent in San Francisco.
Hillary Ryan of the Napa Valley Compass office focuses on helping her clients transact wine country property including residential, vineyard & land development opportunities. Ryan has closed high-value real estate since the start of her career in 1997. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the top 100 real estate professionals in the United States by REAL Trends. In 2017 and 2018 she was again named to the Top 200.
EP: What are, your biggest challenges in today’s market?
HR: Our supply is limited, but successful buyers are also willing to submit offers with very competitive terms – such as all cash, limited contingencies, and in time for owners to coordinate their move.
NH: Keeping on top of all the email, texts, and voice mails and being as responsive and quick to jump on opportunities as clients expect me to be. It’s particularly difficult to keep on top of the new inventory as we are not yet allowed to have broker’s tours, so it is hard to get a sense of properties when they are launched on the market. Without having a good sense of them, especially if the pictures aren’t complete or the property has defects that may not be obvious from the advertising, it’s hard to ensure that all my clients are kept abreast of new listings especially if they are slightly outside their specified criteria. Oftentimes these days, clients are the ones drawing my attention to a property that looks good nowadays rather than the other way around.
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EP: How do you keep up with referrals, closings, and working with buyers and sellers in today’s market?
HR: This is a challenge, but the support of the team mixed with in-the-moment practices keep us on track. For example, I have long-term relationships with many strong agents in markets with buyers who seek second homes in the Napa Valley. I take careful notes of the prospective client’s parameters and share with my team. We keep in close contact with both the client and the referring agent throughout the process.
NH: My first rule is that I have to stay physically fit when the market is like this. Daily exercise is essential, along with some quiet time and a regular bedtime (even if I wake up in the night and have to write down a whole list of urgent “to do’s”). In line with that, my second rule is to write down or text to myself every fleeting thought. It is very hard to focus with dozens of thoughts rattling around in your head. Writing them down allows me to work through them methodically when I am at my desk. And the third rule is to keep a positive attitude – after all, all this work should be enabling me to make an excellent income doing what I enjoy – and if the workload is a little crazy, I tell myself to make hay while the sun shines.
EP: In your long career have you ever seen a market come close to the frenzy of the current one.
HR: I’ve worked in Real Estate since 1997. It’s clear that Real Estate moves in an obvious and somewhat predictable cycle; however, there are windows of time when the market changes very quickly. Last year, the market shifted dramatically – it was slow in April and then moved at a frenzied pace. The holidays brought a brief respite, but it’s now busy again. With the adoption of Prop 19, I know families are making decisions based on tax treatment which will shift the market again.
NH: Yes, 2000-01, 2007, and 2015-16 were all very crazy years in San Francisco. And in general, we never have enough inventory of single-family homes, so we are always kept on our toes around here.
EP: What advice do you have for buyers who are becoming frustrated as they continue to make offers and find they are outbid every time?
HR: You just keep trying and don’t take missing an opportunity as a personal affront. It’s best to listen to your Real Estate agent; you have hired him/her to be your trusted advisor. Each transaction has its own nuances, and an experienced agent will understand who to best position their client with to win the contract.
NH: My advice is to stay focused and positive. Your turn will come. Meanwhile, buyers have to learn from each failed offer. The buyers who learn to adjust their pricing expectations, get more qualified, coordinate making offers faster, and hone their decision criteria are the ones who will be successful. Also, use a really experienced agent with a broad network and a great reputation so that you are truly putting your agent’s skill set to work in locating a property.