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Can you recommend a realtor for San Francisco? Especially one who specializes in SOMA and has experience with short sales and preforeclosures?

I had to adapt this question from LinkedIn because I think it’s very instructive. Someone in my network wrote in asking for a realtor who:

1) specializes in neighborhoods including SOMA and Mission;

2) has access to loft conversions; and

3) has experience with short sales.

Since “short sale” and “preforeclosure” are buzzwords that are circulating now, because buyers think they’re going to get bargains, I think my answer is instructive so I am reprinting it below:

You know you’re looking for two different people, right?

First, you are looking in upscale neighborhoods for a relatively sophisticated product (loft conversions) which suggests an upmarket realtor –

and second, you are bottom-fishing in terms of price. The short-sale end of the business requires its own specialization, because you’ve got to have really deep relationships with the banks.

No one Realtor is going to be well versed in both halves of the business; it’s like you’re looking for a used-car dealer who can sell you a new Prius.

I would suggest that you think which is more important to you — upmarket inventory or downmarket price — and then concentrate your search for an agent from there.

I went on to plug my book — because I figured anyone who was asking such a basic question needed the help — but I’d rather leave you, dear reader, with the basic point: Short selling has for years been a specialized business. If you want to try to buy a short-sale property, okay (even though I wouldn’t) but no upmarket realtor is going to be an expert in those kinds of connections. We spend our days meeting rich people, not the people who are processing the paper at the banks. You need a short-sale specialist for that, and the chances are, they won’t know the inventory in the fancy neighborhoods.

Posted in For Buyers 11 years ago at 8:56 am.

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