San Francisco real estate has changed a lot in less than a year: Inventory of tech-center condos is through the roof; single-family homes are selling faster than ever; mortgage rates around the country are at historic, rock-bottom lows. If you’re looking to buy, sell or invest, right now might be the perfect time — but where do you begin?

If you often think, “Boy, I sure have a lot of spare time and money to waste,” then maybe this won’t apply to you. But for everyone else in the San Francisco real estate market, time and money are of utmost importance. If you are thinking of selling or buying a home in San Francisco, it matters who you choose to represent your home on the market. With the right process, strategies and connections, the right agent can help your home sell faster and for more money. The wrong agent, well… won’t.

So, if step zero is deciding that you want to buy or sell, then big step number one is to choose the right agent to work with — preferably an experienced, proven and well-connected one! This practical guide to real estate agent skills and responsibilities will help you select an agent capable of delivering tangible results in the most efficient, effective manner.

In a competitive and complicated market such as SF real estate, you can’t just rely on word word of mouth to find your agent. It is critically important to understand what you’re looking for in an agent and why.

One thing folks tend to overlook is connection. A well-connected agent can uncover better opportunities to get you the results that you’re after.  

San Francisco Listing Agent Skills: Marketing Matters

It may go without saying, but if you are selling a home, a big part of your real estate agent’s job includes a comprehensive marketing plan. This is an absolute must to maximize your listing’s exposure to prospective buyers.

A few key components of your agent’s marketing strategy should include:

  • Home staging and improvements to maximize visual appeal and desirability — not required, but recommended if your time-frame and finances allow
  • High-quality, professional photographs utilized in digital and direct advertising campaigns
  • Virtual and/or video tours to offer convenience to both the buyer and the seller
  • Open houses that are strategically scheduled and well-promoted

The success of these marketing steps is largely correlated to how well-connected your agent is. Some photographers are better than others, some stagers are more stylish, some painters and handymen are cheaper and more trustworthy. Working with a veteran San Francisco listing agent, you benefit from their connections and relationships. You want the A-team of trusted and proven vendors, not a hodge-podge mess of amateurs.

The same goes for the other side of the coin, too. Buyers on the hunt for their next home or investment property also greatly benefit from working with a well-connected agent. This is especially true in a complex market like San Francisco, where price can be deceiving, and a not insignificant number of sales happen off-market. Your San Francisco buyer’s agent will be vital in helping you find exactly what you’re looking for, making a strategic offer, and securing the sale before your dream home is scooped up by another eager buyer.

The most successful San Francisco real estate agents also understand that a great marketing campaign also showcases them as the agent — not just the listing itself. Think of who you’ve seen around town. If you’ve lived in your neighborhood for a while, what names come to mind when you think of real estate? Chances are that if they stand out in your mind, they stand out in the minds of others too. Take note — this is a sign of a well-connected agent. 

The Importance of Relationships with Other Industry Professionals

Put simply, the better-connected an agent is, the more resources they have at hand to offer you.

Your San Francisco real estate agent should have a broad network of industry connections to streamline the entire buying or selling process from start to finish. This includes various industry professionals and services such as real estate attorneys, mortgage brokers and lenders, escrow officers, inspectors, contractors, appraisers, stagers, painters, moving companies… the list goes on.

It will save you a wealth of time to get referrals to reputable, high-quality providers of services that you’ll need throughout the process, rather than having to seek out each one from scratch. At Danielle Lazier Real Estate, we have a deep rolodex of vetted vendors and partners. We also go the extra mile by scheduling and coordinating all of the work, so you can enjoy minimized stress and be only as involved as you want or need. Our clients tend to appreciate that they can stay hands-off when it comes to the boring or tedious details.

Most important of all are the connections your agent has with other agents in the industry. Whether they are within your agent’s own team or brokerage or community, these relationships serve as additional eyes and ears, “boots on the ground” in the trenches of the market. For sellers, other agents can provide valuable feedback after showing your listing to their buyer clients. Close agent relationships are particularly helpful when trying to buy or sell an off-market property too. Agents talk and share information about current active and upcoming listings. A well-connected agent may find opportunities behind doors that would otherwise remain shut.

Whether you’re looking for a niche property in a coveted neighborhood or hunting a deal on an older listing, an agent with connections can make the difference between a good deal and no deal. Every agent has a style and a process, so it’s helpful to work with an agent who both knows her colleagues well, and is held in high regard by the real estate community at large. What may seem like small social connections can make a big difference in your transaction.

San Francisco Neighborhood Experts

Key to San Francisco’s famous charm is the many unique neighborhoods which make it up. For the best results when selling or buying a home in San Francisco, your agent should have an in-depth understanding of these neighborhoods. A knowledgeable and connected agent will help you make informed decisions.

As a buyer, a good agent will be able to effectively match you with a home that meets your lifestyle, inside and out. What kind of neighborhoods have the homes you’re looking for? Which neighborhoods have the amenities, schools, restaurants, and transportation that you need?

As a seller, a good agent will know what kind of homes are selling these days and at what price. They will be able to more strategically target the listing price and improvements that will attract more and higher offers from the specific sort of buyers in the area.

These kinds of boots-on-the-ground insights are a guiding light in every home search, listing, or negotiations process. As described in Forbes, “there is no way to put a monetary value on the expert advice of an agent who actually lives and breathes real estate in the neighborhood their business is focused on.”

A great San Francisco real estate agent is also in good standing with other local businesses, organizations and professionals. They are able to cultivate valuable word-of-mouth referrals and connections, all of which helps to make your transaction a quicker and more successful endeavor.

SF Knows the Power of the Internet 

It’s not exactly a secret in this tech-savvy town: Life is now online, in almost every way. To be a well-connected real estate agent these days means being active across a multitude of social media platforms. We’re talking Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Google… the more, the merrier!

But it’s not just about your agent’s number of social media followers; even more important is their responsiveness and online activity.

Are they posting regularly and staying at the top of the feed? Do they reply to tags, comments, and questions? This sort of online etiquette is akin to responding to phone calls and emails. It contributes to (or detracts from) an agent’s overall reputation. And while an agent’s job has changed somewhat in the digital era, some things are still old-school: You’re only as good as your name.

Looking for a San Francisco Real Estate Agent Who Ticks All the Boxes? 

A top San Francisco real estate agent’s required skills and responsibilities are pretty darn broad. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in San Francisco, you probably have lots of voices pointing you one way or the other: word-of-mouth referrals from folks you know, Google search results, Zillow Premier Agents, heck, maybe even Ask Jeeves. Picking the right, well-connected real estate agent to work with can be tough. It can also be a make-or-break moment for your entire buying or selling process. 

Here’s the honest truth: There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. A real estate agent’s role is multifaceted, and personality certainly comes into play too. Not only should your agent be talented and experienced; it should also just feel right. But no matter what, it should always include a valuable network of industry and community connections. 

Our team at Danielle Lazier Real Estate is experienced, well-connected and (if I may be so bold) we probably have the perfect fit for you! Fill out our Buyer Worksheet or our Seller Worksheet to start the no-pressure conversation and discuss your options.

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