San Francisco Real Estate: Escrow Out Loud


#43: Courtship Dances & Horrible Muffins

Ep. 43

This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we pick up where we left of last week for part 3 of our 3-part interview with Kevin and Pete, (catch up on part two at

[00:50] How long did the whole process take from the start to getting the site permit? The permitting process itself took two and a half years, which was quite a bit longer than expected. There was an unanticipated issue with variance. Because the house is sitting far back on the property they had to go through the variance process in addition to the regular permitting process.

[04:54] In the competitive San Francisco house market part of buying a property involves doing, what Pete calls, a sort of a courtship dance. Good relationships can help with a positive outcome, but still, at the end of the day it’s the numbers that do most of the talking.

[06:43] From a seller’s perspective staging of homes creates an impact and shows the property in the best light. While generally staging a property means neutralising it to appeal to a wider audience, in today’s market highlighting the property’s personality and using a bolder style when staging a home is more commonly seen in certain parts of San Francisco.

[09:53] When Kevin and Pete decided it was great time to sell their previous property, it wasn’t only due to the market blowing up, although this was an added bonus. A number of other factors fell into place. From a personal perspective they were looking to move on; they were both looking for a single-family home and Kevin was looking for a new project. A single-family home is quieter and offers more privacy. BUT, San Francisco is still San Francisco! It’s never too quiet and neighbours are never too far away.

[15:10] Looking back would they go through all of it again? Undeniably they have learned a lot through the process, each lesson informing their next interaction. What are some great lessons learned? Tolerance, learning to relax and go with the process, and of course now they’ve learned to worry about a whole set of different things.

[15:57] Kevin started out by doing graphics and branding for interiors. He has done some really cool projects, we might have to bring him back to hear more about Sawyers design and environmental graphics and branding in San Francisco as well as interior design.

Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!

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Episode 109 Panelists, listed alpha by last name:Dena Aslanian-WilliamsRealtor Extraordinaire. Don't let this short bio fool you, she's a phenomenal REALTOR! with Compass Real Estate at the time of publication.Kevin BirminghamFounder, Park North Real EstateA west-side San Francisco native, Kevin is a Past President (2018) of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, the founder of Park North Real Estate, and has consistently performed in the top 1% of agents nationwide. Kevin has a degree in economics from Colorado State University, raising three kids in the city with his wife Terra. When not rabble-rousing for a fairer city, Kevin is a huge Bay Area sports fan and can be found out walking the family dog. Tia HunnicuttMarried for 30 years, mother of three. *Licensed as a Broker since 2009*Past President of the Oakland Association of Realtors*Immediate Past Chair of Bridge MLS*CAR Region 6 Chair*CAR Executive Committee*Coldwell Banker International President's Circle*Coldwell Banker Global Luxury*NAR certifications and designations: Accredited Buyer Representative, E-Pro, Pricing Strategy Advisor, Short-Sales and Foreclosures Resource, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, At Home with Diversity, Certified Luxury Home Marketing SpecialistDr. Veronica HunnicuttCommunity Advocate and ActivistFormer Educator at San Francisco Unified School District (in the Engineering and English Departments)Former Educator and Administrator at City College of San Francisco (English Department/Chair of African American Studies/Dean of the Southeast Campus/Dean of the Office of Student Affairs)Former Member of the Mayor's Citizens Advisory Committee for Community DevelopmentCommissioner on the Commission on the Status of WomenCommissioner on the San Francisco Housing AuthorityChair, Minnie and Lovie Park CRC ( Parks and Recreation site)Founding Board Member, Alliance for GirlsChair, Citizens Advisory Committee for the ShipyardCEO, HG Inc.Recipient of various Community Awards and CommendationsProud Mother of Tia HunnicuttAllen M. OkamotoBroker/Owner, T. Okamoto & Co.GRI, SRES, CIPS CRB, CRSWe are a small boutique real estate brokerage in San Francisco's Japantown. Although our primary market is Japanese we service almost all of the Bay Area Counties. We specialize in single family homes, condos and small apartments. We also have a very active property management department.Over the past 30 plus years I have been involved in fair housing and diversity issues at the San Francisco, California and National Association of Realtors. At SFAR I formed the Asian Council which made the association a more friendly place for Asians to express their collective views. I was the first elected member of the board of directors and the first Asian President of the Board.At the California Association of Realtors, I founded the International Forum where Realtors could explore opportunities in foreign countries and to learn about their customs and cultures. I also chaired the Equal Opportunity Cultural Diversity committee.At the National Association of Realtors, I was on the work forcethat developed the "AT Home with Diversity" designation. I was the Chair of the Fair Housing Forum and the first chair of the Equal Opportunity committee.In 2003 I was part of the group that formed the Asian Real Estate Association of America AREAA, the first national Asian real estate organization. We now have over 17,000 members and 42 chapters across theUnited States and Canada. We are the largest Asian membership organization in the United States.I currently serve on the California Association of RealtorsFair Housing & Diversity Task Force.An Apology From the National Association of REALTORS® for our past discriminatory behavior at the National board level.