Zephyr Realtor Yulia Mitchell is a go-getter, which is essential if you’re a major player in the San Francisco real estate market.
Yulia visited San Francisco for the first time in 2011. Less than two hours after arriving, she knew it was the place to be. Three days later, she and her husband signed a lease and moved across the country from Florida to make SF their new home.
I met Yulia around this time last year when she helped me and my fiancé find our first home in SF.
The entire home buying process was both eye-opening and overwhelming, especially in such a competitive market. Thankfully, we had Yulia to guide us through the entire process and do all the heavy-lifting and negotiating, so we ended up getting our dream home at the right price.
Looking back, we still wonder how anyone can navigate the current real estate market without a good realtor. We learned so much from Yulia and had such a great experience that it made me think about this profession and how to be successful in such a non-stop, high-pressure and constantly changing environment.
So I thought I’d get the inside scoop and ask Yulia about what it takes to make it in real estate, current trends and how she plans to keep rising in her career.
What’s it like being a realtor in San Francisco?
“I believe it feels similar to being an entrepreneur:
- You must be disciplined. You work as much as you want to make. There is no supervisor forcing you to get out of the bed and come to the office.
- Financially there is no ceiling, but there is no floor either. We do not have a salary and are 100% commission, so it requires financial planning.
- It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Your friends can turn into your clients and vice versa. You are always a realtor. At the dentist office, at the gym, at your friend’s baby shower, you name it.
- Your business doesn’t stop at 5 pm; you are on 24/7. I am busy when my clients are free, so it’s normal for me to meet them at 7 pm or 8 pm in my office and weekends are the busiest.
- Location location location! San Francisco is a great and wonderful city, but it comes with an ultra competitive environment.”
How did you get into real estate?
“I started my career in the real estate industry in 2011. Initially I was a broker’s assistant, but I felt I could do more in this industry. So I got licensed and joined PathMark Realty, a small boutique firm in Burlingame, as an agent. I gained valuable knowledge that allowed me to get a better understanding of the entire process. A few successful deals later, I got invited to join the #1 real estate company in the city, Zephyr Real Estate.”
What are some of the current real estate market trends in SF?
“The SF real estate market is unique and an outlier when compared to housing across the U.S. We’ve experienced phenomenal growth these last few years and now the market is stabilizing and getting ready for the holiday season. From the end of November until the middle of January, the market tends to slow down. For some, it spells opportunity – if you don’t want to deal with aggressive bidding wars this could be the right time to start looking.
Another major trend in the city is all the new developments. I’m getting more and more requests to see new constructions. I am currently working on a new database of all the active projects and their current available inventories. I want my clients to be able to compare them and get quick and accurate information of all the features, floor plans and pricing. Therefore, I’m constantly touring different developments to establish relationships and collect more data.”
What’s your best advice for people looking to buy a new home right now?
“Call me! But seriously, get a good agent. Purchasing in the Bay Area could be tricky. Besides short marketing periods and overbids, the city alone has 96 unique neighborhoods and your agent should be knowledgeable enough to guide you through them. It’s a multi-step process and a good realtor will help you discover what’s important for you and will clarify those values. After that, it will be clear and take a lot of stress out of the process in helping to make an important decision.”
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
“Being a realtor is like riding a bike; the moment you stop pedaling, you fall. You have to find and maintain the right balance between your existing clientele and searching for new potential business prospects.”
What is the best part of your job?
“That rewarding feeling when you help someone achieve their goals. I connect with my clients through their experience, especially with first-time homebuyers. It’s the most important financial decision of their lives and you have an opportunity to help them achieve their dreams (no pressure). When you succeeded and your clients become repeat clients because of their experience, this is truly gratifying and validates the hard work I do for my clients. I love my job!”
Are you involved in any professional organizations/groups around the Bay Area?
“Tons! That’s another fun part of my job. I am a member of the National, California and San Francisco Associations of Realtors. A few of my friends and I also run our own networking group, Wealth Entrepreneurs’ Network (WEN). We meet once a month to connect with like-minded professionals across multiple industries.”
Has anyone inspired or mentored you throughout your career?
“I have the opportunity to meet and learn from exceptional agents all the time. This is another benefit of being a part of the Zephyr team. Agents here are very supportive and I truly appreciate the ethics and professional solidarity we have in our office. If I have any questions or need to get some advice, I can always rely on my colleagues.”
What advice can you give to other Rising Professionals interested in getting into real estate?
“Call me! If you set your mind on becoming a realtor, you need to be aware of this sobering statistic: 90% quit during the first 3 years. I always remind my newer colleagues that the first year is the toughest, so you have to power through it. By the end of year 3, you will know for sure if it’s the right thing for you. Remember; no floor, but no ceiling either!”
How do you plan to keep rising in your career?
“Work hard and stay consistent – I’m always out there and working to improve my knowledge, especially in a dynamic market like the Bay Area. I have some independent and co-marketing campaigns running and I am out almost every weekend hosting an open house. Most importantly, I work to keep relationships with my past clients. I am never too busy for a referral.”
What do you like to do for fun?
“I’m a foodie, so living in San Francisco is like heaven! I love going out to eat as much as I love to cook. I also use every opportunity to travel and continually familiarize myself with all the amazing things Northern California has to offer.”
If you’re interested in more advice on breaking into real estate or need a great agent to find your next home in the Bay Area, connect with Yulia on LinkedIn, Facebook, e-mail or call her at 415-385-3712.