Escrow Out Loud

Elevator phobias (#7), offer strategies (#15), leading real estate economists (#44), real estate jargon explained (#51), and only-in-San-Francisco stories (in every episode). Our podcast, Escrow Out Loud, is a little like driving around in a car with us between properties on a home tour.

Except it’s on your schedule. Listen anywhere, anytime:

 

 

 

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Episode Guide

Bill Drypolcher, SF Real Estate Icon

In this episode Britton and I have a very special guest joining us, one of the four original founders of Zephyr Real Estate. Zephyr is where Britton and I both started in real estate, and some of my earliest memories are of hearing war stories from This industry veteran over lunch in the break room. 
Our guest built Zephyr Real Estate from brand new in 1978 to the largest independent real estate brokerage in San Francisco, with seven offices, more than 300 agents and over $2 billion in annual sales at its peak. While serving as President of Zephyr his creative leadership approach celebrated the company’s unique independent spirit - a driving force in its success. In 2020, Zephyr Real Estate became Corcoran Global Living, a franchisee of Corcoran Real Estate, and sadly, the end of the Zephyr brand.
Now retired from day to day operations and enjoying his time split between Hawaii and California, our guest was once a collegiate wrestler, is a US military veteran, a fellow Past President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, and is also a husband and father. Joining us today from Hawaii is a man we’ve long personally admired, Bill Drypolcher. Welcome Bill, let’s jump into this!  


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Real Estate Racism in 2021 with Nate Johnson

Almost a year ago another broker, my dear friend and fellow David-in-an-industry-of-Goliath’s, Kevin Birmingham, made an off-handed comment he knew I wouldn’t be able to let go about a proposition our state trade group promoted in the 1960s. Today’s episode wraps up the three-part series that grew out of that 2020 conversation. A quick review if you are just joining us:
In episode 108 my friend and retired real estate broker Don Saunders helped us understand the fair housing massacre of the 1963 Rumford Act by 1964’s state ballot initiative known as Proposition 14 that was sponsored, written, and supported by my state trade association now known as the California Association of Realtors. The outcome of that November 1964 election truly changed the course of American history in ways that impact us to this day. 
Episode 109 begins with a powerful statement from the 2021 President of the California Association of Realtors, Dave Walsh. One community activist and four Realtors then discuss the progress, setbacks, and impacts of racism in the bay area. It’s a lively roundtable that tells a more complete story than you’ve likely heard or told yourself about housing racism in the bay area. Yes, even in tree-hugging progressive San Francisco we have a deep history of housing racism.
That ends our recap, and brings us to our final podcast in this series. 

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One Community Activist & Four REALTORS® Discuss Racism

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 Specialist

Dr. 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 force that 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 the United States and Canada. We are the largest Asian membership organization in the United States.I currently serve on the California Association of Realtors Fair Housing & Diversity Task Force. 

An Apology From the National Association of REALTORS® for our past discriminatory behavior at the National board level.


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Prop 14: The California Fair Housing Massacre of 1964

Join our host, San Francisco Real Estate Brokerage Co-Founder Matt Fuller, for a more honest-than-usual conversation about racism in California Real Estate with his friend, retired real estate broker, and fellow SFAR Past President, Don Saunders.
The first in a three part series, we begin in 1963 and the passage of the Rumford Fair Housing Act, and the response from the California Real Estate Association (CREA) now known as the California Association of Realtors (CAR). 1964’s state ballot initiative known as Proposition 14 was sponsored, written, and supported by the California Association of Realtors.
The outcome of that November 1964 election truly changed the course of American history in ways that impact us to this day. Join me in understanding the battle for fair housing in 1960s California, how it impacts us to this day, and what we can do to help change things in 2021.
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Intermediate Length Occupancy Rental Law in San Francisco

Today's guest is Brett Gladstone, Esq., 62, is a San Francisco attorney and serves as an appointee of Governor Newsom on the California Architects Board.  After graduating Harvard College magna cum laude, he earned a JD degree from Duke University School of Law in 1983. He has been a San Francisco real estate attorney for 36 years. After 8 years as a partner at Hanson Bridgett, Gladstone has become Of Counsel to Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Harris & McSparran, a San Francisco law firm.  Mr. Gladstone regularly writes and lectures on local real estate laws and issues (including condominium law) and advises his clients on land development and real estate transactions throughout the Bay Area. 
Today's topic is Intermediate Length Occupancy Rental Law in San Francisco, a new law that was passed in response to political outrage over 2100 Market St. and other similar projects, many of which appear to be in challenging financial times because of the ongoing pandemic.
A guide to jargon and agencies mentioned in this podcast:
ILO Law - Intermediate Length Occupancy Law (rentals between 30 days and 1 year) in effect June 2022
NOV - Notice of Violation
UDU - Unwarranted Dwelling Units -space that is indicates that its legality is not verified by the Department of Building Inspectionhttps://default.sfplanning.org/plans-and-programs/planning-for-the-city/accessory-dwelling-units/Legalization_FactSheet-091017.pdf
COPA - Community Opportunty to Purchase Act  https://sfmohcd.org/community-opportunity-purchase-act-copa
Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Harris & McSparran - https://g3mh.com/
SF Board of Supervisors  https://sfgov.org/agency/board-supervisors
SF Planning Commission https://sfplanning.org/
SF Department of Building Inspection https://sfdbi.org/
SF Office of Short-Term Rentals  https://sfplanning.org/office-short-term-rentals
Small Property Owners of SF https://www.smallprop.org/
Coalition for Better Housing http://cbhsf.org/
SF Apartment Association  https://sfaa.org/
Urban Displacement Project https://www.urbandisplacement.org/
San Francisco Real Estate Brokers, Jackson Fuller: https://jacksonfuller.com/

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Architectural Photography with David Eichler

Pictures taken by a skilled photographer can tell you more about a building than hundreds of words of description can. Today’s guest is David Eichler.
David is an architectural photographer who also has a familial link to Northern California’s property market through is grandfather, Joseph Eichler. Joseph was one of the most iconic property developers in the area in the 20th century. Listen in to the episode to hear David talk about the ins and outs of architectural photography, the family history, and how that history affects David’s work and worldview.
Topics Discussed in This Episode:What architectural photography isWhy architectural photography is in a class by itselfHow long the average shoot lastsHow long David has been doing photography professionallyDavid’s first cameraThe best and worst parts of architectural photography as a jobThe most challenging shoot David has ever had to doWhether David has favorite pictures that he’s takenHow David’s grandfather, Joseph Eichler, influenced his view of architectureJoseph Eichler’s stand against racismWhat it’s like to have a recognizable last name in the industryHow David’s view of his grandfather’s buildings have changed over timeThe biggest misunderstanding that persists about David’s grandfather
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Home Shopping In a Wheelchair

What does “accessibility” really mean? Are homes that are labeled accessible really as accessible as they need to be? These are hot topics in today’s episode of Escrow Out Loud. Today’s guest is Andrew Gurza, a disability activist from Toronto. In the conversation today, Andrew talks about his own experience as a person with disabilities, the value of hiring and listening to people with disabilities, why “accessible” real estate (and other facilities) often aren’t nearly accessible enough, and why everyone needs to be aware of how disability will affect their own lives.
Topics Discussed in This EpisodeAndrew’s disability awareness workHow Andrew ended up in his careerWhat Andrew’s home is likeHow long Andrew has been in his home and how he found itHow Andrew feels about the word “accessible”Accessibility standards in San Francisco real estateHow “accessible” homes are often not truly accessibleHow accessibility restricts the parts of a city disabled people can live in and the types of homes they can live inWhy people may not like to think about accessibilityHow the ADA does or doesn’t apply to residential real estateThe importance of talking to people with disabilities about their disabilitiesThe value of hiring disabled peopleThe top things that the real estate industry can do to accommodate people with disabilities
Related LinksAndrew GurzaAndrew on TwitterAndrew on Instagram

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What to Know About Market Activity in SF During Covid-19

How's the market performing during covid 19?
With about five weeks of shelter-in-place, we take a look at what's happened to market activity in San Francisco.
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What's Your Idea of a Virtual Tour?

A look at virtual tours in the real estate industry during the SF shelter-in-place directive updated March 31, 2020.
The pertinent real estate guidance from that document is below:
Paragraph 13 Section f Paragraph x:
Service providers that enable residential transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies, provided that appointments and other residential viewings must only occur virtually or,if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in person visits are not allowed when the occupant is still residing in the residence); 
What is a virtual tour?
Why can't I find information online about virtual tours?
What should I do to be ready for a virtual tour?

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The End of Open Homes?

Is Covid-19 the end of open homes in San Francisco?
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Property Taxes Postponed

The payment of the second installment of property taxes in San Francisco is delayed until May 4, 2020.
Then we go down the rabbit hole in search of how the due dates came to be, where May 4 comes from, and what is likely to happen between now and then.
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Covid-19 & Changes to SF Real Estate Practices

Monday, April 6, 2020
Our guest today is Kevin Birmingham, founder of Park North Real Estate, fellow SFAR past president, and all around good guy. He's also an incredibly sharp person with some of the most prescient insights into SF real estate.
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Lending & Covid 19 with John Ebner

Our guest today is John Ebner of Opes Advisors/Flagstar Bank. Join Matt for a discussion with mortgage industry leader John Ebner about Covid-19 and how it has changed lending for residential home buyers and borrowers. 
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Transactions in the Time of Covid-19

Our guest today is Dan Hershkowitz, a local well known risk management guy who often shares his opinions and thoughts on social media. He joins us today to talk about some important items to think about when transacting real estate in the era of Covid-19.
All of the forms mentioned are available to licensed Realtor practitioners in the state of CA through zipforms.
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What Listings Are Really Available?

In this episode Matt explains how the hold status is being used during the Covid-19 shelter in place directive.
In addition, Matt explains the mis-match between properties that are displayed on websites and apps vs what properties are actually available.
Short story, shorter: Be in touch with your agent, and if you don't have one, we'd love to chat with you.
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Is Real Estate Brokerage an Essential Business?

Is real estate an essential service during the mandatory shelter-in-place directive issued on March 16, 2020 in San Francisco county.
Links mentioned in show:
Federal Directive from DHS that is not binding (Mar 28, PDF)
SF list of essential businesses and exemptions
Open San Francisco city services
How you can volunteer during the shelter-in-place directive
SF Social Distancing Guidelines


#stayhome, #staysafe
In this episode we address the confusion about real estate's classification as an essential business.
The one situation I can imagine where it is okay to do business as a broker: if you have a court order to sell a home and want to livestream a tour with no one else present, go for it. Then remember that title companies are not open, appraisers and inspectors are not essential businesses for transactional activities, and if you can put that deal together and get it to closing while staying 6 feet away from everyone, I salute you and invite you on to the podcast to tell us all how you did it! 
Otherwise, stay home. If you are stuck at home and looking for ways to volunteer, the city has a page with links and suggestions to volunteer opportunities during the mandatory shelter-in-place directive. 
While the business of real estate is transacting business on behalf of our clients, my joy and meaning, and what has kept me in the real estate business, is the satisfaction of helping another person. While now is not the time to transact, it is absolutely the time to do whatever you are able to do to help our neighbors, both literally and figuratively.
Sitting still, much less staying home, is hard for all of us . I can’t wait to do business with you when the directive is lifted, and until then the best way to help everyone in San Francisco is to stay home and stay safe. 


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Meet Malta?

In today’s episode of Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk to a special guest star, who has been solidly attached to the San Francisco scene since the 1970s; can you guess who they are?
[00:40] This is the first ever podcast our guest has ever been on. She is more used to 8-track tapes and cassette tapes.
[01:01] Our guest is perfectly proportioned; with a sunny outlook and open with her plan. Did Lizzo dedicate a song to her?
[01:53] One of the things that make her unique is her phenomenal outlook on nature.
[03:03] Is our guest trying to meet someone? A serial monogamist, she’s feeling a little empty lately. Sometimes it feels like she is tucked away, but really she’s perched above a canyon in the heart of everything.
[04:12] Our guest has a plan. Its open. It features a recently updated kitchen which just flows to the casual/formal dining. Vaulted ceilings, lots of light, and even a fireplace.
[05:45] Let's play a three question game for the listeners who still need a couple more clues to figure out who our guests is!
[06:49] Our guests facade seems modern and recently updated. How much work has been done on her, exactly?
[07:24] Her number is 495292, so put those digits in the San Francisco MLS or your favourite real estate app. She is open on Sundays or by an appointment.
[07:55] With a lovely perspective both eastern and western, she can feel a little insulated from outside noise.
[08:31] How can we find our guest and learn more? 82 Malta Drive is the address, you can find her online at homeonmalta.com to see her photo album.
Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review on your favorite platform, tell your friends and don’t forget to join us again next week!
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Meet Kevin Birmingham

In today’s episode of Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk to Kevin Birmingham, owner of Park North Real Estate. Kevin Birmingham and Matt Fuller both started in SF real estate around the same time (a long, long time ago) and over the years an unlikely friendship has developed. Matt and Kevin served together on the Board of Directors for the SF Real Estate Board, with Kevin serving as 2018 President and Matt as 2017 President. Join us for a great conversation with one of San Francisco real estate's most independent voices.
[00:21] Park North Real Estate is one of San Francisco’s newest independent brokerages. Kevin takes us through why he decided to start his own brokerage. Also, how did its name come to be?
[04:15] Kevin is a rare creature. He is a San Francisco native, growing up on the westside of San Francisco in the West Portal neighborhood, although at the time it was just called "The Sunset." Kevin talks a bit about what it was like back then and how the city he knew has moved to Colma.
[07:53] Matt asks Kevin for some San Francisco real estate predictions for this year. There are a lot of people with money coming to San Francisco. Kevin explains this seems to be a worldwide phenomenon; people are flocking to the big cities.
[10:20] We chat about the ‘08-’09 drop in real estate. Those were hard times. While this is not what we are seeing now, are we going to be seeing more reasonable prices in San Francisco?
[12:30] When the stock market takes a hit, the real estate market starts looking more like a safer investment. You have to look long term, however.
[14:01] Why you should never try to buy at the bottom of the market and sell at the height of the market? Kevin explains his take on the seasonal cycle of real estate.
[15:50] Is Kevin a San Franciscan, or a janitor? (on a side note, we adore his wife!)
[16:59] San Francisco is a place where you can be anything you want, so Matt asks why Kevin chose to be a realtor?
Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode leave us a review on your favorite platform, tell your friends and don’t forget to join us again for our next episode!
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A Bridge (Loan) To Your Next Home

In today’s episode of Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we are talking about bridge loans with our special guest from Opes Advisers, sales manager and senior loan advisor Tracy Andreini.[00:40] A lot of people think about selling their property at this time of year. The nice thing about bridge loans is that they make it possible for people to buy their next home allowing them to move out and stage their house for sale.[01:04] We have been working with Opes for over a decade now. Tracy tells us a little bit about Opes Advisers and her background. She also explains what a bridge loan is and what are some of its major benefits.[06:24] One feature of bridge loans is that they are short term loans, typically having a term of only six months.[07:21] Another feature is that with a bridge loan there are no monthly payments. The only out of pocket costs are the 3% initial deposit and closing costs. Tracy explains how this works.[09:12] The interest rates on a bridge loan are time plus 2.5. Currently this would be 7.25%.[10:18] What is the difference between a bridge loan and a regular equity line? Tracy goes over some issues with a HELOC that you don’t get with a bridge loan.[13:32] If anyone has more questions or wishes to apply for a bridge loan Tracy recommends getting in touch with her on her cell-phone.[14:00] Tracy talks about appraisals required for a bridge loan. What is different to the normal process that’s good to be aware of?[15:38] As we learned earlier a bridge loan is a six month product and this is sufficient for a large majority of cases. But what happens when the six month period goes by and the house has still not sold? Are there extensions given?[17:18] Most people are not aware of this product but it takes a lot of anxiety and pressure away.[18:38] Matt wraps up with a quick summary of points covered today!Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode leave us a review on your favorite platform, tell your friends and don’t forget to join us again next week!
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To Stage, Or Not to Stage

In today’s episode of Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we have a very special guest star: our friend and client Kay.[00:44] Kay shares a little of her background with us. We also learn how she came to buy her lovely house in Burlingame almost forty years ago which was almost brand new at the time.
[03:46] Other than the perfect location, the two other features that made Kay fall in love with the house were the easy upkeep and the huge closets![05:24] This summer we accidentally found her second dream home, so we needed to get Kay’s home in Burlingame on the market fast. Kay explains it was a challenge of getting her home ready for sale while still living in it.
[07:14] Initially, we tried to sell Kay’s house as is, with all her furniture but didn't have much luck. We then moved Kay out, revamped and staged the house before trying again. What was the second process like in comparison to the first time around?
[09:29] The unique thing about selling a house is the emotional component that comes with it. After all the renovations Kay’s home was completely transformed. Did it hurt her feelings having to do this or was it exciting?
[14:30] The house was put on the market the second time and this time it sold within ten days, over asking price. Looking back on all of the drama, was it all worth it?
[15:09] Interestingly, after looking at numerous properties, the new house Kay ended up buying was also staged. What advice does she have for anyone considering selling their place while still living in it?
[16:46] While selling a home is a very emotional process, the aim is to make as much money as possible. To achieve this, it needs to look as good as possible.
Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode leave us a review on your favorite platform, tell your friends and don’t forget to join us again next week!
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