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Nina Hatvany, a luxury property specialist at Pacific Union International, was ranked the top individual agent in San Francisco from 2008 to 2015. She’s been recognized in The Wall Street Journal’s national list of the top 25 sales agents by volume, and she will be speaking at Inman Connect San Francisco in just a handful of days.


We asked Nina three questions about life, learning and real estate. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What’s something about the real estate industry you believe that others don’t?

I believe that agents will always be valuable! Of course, it may be tempting to purchase a house online and save some commission, and the Internet has made it seem easy for buyers (and sometimes sellers) to manage things on their own — but when it comes down to it, for the biggest purchase of your life, you want an experienced, trusted professional by your side.

I have made investment purchases without an agent in areas I was unfamiliar with, and I regretted it. Even though I know all the ins and outs of San Francisco real estate, every area and every property type is different.

A good agent would have pointed out the myriad nuances I was not considering and helped me make a smarter — or at least better-informed — decision.

2. What connection have you made — business or personal — that changed the course of your life?

My connection to Larkin Street Youth has been tremendously rewarding. I have lived in San Francisco for over 30 years and have witnessed the enormous changes our city has undergone. It continues to be a city that attracts interest and excitement from people from all walks of life — and that means tech billionaires on down to people down on their luck and seeking a better life.

Larkin Street Youth serves at-risk youth who often arrive in San Francisco with nothing and nobody to call, leading quickly to homelessness, drug abuse and worse. Larkin offers a support network, place to stay, job training, school assistance, and allows our newest and most vulnerable residents to have a fighting chance at that better life. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

3. What’s the one issue that everyone in the real estate industry should be paying attention to in the coming year?

Banking regulations! When the new restrictions come down the pipeline, they are going to make changing loan paperwork harder and cause much longer closes. We need to guide our sellers to expect delays with offers with financing and guide buyers not to overpromise on their timelines in an effort to be competitive.

The result will probably be that cash offers will be that much more attractive.

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