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Power Players Of San Francisco

Haute Living Magazine

Power Players of San Francisco

Nina Hatvany (The Professor)


Nina Hatvany’s record speaks for itself. She has been named TRI Coldwell Banker’s No. 1 or No. 2 producing agent since 1991. This is no easy feat considering that the real estate conglomerate is the highest producing office in San Francisco. Hatvany has substance to spare and is widely respected among the tip-top of the exclusive luxury real estate community.

Haute Living Where are you from? What attracted you to San Francisco?
Nina Hatvany I am originally from London, England, but came to the U.S. more than 30 years ago. I started off at Stanford and then taught at Columbia Business School in New York for four years and thoroughly enjoyed both locations. I was particularly attracted to San Francisco as it is such a great blend of a small town with a friendly pace, and a big city with fabulous theater companies, a great ballet and other cultural attractions.

HL What attracted you to real estate?
NH I got involved in real estate by developing condominiums on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, and then when I moved back to California I developed townhouses in Palo Alto. When I started a family, I became more interested in remodeling and acquired a contractor’s license and did many remodeling projects in San Francisco. Seventeen years ago, I joined TRI Coldwell Banker so that I could concentrate on helping other people with their home buying and selling.

HL Who was your first mentor, and how did he/she influence you?
NH Joan Gordon, who is still with me in the office at TRI Coldwell Banker. She was my agent during my remodeling career. When I became an agent, she was most gracious about helping me get started. From her I learned to be very speedy, while being very, very careful about all the details of a transaction.

HL You’ll never be found without your…
NH My datebook. In addition to the two cell phones and the Treo, I still carry an old-fashioned datebook to organize my very hectic life.

HL What were your yearly sales for 2007? Forecast for 2008?
NH $136 million in sales in 2007 and I certainly don’t expect to exceed that in 2008, but I say that every year!

HL What is your most memorable deal?
NH Helping the San Francisco Ballet purchase a residential property for their young ballet dancers in training.

HL Where do you live?
NH I live in Pacific Heights in a lovely, traditional house that we are, as usual, remodeling. This is the 14th house that I have lived in the city.

HL If money were no object, what property on the market would you recommend in the San Francisco area?
NH One of the spectacular full-view houses or apartments that are on the northern slope of Pacific Heights, particularly one with an uninterrupted view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is nothing like watching the sun set over that bridge.

HL What is your formula for keeping your high-end and/or high profile clients happy?
NH Being discreet is of the utmost importance. Other than that, looking out for the clients’ best interests and catering to their needs at all times.

HL Tell us one thing most people wouldn’t know about you.
NH I have a Ph.D. in psychology. I have come to believe that in this business it is crucial to enjoy people and be able to ride with their anxieties as they grapple with some of the most important decisions of their lives.

HL What is your proudest achievement?
NH Raising three fabulous children. All three are now adults, with my eldest working as a real estate lawyer here in the city, the middle one in public relations in New York, and the youngest on his way to becoming a lawyer, hopefully in the city, too.

HL Where would we find you on a Friday night?
NH Having a nice dinner and unwinding at home with my husband of 26 years. He travels a great deal, so Friday nights are a good time to catch up, and I still love to tell him all the latest real estate happenings.

HL What are your favorite vacation destinations and/or leisure activities?
NH Lake Tahoe is my favorite place in the world after San Francisco. When I am there, I kayak, hike, and swim in the lake in summer and ski (both cross-country and downhill) in the winter. I like to stay active.

HL Your forecast for the San Francisco real estate market for 2008?
NH Good properties in the traditionally desirable neighborhoods will continue to excite interest and sell quickly. If there is a drop in prices at all for those properties, I think it will be minor. More difficult properties in more marginal neighborhoods will probably suffer from the anxieties and uncertainties that buyers are going through.

HL What are your personal goals for 2008?
NH Continuing to grow my business, but avoiding becoming a “team” as I value the control over all aspects of my business. My terrific assistant Rebecca Brooks works with me and others of our support staff to ensure that all the transactions run very smoothly.

HL In your opinion, what makes San Francisco so special?
NH The rich variety of properties that we have; the many different types of living; the huge array of architectural styles; and the wonderfully diverse neighborhoods, each with their own very singular character. What I enjoy above all is the fabulous scenery, proximity to the water, and the many different views from our wonderful hills.

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