Paula Pagano Blog

Want A Higher Price? Staging Pays a Big Premium!

Paula Pagano opening a door

I got a call from a man who said he wanted to sell his house in the southern part of San Francisco. He was a referral from a client of mine who worked at Oracle who had bought a house from me three years before. Like most sellers, this new client Benjamin Bratt (his last name has not been changed!) had an inflated idea of what his property was worth. He knew a house around the corner had sold for $850,000; however that house had been remodeled, had an apartment in the basement, the yard had been landscaped and it was on a much preferred street.

Benjamin was a bachelor who still had his college futon as a couch in his living room, a beer distiller in the dining room and a second bedroom filled with boxes of books and assorted items as if he had just moved in. (He had lived there 25 years). The kitchen had mismatched appliances including an avocado colored refrigerator. The yard was a dry patch of dying bushes and weeds and there was no bedspread on his bed or curtains on the windows.

Besides the frayed futon there was a nondescript wooden coffee table with a broken leg and a humongous television, topped by a metal box with protruding rabbit ears that reached half way up the wall,. This room reminded me of my years growing up in the sixties. I clearly had a big job ahead of me: first getting Benjamin realistic about pricing, and next– getting his house ready for sale. (more…)

Too Many Real Estate Buyers? No Problem

to many real estate buyers

Not A Problem When The Real Estate Marketplace Has Too Many Buyers If You Have An Experienced Real Estate Agent Working On Your Behalf.

Real Life Success Story

 (Names changed for privacy)

Barry and Candy found the perfect home! They had just gotten engaged and the 3 level San Francisco Condo was located right between their two jobs, with great weather and enough closet space and parking. The condo appeared to be in great condition—built in the mid-nineties—but no one knew the status of the roof. Unfortunately offers were due the next day. We barely had time to write the offer and go through the extensive real estate disclosure package. On counseling them I told my clients to take into account that it would probably need a new roof soon.

“Plus,” I advised, “be prepared to put out additional money for miscellaneous and for moving expenses.” I certainly did not feel comfortable telling this lovely couple ‘No Problem’ to make a quick sale. (more…)

Controlling Your Emotions to Successfully Buy or Sell Real Estate

Paula PaganoBuying or selling real estate is an emotional undertaking, and the pandemic has just added more stress to this life-changing process. In my forty years as a Realtor I have seen how negative emotional responses can derail a deal, or, conversely, can get a property sold. Deals are made or broken on emotion. My bailiwick is the San Francisco Bay Area, but the challenges I see today are not unique to my area: colleagues in New York and everywhere in between report similar roadblocks with their buyers and sellers due to emotional responses that are not always rational.

A big element in the current marketplace is the huge exodus of renters and buyers leaving big city high rises such as New York and San Francisco because of its high density risk and current lack of city amenities. But many sellers are still stubbornly unwilling to face the reality of a lower purchase price than they hoped for and blame Realtors for a lack of results. As a Realtor I had to learn to control my own emotions first and foremost. There were people I worked for long and hard who suddenly switched to another agent. There were clients whose properties urgently needed to be uncluttered or staged—and refused. (more…)


Happy HolidaysIf you are feeling negative emotions, do not stuff them. I do not advise experiencing life with no feeling. What a dull and unfulfilled existence that would be! Besides, emotions will eventually resurface one way or another. As soon as you notice a negative emotion welling up in your heart feel it, deal with it and then let it go. You don’t have to figure anything out. You don’t have to know who’s right and who’s wrong. Just feel the body sensations along with the negative emotions and thoughts until it passes. It may take a minute, an hour, a day, a month, but let it all go. Once you can sit with your inner disturbances, you can find eventual peace.

We sometimes think only negative emotions cause our inner turmoil, but that is not true. Remember when you were so ecstatically happy, because a business or personal circumstance turned positively around? Remember the time the guy you had been pining for finally asked you out? You were so elated, so high in the heavens happy, that you got yourself way off balance. You didn’t pay attention to where you parked and then you got towed. Now you’re down in the dumps. All because you were not paying attention to what was happening in the moment. All because you were clinging to that feel good feeling, even though life was moving forward. By all means feel the good, but like the bad, let it flow through you and be open to what life is presenting next. (more…)


be home

  1. Become a good listener. At one of my real estate sales conferences the seminar speaker said we have one mouth and two ears for a reason: We need to listen twice as much as we talk. Most real estate salespeople do the opposite. We talk way too much. Learn to hold your tongue by taking a few deep breaths and counting to ten, then fifteen, then twenty seconds. Allow pauses between your sentences so your real estate client can have the opportunity to say a few words. Learn to ask questions more. Open Ended Questions which require more than a Yes or No Answer are best. Then wait patiently for an answer.
  2. Acknowledge Real Estate Clients and Their Postions: In my book, GETTING THE PROPERTY SOUL’D, I emphasize the importance of paraphrasing what people say. This does three things: it shows that you have listened well, it will confirm or dispute what you understand to be true and it may have the client re-think their position. This approach can be especially helpful if you are trying to make a negotiating point. Another simple acknowledgement tool is to use people’s names often. Everyone likes to be seen and heard and feel they are special. This is a simple way of accomplishing this goal. (more…)

Want More Real Estate Success? Physical Exercise Works Wonders

real estate successReal estate is a stressful profession as well as a stressful life transition. Whether you are a Real Estate Buyer, Real Estate Seller or Real Estate Agent we all need to be reminded how important it is to have a healthy Mind-Body.

Dr. Michael Merzenich states in his book SOFTWIRED: Research has shown that doing at least 30 minutes of physical exercise each day confers substantial neurological benefits. Physical exercise increases cerebral blood flow and who wouldn’t want more oxygen delivered to their brain? It also stimulates the release of those chemicals that are released from your ‘dimmer switch,’ and who wouldn’t want to have the lights turned up just a little higher?

What I personally think works best for our Mind-Body is to be in nature whenever possible. So walking, hiking and biking are high on my list, especially if you change routes, your speed, breath and terrain. Also, understand that although you may prefer to listen to music, from a brain perspective you are losing a health opportunity when you tune out. Instead focus on the world around you by continually looking, listening and smelling. Using all your senses will engage your brain, that complex neurological-muscular network, more. By adjusting to the ever changing environment around you, your brain will be better prepared to solve the frequent surprises which occur in real estate sales. (more…)

Life in Perspective


city sceneMarijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. (Shocking!)

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.


Corona and Real Estate

Dear Clients:

Hope this message finds you well and healthy. As this Shelter in Place continues, we are all realizing our home is more important than ever. This physical distancing will likely go longer than we originally thought.

Paula Pagano with clients

Fortunately, Corcoran is on the cutting edge of this new paradigm shift by putting our clients safety, security and health first and foremost. Your experience – whether you are a buyer or seller – will now be more what the luxury market has been doing for years: pre-qualifying buyers financially as well as motivationally before access into homes is allowed.


Ode to Corona

Dear Clients and Friends:

This corona virus has had an impact on us all. Personally, I like to look at our Sheltering in Place as a global reset and hope when we come out the other side we are wiser, more compassionate and better people. A colleague of mine wrote the following poem which I found inspiring and hope you do too.

Also remember I am here if you need anything.

Warm Regards,

Paula Pagano

Ode to Corona

Last week what if I had told you would be one of 100 million people
told to stay home in the US. Would you have believed me?


Top Tips for the Next Two Weeks

Corcoran Global LivingLet’s face it: we’ve never had this type of challenge before. So how do we all get through the lock down and still continue with a high quality life?

Here’s a few ideas:

what to do over the next two weeks during quarantine

Take walks, and enjoy nature and the beautiful architecture our city offers. Now we have the time to smell the flowers! You can even do this with friends if you stay six feet apart.