Head of Design
Products at Nokia
We were only a bit more than two years in the States after living over 20 years in Europe, was renting in St Francis Wood paying a lot towards rents and we knew it was time to invest in a home of our own but had zero experience regarding how to do so or where to start in a country we didn’t know at all.
We met Earl by chance at an open house and knew based on intuition and witnessing his interaction with others, that we wanted him to be our agent. We spoke briefly at the open house and invited Earl to our home that evening to discuss our desire to explore the possibility to purchase a home. We spoke for hours with Earl asking important questions and providing needed insight on the process and what to expect and he was extremely precise on painting the picture to us. We knew then that he was the absolutely best person to help us on making it happen.
The task at hand for Earl was super challenging. San Francisco’s market was incredibly hot and what we wanted was in very limited supply. Both my wife and I love mid century architecture and design. We had lived in a mid century inspired home while in Finland and wanted something similar. Views were very important and the floor plan had to suit our family and living style.
Because of our foreign status and unique employment arrangement, Earl immediately began investigating lending options to see which would best suit our situation. He quickly got us set up with several lenders, helped to explain the many confusing lender requests and processes and remained closely involved through out the process.
After visiting many open homes and writing one failed offer, we finally came upon the house that was meant for us. This home had the potential to be perfect but needed a lot of work. Additionally, because of our rental situation it was important for us that the purchase line up with our obligation to provide adequate notice to our landlord. We knew it was a tough deal to structure in such a competitive market. Earl did not hesitate; he respectfully explained the pros and cons, provided us with the information necessary to understand how certain terms might impact the success of our offer and proceeded to engage the listing agent.
Incredibly, Earl was able to negotiate a fantastic price, provide the perfect timing so that we did not double pay rent and a mortgage, had the sellers agree to perform extensive renovations and repairs effectively integrating the would be renovation costs into the purchase price and coordinated the work with a variety of contractors in order to have the home close and completed by the time we moved out of our rental.
During the course of escrow, there were many negotiations that ensued and Earl was always successful in his ability to negotiate our terms while keeping everyone on the same side of the table. The selling agents were always complimenting us on how good our agent was. We already knew this.
Something absolutely amazing from him was that at all times, he made us feel as we were always in control of the situation and there was never something to worry about. I need to emphasize that the peace of mind through the whole process that he transmitted to us was priceless.
We just had Earl and his family over for an authentic Argentinean Asado (bbq) in the perfect backyard of our perfect new home.
Corporate Properties Group
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Please allow me the opportunity to share my sentiments for the OUTSTANDING, EXCEPTIONAL service I received from Earl Chan from beginning (February 2014) to end (August 2014) for a recent condominium purchase.
In the midst of an insane market where prices continued to rise, with multiple cash offers on choice properties, in some cases 20% over the asking price, trying to buy a luxury condo in the SF Bay Area was more than a challenging task, not to mention that I needed a hands-on consulting realtor to bounce ideas, while making a long-term real estate decision to address work location proximity, retirement and investment goals. Having Urbane SF: Earl Chan & Norm Fung by my side made all the difference. Earl & Norm’s “can-do” attitude with the client’s interest at the forefront was key to our success in securing my purchase. They turned a daunting experience into a REWARDING one. The service I received was unheard of and unlike any I nor anyone I knew had received (I happen to also work professionally in a real estate environment). Urbane SF hand-held me through the entire process. They are patient, caring, and understanding. They are passionate about doing their best for the client, for me!
Earl was there for me every step of the way; you would think that you might be his only client. Urbane SF took the time to first understand my real estate, financial and personal objectives, affordability, and budget targets. All of this information was evaluated against the market inventory, and we began my search. With a non-aggressive, helpful manner, Urbane SF attended open houses with me, walked me through the offer process, mapped out potential scenarios and strategies to ensure I was comfortable with the offer and acceptance decisions along the way. Urbane SF shared its knowledge and keen perspective of current, as well as past market experiences. Urbane SF spent countless hours on my endeavor. They provided property-pricing comparisons; they took me through the pros and cons of every aspect of the transaction. They shared their honest opinions as if the decisions were their very own. After my offer was accepted, and I was feeling apprehensive about purchasing in such an up-market, Urbane kindly set aside time for me to talk through the transaction once again, weighing all the pluses and minuses, in today’s market and looking to the future, with a full holistic view. They tried to place themselves in my shoes. I really felt that they were always watching out for my best interests, not just earning a commission on the sales transaction. When possible, Earl even transported me from my work office and back to visit the property a 2nd, 3rd time, and spent hours at my home inspection, while we thoroughly examined the property. When I had questions for the seller, Earl or Norm corresponded through email or phone with the selling agent immediately, and provided expedient responses with clarity for the layman. Urbane SF has resources, such as real estate attorneys at their fingertips to help answer questions on rent legislation, hints on interior decorating ideas, and furniture and moving company referrals. During my search when Earl went overseas on vacation, he assured me that he would be reachable and close-by, and indeed he was. He provided in-presence local support through his associate (Norm Fung) who was just as knowledgeable and compassionate. But Earl, himself, was sleepless for 2 nights in London while writing multiple offers on my behalf. Understanding the stress of a major move, Earl also initiated the hire of a packing service, and continued to ask if there was anything else he could do to help. He even offered a truck to help move.
I should mention that I am extremely analytical, and will ask a million questions, maybe more than once using different words. I would send an email late in the evening, and what do you know, when I awoke in the morning, there would be a response for me from Earl or Norm from even later that evening, or early morning. Do these men ever sleep? There has never been a question I hesitated to ask, and Urbane SF always graciously responded. You can ask Urbane SF anything! Hence, I must confess that I’m not exactly the easiest client to satisfy, not to mention that I have very high expectations of any service provider.
Earl never stopped amazing me. I was pleasantly surprised that Earl consistently continued the extraordinary service and support even though the sales transaction was essentially complete, and any other buyer would and could have handled the remaining buyer to-dos on their own. This realtor marches alongside the entire time. I plan to engage Earl now to prepare my existing home for rental, to secure a lease, as well as to provide future ongoing property management services. This firm is a top, client-focused and dedicated, trustworthy, full-scope realty organization. Urbane SF represents customized service at its finest! If you need a superb realtor, I highly recommend Earl and Urbane SF! I guarantee that they will “WOW” you as they have me.
Roland Prijoles Inc.
Yes, five stars all the way. And this is authentic (I was an ordinary client). This is the guy you want, and probably his sales staff is excellent too. We were struggling with a mortgage and two credit lines, and finally decided to sell the family house to avoid a Notice of Default. Earl helped us review options other than selling, and eventually orchestrated a very successful open house, review of interested buyers and final selection. All very gently and with complete respect. There was no pressure or drama, which of course would have added to our problems. And then he even helped us with the inevitable move-out and relocation. Amazing! He is quiet and friendly, but do not be suspicious that he is somehow "too slick". Of course his way is smart -- after all he is a professional -- but I can tell you that it is also genuine. Through escrow we never had even a hint of disappointment.