Just two weeks after earning his brokers license, Roh Habibi had already closed his first deal on a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home in San Francisco. Since then, his career has taken off to impressive heights in just three whirlwind years.
His first role as a broker associate was at Vanguard Properties, where he was quick to excel and thrive as a new broker. Habibi was awarded the title of Rookie of the Year in 2012 and the chair position for the San Francisco Association of Realtors Young Professional Network in 2014, serving as proof of his natural talent and innate understanding of the industry.
Today, Habibi is a broker associate at Coldwell Banker, a massive real estate franchise founded in San Francisco in 1906. He works at the San Francisco Pacific Heights Office, where he’s already set three new sales records just this year.
The most recent point on Habibi’s impressive resume is joining the cast of Million Dollar Listing SF along with brokers Justin Fichelson and Andrew Greenwell.
We sat down with Habibi to get an insider’s perspective on the show and the San Francisco real estate market.
BuzzBuzzHome: You left a position at JP Morgan to get into the real estate business. Why did you make the switch?
Roh Habibi: While at JP Morgan, I was doing a lot of soul searching. Building bank balances for a living was not my style, I was going into work too many days unhappy. I hated schedules, clocking in, clocking out, one hour lunches. I felt suffocated. I felt like if I am going to put in this much time and effort I would rather it be more beneficial to me at the end of the day.
BBH: We’ve read that you wanted to be on Million Dollar Listing SF even before you became a broker. How does it feel to have made it on the show now that it’s expanded to the city?
RH: In all honesty making it onto the show has given me such a state of contentment I can’t even describe it. I feel like I have made it in the world, like all of my efforts working like a mad man were all worth it. I’m blessed.
BBH: Did you know the other brokers, Justin Fichelson and Andrew Greenwell, before it was announced that you’d appear on the show together? What’s your relationship like with them?
RH: I didn’t know either of them before the show. Andrew works primarily in the East Bay and Justin worked in Marin County (our relationship is interesting). There is some cross between us on the show that happened completely organically that you’ll see the results when you tune in on July 8th. We come from different walks of life.
BBH: What’s the biggest deal you’ve closed? What deal are you most proud of?
RH: The biggest deal I have closed was $6.3 million on a huge property here in SF, however, I am most proud of my first deal I made. It was a one bed, one bath TIC on Oak Street in SF for like $385,000. I will remember it forever because I spent eight hours pouring over disclosure paperwork because I had been in the business for only two weeks at the time.
BBH: What are the up-and-coming neighborhoods in SF right now? Where is everyone going to want to live in 5 years?
RH: Up and coming neighborhoods in SF are the Bayview, Dogpatch and Shipyard, which are all in the Southern portion of the city. This is where there is a tremendous upside for investment purposes — a lot of hidden value! The neighborhoods are still rough around the edges and there is a taboo when you hear their names but that is changing quickly.
BBH: Have you worked with any new development clients? If not, is that something you’d like to get into?
RH: Yes! I am the new development specialist at my Pacific Heights office for Coldwell Banker Previews International. I love every aspect of new development from initial planning and permits, breaking ground, picking the fixtures and design layout of the spaces, to inevitably selling them all off.
BBH: San Francisco house prices get a lot of national publicity, not all of it positive. What’s your take on the housing market?
RH: All I think is “cheap, cheap cheap…this place is a steal, a complete bargain!” When it comes to real estate we are so undervalued and underpriced compared to other global hub cities. In SF you’re buying for max $2,000 per square foot for brand new development. Manhattan is in the $5000 to $6,000 per square foot, Monaco is in the $50,000 per square foot and Shanghai is in the $6,000 per square foot. Where else in the world can you find safety, security and a superior product for that price?
BBH: What really excites you about the San Francisco housing market right now? What can we look forward to over the next year?
RH: I am really excited about setting new sales records. I have set three already this year in the Marina, St. Francis Wood and Hayes Valley for highest priced single-family home, condo, and multi-unit building sales. I want to keep pushing the envelope for my clients. Over the next year we will continue having a really bad inventory problem because our demand is so high in the SF Bay Area. The supply just cannot keep up and sellers are happy to get the highest price possible but are scared that they will have to buy again and don’t know where they will go next.
Watch Roh on Million Dollar Listing San Francisco on Bravo on July 8.