May marks the 1908 founding of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which got its start under another name at a surprising location: a YMCA auditorium. The founders were the village people of their time, with a desire to help build communities, to establish a Code of Ethics for their profession and to place emphasis on service to others. They and their successors recognized that the interests of the nation “require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment,” as the NAR Code today goes.
Much obviously still needs to be done to reach those goals, but the best realtors care not only for their clients, but also for the communities in which they live and work. One such individual in San Francisco is Steve Gallagher, who began at Zephyr Real Estate before moving to TRI Coldwell Banker and then to the Market Street Coldwell Banker, where he has been for the past seven years. He was on the Top Producers list at all three offices.
Members of our San Francisco Bay Times team have heard many people in the Castro singing his praises over the years, and we have run into Gallagher often at various events for our community. We therefore asked him to share his story during this NAR anniversary month.
Gallagher replied: “With almost a quarter century of selling real estate behind me, it is interesting to think about why I got into real estate in the first place and what drives me to continue to sell to this day. I was born in San Francisco at Children’s Hospital, now CPMC on California Street. Although I was raised in Marin, I moved to the City right after college (UC Davis) and never left.”
“My family has been here for generations; my Great Grandfather was a ferry boat captain on the bay at the turn of the previous century, and my parents met when they both worked at the Emporium (the Big E) on Market Street,” he continued. “I followed their lead into retail, working for Macy’s for over 13 years, and then tried working on the wholesale side of things for a while. I had considered selling real estate because I loved looking at property and envisioning what it could be, but just wasn’t sure about being solely on commission. After a few years, I found the wholesale industry to be a fickle business so I bit the bullet and got my real estate license. I was lucky; I sold my first closing within the first few months to a friend I had met in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC). It closed on my 40th birthday; to me, a great omen for a couple of reasons.”
“While that first year was tough, during the years that followed I fortunately have been one of the top producers more often than not in the companies for which I have worked. I love my work and I truly love helping clients find that perfect home—one that they can live in and love where they live! In fact, love where you live is my tag line. It’s corny, I know, but nothing makes me happier than helping someone find that perfect place and then advising them on the best way to successfully get in contract on the home and ultimately make it their own.”
He added, “Shortly before becoming a realtor, I joined the SFGMC, a group that I am part of to this day. The chorus is a great community of people with a mission to make a difference in the world through music. My involvement in the chorus both as a member and as the President for four years, has led to a consistent level of real estate sales from within the ranks and many referrals along the way. Word of mouth is a great source of business and referrals are the strongest form of flattery. I always hope my clients, whether they are buyers or sellers, like what I do enough to talk to their friends about me. Of course, those sales help me to give back to the organization and support the great work they are doing.”
“I am fortunate to live and work in the Castro; my office is Coldwell Banker on Market Street just down from the corner of Castro Street. I have done a significant portion of my business in the Upper Market/Castro area. It is one of the best places in the City to live! There is great weather, wonderful shops and restaurants and convenient transportation; what’s not to love.”
“Ultimately, I have found my passion in real estate,” he shared. “I believe that owning your own home and building wealth through real estate is the ultimate goal. Setting down roots and being part of a community is tremendously important. After being a part of SFGMC since 1993 and selling real estate since 1995, I feel like part of the fabric here in San Francisco and specifically in the Castro. It is funny—I walk around the area with my husband on the weekend and say, ‘Hi,’ to two or three people along the way on a regular basis. He always asks, ‘Chorus or real estate?’ I laugh, because it is usually one or the other.”