"Thank goodness Chris and Karen exist.
Buying a home in San Francisco is not an easy or a terribly simple thing. Mix in a picky Midwesterner who recently moved to San Francisco and his unreasonable expectations of what he thinks a home should cost and one would think that could be a recipe for disaster. Luckily this wasn't the case.
I've worked with realtors a few times in past transactions, and while things generally went well I've always taken what they've had to say with a grain of salt -- I mean, really, they are making their money from your purchase of a home regardless of how happy you ultimately end up being? Who's to say they're out with your best interests in mind?
I initially struggled with the idea that Chris and Karen could be as honest and helpful as they seemed to be. Strategy sessions, snacks, regular emails, timely follow-up, earth-friendly bio-diesel car... did you just tell me NOT to buy that house I like but might fall down the side of a hill? Seriously, who are these people?
The best decision we made was to just take the plunge and accept the fact that these folks were for real, and that the best thing we could do was listen to most everything they said. As it turns out, they know a lot about real estate. Further, due to their excellent reputations within the real estate community, you may find yourself getting an offer accepted where it may have not been otherwise.
It took awhile - and I'm not entirely sure how they were so patient with us for so long - but Karen and Chris hooked us up with a great home in a neighborhood that we probably wouldn't even know existed had it not been for them. They weren't going to get rich from our transaction - we're fairly low budget by SF home standards - but they treated us like multi-millionaires. We're super happy to have our house, but I'm almost sad the search is over."