SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Housing in San Francisco is among the costliest in the country. It’s not just rents going through the roof. The San Francisco real estate market has exploded in neighborhoods that are trendy with the tech community.

However, tucked away on this quiet street, Will and Jung O’Donnell and their 2 daughters are savoring their new home in the City. The couple bought it without having to outbid a single soul.

“This is absolutely a dream come true for us to find this beautiful home, that we can raise our children in and stay in San Francisco. We are extremely, extremely happy,” exclaimed Jung.

The O’Donnell family was about to give up: the couple had been looking for nearly a year. They’d see the same couples looking at the same homes every weekend, and were always outbid, and they felt frustrated.

So what’s their secret? How did they land their dream home in a city where the need is great and the pickings are slim?

“We have less than 500 units on the market right now and we need thousands to meet the demand,” explained realtor Mary MacPherson of the Paragon Real Estate Group.

But after a year of being beat out on every property they wanted, the O’Donnell family made a big change in strategy. They switched realtors and bought one that was not for sale.

“I told Will let’s just do something a little different,” said MacPherson, who is the new realtor for the O’Donnell Family.

She dug up hundreds of properties that were pulled off the market years ago including a quaint Victorian in lower Pacific Heights. The owners lived in Texas. Jung and Will sent them a personal note and included photos of their family.

“We wanted the owners to know that we weren’t an investor. We weren’t trying to scam them. We wanted them to know we were a family,” said Jung.

“We wrote a very compelling offer, something the seller could not refuse and they got their home,” said MacPherson.

The couple paid about $1.5 million dollars for the 3-bedroom, 3-bath house — hundreds of thousands more than the old listing — but they ended up paying less than comparable properties.

“It gave us the opportunity to get a great house at less than we would have otherwise,” said Will O’Donnell.

What did the former owners get in return, beside money? They did not have to go through the trouble of staging or prepping their home, or holding open houses.

Paragon Real Estate Group

Elizabeth Cook

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